Scheme enables the licensing of images which have become detached from their creator
A creative work (eg an illustration, a photograph, a text) can be classified as an orphan if its creator/rights holder cannot be identified, or if they are known, not traceable by someone who wished to use that work in some way. The work may still be under copyright and therefore requires permission from the creator or rights holder to reproduce it in any way.
Government launched their orphan works licensing scheme at the end of October 2014, see here. This scheme was introduced to enable the licensing of orphan works, in the UK for both commercial and non-commercial use.
Cultural organisations may be the primary users of this scheme to enable them to copy works into new formats for preservation (which requires permission of the copyright holder), but as the scheme also allows for commercial use of an orphan work, other entities may use it to licence works for any other purpose. A fee will be applicable to licence orphan works.
AOI participated on the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Working Groups for consultation, technical review and development of guidance for the scheme.
To see if your work has been registered as a possible orphan work that an applicant wished to use, view the register of orphan works here. This is a list of artistic works with thumbnails of visual works which have had an application for use, and you can search through Still images and Moving image. AOI advise that illustrators check this list regularly to see if any of their works appear on the register.
Apply for a licence If you wish to licence an orphan work for your use
Guidance for returning right holders Use this if you discover your work has been licensed through the orphan works scheme
Diligent search guidance and checklists What is required to be done when searching for the creator/rights holder of a work you wish to use