|Fun is guaranteed when you know |
everything about 'diligent search' ...
Issues surrounding orphan works are not only important, but also make a great topic of conversation for summer gatherings. If you are running short of insights into this fascinating copyright-related topic, don't worry because 1709 Blog friend Tom Ohta of Bristows LLP (@tom_ohta) is coming to your rescue.
Here's what Tom writes:
Orphan Works: here we come!
As readers may recall, earlier this year, the UK government launched a technical consultation [here] on the draft secondary legislation to introduce a licensing scheme for orphan works in the UK [on which this blogger wrote a longer (and critical) piece here] and to transpose the Orphan Works Directive into English law.
The UK government has now considered the responses to its technical consultation and taken these into account in the amended text of two regulations which have now been laid before Parliament: the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Licensing of Orphan Works) Regulations 2014 (which introduces the orphan work licensing scheme) and the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Certain Permitted Uses of Orphan Works) Regulations 2014 (which transposes the Orphan Works Directive into English law). The amendments made to the text following the consultation are primarily ones of refinement.
|... Just look at Tom's smile!|
Previously, orphan works have been the subject of somewhat sensationalist (and misleading) commentary with buzz words such as the ‘Instagram Act’ which was ‘abolishing copyright’ [here]. A good starting point for those seeking to get up to speed with orphan works is the UK IPO’s (37-page) response to the technical consultation which summarises the comments received and sets out its current position. In particular, there are helpful flow-charts of how the licensing scheme is intended to work and the process under the Orphan Works Directive (at pages 4 and 5).
However… for those looking for the headline points, these are summarised below for your perusal, followed by some thoughts on possible issues that may arise in the future.
· The UK IPO will be the authorising body responsible for granting orphan licences.
· A ‘reasonable search’ of the ‘relevant sources’ must be conducted. The regulation requires applicants to search the register maintained by the UK IPO and the databases maintained by OHIM.
· Where the UK IPO and OHIM searches fail to reveal the owner of the work, applicants must then check the sources listed in Part 2 of Schedule ZA1 to the CDPA: these are set out in the Certain Permitted Uses of Orphan Works Regulations, and different sources (including collecting societies) are listed depending on the type of work in question, eg audiovisual, visual works, newspapers etc.
· It is likely that the Copyright Hub will play an important role in the functioning of the licensing scheme by having, for example, inter-linked databases to reduce the cost of diligent searches. However, it is currently still at a test phase.
|With your diligent search |
having a 7-year validity,
you may even think of
spending this time abroad
· A diligent search will be valid for 7 years.
Applying for an orphan licence
· Applicants must provide information in the orphan licence application form (which has not yet been released) showing that a diligent search has been conducted, and specifying how it intends to use the orphan work.
· It remains to be seen what level of detail the IPO will require to satisfy the diligent search requirements. It is worth noting the detailed sector-specific guidelines on due diligence criteria for orphan works which are set out in a Joint Report published in May 2008 as part of the European Digital Libraries Initiative.
It is unclear to what extent the IPO will have regard to these Joint Report guidelines when considering applications under the Licensing of Orphan Works regulation. In particular, the Joint Report guidelines suggest that as part of a diligent search, the applicant should take steps to publicise the orphan work, for instance, in trade publications, social networks, and in the press. This is likely to increase time and cost, and it is questionable whether it would be proportionate to require applicants to take such steps under the UK regime.
· An orphan work licence permits the licensee to carry out acts that would otherwise infringe copyright or performers’ rights for up to 7 years. However, there is a statutory prohibition against the grant of exclusive licences and sub-licensing is not permitted.
· The licence may be granted subject to conditions, and the IPO has the discretion to vary the licence terms during its term.
· Whether a licence can be transferred is not addressed in the regulation. However, the IPO has indicated that transferability of licences will be dealt with in the licence terms, and the normal position is that they will not be freely transferable, although each case will be considered on its facts.
Grounds of refusal
· The IPO may refuse to grant a licence where it considers that the proposed adaptation or use of the work is ‘not appropriate having regard to the circumstances of the case, including whether the proposed adaptation constitutes derogatory treatment of the work’.
