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renting an orphan – new UK licensing scheme

6 November 2014

A new UK licensing scheme for orphan works has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The scheme enables you to apply for a licence to make use of at least 91 million creative works, some of cultural importance including photographs, diaries, films and recordings, which have previously been effectively unavailable as the copyright owner was untraceable but use risked infringement.

According to the UK IP Minister, the scheme, which is administered by the Intellectual Property Office, “is designed to protect right holders and give them a proper return if they reappear, while ensuring that citizens and consumers will be able to access more of our country’s great creations more easily”.

The scheme uses an electronic application system and searchable register of the granted licences. It is part of the reform of the UK’s copyright system following the Hargreaves Review. However, whether a clear conscience is sufficient enough incentive to pay the licence fee remains to be seen.

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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