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UK updates copyright licensing system

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The UK has announced new legislative measures to update its copyright licensing system. New clauses to be included in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill promise to: allow the creation of a future ‘orphan works’ scheme to open access to valuable material that currently can’t be licensed or used; put in place a voluntary regime for extending collective licensing to help reduce complexities in the system; and reserve a power to introduce statutory codes of conduct for collecting societies if they fail to operate to minimum standards.

‘The measures we plan to introduce as soon as possible would make it easier for those seeking access to, and use of, copyrighted works. Freeing up so-called ‘orphan works’ will allow use of works for the first time, making the most of untapped economic and creative potential,’ explained business minister Norman Lamb. ‘Extending licensing arrangements for collective societies, whilst ensuring rights holders are protected, will also help maximise the benefit for the UK’s world-class creative industries.’

These measures were developed in response to recommendations from the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property, which was published in August 2011.