· It also has a wide discretion to refuse to grant a licence on ‘any other reasonable ground’.
· The IPO is entitled to charge a ‘reasonable licence fee’ for the licence term, bearing in mind factors such as the licence fees charged for a ‘similar use’ of a ‘similar relevant work’ which has not been orphaned. The IPO has been working closely with sector-specific groups (as listed in the response) to ascertain potential licence fees.
· A reasonable additional amount can be added to the licence fee to cover the IPO’s costs.
· The IPO must hold all orphan licence fees in a ring-fenced account, and must retain these for at least 8 years from the date on which the licence was granted.
· After 8 years, if no rights holder comes forward to claim ownership, the IPO can deduct its reasonable costs from the retained fee, and apply any surplus ‘to fund social, cultural and educational activities’.
IPO expects revenant rightholders
be in better shape than the one above
· If a rights holder comes forward within 8 years from the date of the licence grant and satisfies the proof of ownership requirements of the orphan work (regarding which we currently have little information), the IPO must pay the rights holder the licence fee paid by the orphan licensee within 2 months.
· If the rights holder comes forward after the 8 year period, the IPO has the discretion to remunerate the rights holder as it considers reasonable in all the circumstances.
· A rights holder has a right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (presumably, to the General Regulatory Chamber) where it considers that the IPO has acted improperly or failed to comply with its obligations under the regulation. The procedural rules currently applicable to the General Regulatory Chamber can be found here.
· An orphan licensee can appeal to the Copyright Tribunal (whose rules of procedure can be found here) if the IPO refuses to grant a licence. An appeal can also be lodged by the orphan licensee in respect of any conditions imposed by the IPO in connection with a granted licence, or in respect of the licence fee amount.
The regulations will now be laid before Parliament for approval, and are due to come into force on 29 October 2014 [this is also the deadline for transposing the Directive into the laws of Member States]. In the meantime, the UK IPO is no doubt being kept busy developing the IT system and further fleshing out the processes underlying the orphan works licensing scheme.
It is anticipated that a number of issues are likely to raise issues for stakeholders, including the following:
· Striking the right balance when considering whether the diligent search requirements have been met: the IPO will need to tread carefully to ensure that it adopts a consistent approach which does not impose overly onerous obligations on orphan licensees but also adequately protects the interests of rights holders, whilst considering the interests of those responding to diligent search requests.
· Obligations on organisations responding to diligent search requests: the IPO acknowledges the collecting societies’ views that where an organisation receives a diligent search request, it is up to that organisation whether or not they respond, and if so, whether they can charge for providing that service. Given that the regulation does not impose any positive obligations on organisations to respond to diligent search requests, how will an organisation’s refusal to respond to a request (for instance, because it is particularly onerous) or a licensee’s refusal to pay an organisation’s requested administration fee (for instance, because it considers that it is unreasonably high) be taken into account when the IPO evaluates whether a ‘reasonable search’ has been carried out?
· Global access to digitised orphan works: the scope of the orphan licence extends to digitising orphan works and making them available online. However, the statutory scope of the licence is restricted to use within the UK. Thus, where orphaned content is made available online, it raises questions as to how to address concerns about unlawful use of orphan content in other jurisdictions.
Whilst there are technical measures, such as geo-blocking, that could be deployed, where a site contains both orphan and non-orphan content, this can be an overly blunt tool. In the future however, it is feasible that reciprocal agreements are entered into with other countries to enable UK-issued orphan licences to be valid in those territories and vice versa [this is indeed something that this blogger heard IPO officers saying at a recent conference].
· Dealing with ‘works within works’: how far does a diligent search need to go in respect of a work which contains multiple works within it – for instance, or a book which contains photos or drawings?
· Moral rights: the law in this area is still evolving (for instance, in relation to moral rights and parody) and it will be interesting to see how the IPO will deal with moral rights issues when reviewing orphan licence applications.
It is likely to take some time before we are able to see how effectively the orphan licensing scheme will work in practice, and there will undoubtedly be further issues that arise as the orphan work licensing scheme develops. Watch this space.