1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Last Word on the UK Orphan Works Scheme for 2015?

As we mentioned in our posting to mark the completion of the first 12 months of the UK's Orphan Work Licensing scheme, the IPO has now published its own report on the first year's operation. The report also covers some limited analysis of the EU Orphan Works Directive scheme.

The report is mercifully brief (24 pages) and aided by a number of tables and infographics to display the data. As part of the legislative process concerning Part 6 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 which, inter alia, set up the IPO sponsored scheme, the minister agreed to report back to Parliament after the first year, and this document fulfils that undertaking.

Since we have already looked at the statistics for the first year in our earlier posting, it is intended just to examine the other main points which come out in the IPO report. These are:
  • Experience of using the system has led to a refinement of the guidance on how to conduct diligent searches;
  • Some usage fees have been adjusted thanks to feedback from users and others.
  • No licences have been refused and no returning rights holders have come forward to claim their works.
The report also looks at the results of a survey of users of the scheme conducted by the IPO. The IPO acknowledges that the sample size (19 respondents) is too small to draw any firm conclusions from, but nonetheless, the feedback has been useful and may lead to future amendments to the system. In particular there is a table showing the various points at those who did not complete their application, abandoned the process.

And finally the report looks briefly at the experience of the EU Directive mandated process, which is open to major institutions such as publicly funded libraries, archives and museums etc. Only 10 UK institutions have so far registered with the OHIM (which administers the EU system), but this compares favourably with a total of 61 registrations across the whole EU. These 10 institutions are not identified in the report and between them they have created 53 entries in the OHIM database together with 14 records relating to embedded works, although again no details are included. Interestingly the UK registrations have resulted in 2 rights holders coming forward to claim their works. This compares with 25 returning rights holders across the whole of the EU for a total of 1399 registrations. It remains to be seen whether these figures indicate that some of the searches have been less than diligent (given that registrants self-certify and this is not checked either by OHIM or the national authorities such as the IPO).

The 1709 blog's good friend John R Walker will be delighted to know that the IPO collected £1,492 in administrative fees for the first 12 months, and is holding £8,001.97 in licence fees on behalf of any rights holders, should they become known within the next 8 years.


John walker said...

Andy I posted a comment, question yesterday, has it gone missing?
Was wondering if they have released figures as to how much it has so far cost to set up and run this scheme.

Andy said...

Hi John,
I haven't seen or deleted your comment of yesterday and it doesn't appear to be in the spam folder, so apologies for that.
No, nothing has been published in the report or elsewhere about the setting up and running costs, which I think we can assume probably exceed the income so far received! To be fair, I don't think it was ever claimed that the scheme would be self financing, although it appears that, after 7 years, any unclaimed licence fees will be used to offset some of the costs.
If you really need this information you could make a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act

John walker said...

Andy Hi
No matter, I am not surprised that the cost benefit of this scheme is a secret. Perpetual motion machines are eternally popular for those who have jobs in them.