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Copyright for Students

Orphan Works

If you cannot trace the rights holder, the work may be an orphan work. Orphan works are creative works or performances that are subject to How copyright protects your work - like a diary, photograph, film or piece of music - for which one or more of the right holders is either unknown or cannot be found. 

Please note the EU Orphan Works Directive, which allowed for certain uses of orphan works without having to apply for a licence from the IPO, no longer applies to the UK (since January 2021) the UK. More information about orphan works.  

See the Intellectual Property Office's guidance on how to obtain a licence to use orphan works