It's time to cheer up!
On Friday last, in fact, UK Government launched its public consultation on draft secondary legislation for both the UK orphan works licensing scheme [this follows adoption of the Enterprise Regulatory and Reform Act 2013 and its Section 77, on which see here, here and here] and the transposition of the EU Directive on certain permitted uses of orphan works [Directive 2012/28/EU, on which see here and here].
As explained by the Intellectual Property Office, UK Government's orphan works scheme aims to address the issue of reproducing works when rights holders cannot be found. The UK wide scheme allows for the commercial and non-commercial use of any type of orphan work, by any applicant, once they have undertaken a diligent search for missing rights holders and paid a licence fee.
Alongside the UK scheme, the Government is implementing the "complementary" EU orphan works Directive. This will allow publicly accessible archives to digitise certain works and to display them on their websites for access across the EU.
This technical consultation [here and here] is seeking views on the legal effectiveness, structure and effect of the draft secondary legislation only. The overall policy is outside the scope of this consultation.
Feeling excited? Good, but hurry up: the closing date for comments is Friday, 28 February 2014.