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Ministry of Economic Affairs,R.O.C.

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2021-04-27 16:40
Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs

Applying to Use Orphan Works Now Easier Than Ever!

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Applying to Use Orphan Works Now Easier Than Ever
On March 11, 2021, TIPO announced amendments to Article 3 of the Regulations Governing Application for Approval of License of Works of Unknown Owner of Copyrights and Royalties for Use Thereof. Key changes are as follows:

1. The addition of the option to place an announcement on the TIPO website as a means of publicly searching for the economic rights holder of a work
2. The reduction of the mandatory waiting period following the public search (from 30 days to just 10)
3. The exemption from the requirement to provide the name of the work to be exploited in cases where the name is unknown (This change is designed to facilitate the use of orphan works.)

The term "orphan work" refers to any work that is copyright-protected but whose author is unknown or uncontactable. As for the regulations in question, these were introduced to implement Article 24 of the Development of the Cultural and Creative Industries Act. Their purpose was to put in place a mechanism whereby anyone could apply to TIPO for a license to use an orphan work. However, applicants subsequently identified a number of inconveniences and issues inherent in this system. They pointed out that the mandatory waiting period following the public search for the economic rights holder was inordinately long, while the options for conducting a public search were too limited. It was also noted that, in certain cases, it was impossible to provide the name of an orphan work as it could not be found.

It is for all of the above reasons that the new amendments were introduced. Drawing on provisions in the South Korean and Japanese systems, the latest changes have made the application process faster and more convenient, which should hopefully help spur the growth of Taiwan's cultural and creative sector. If you would like to know more about how to apply for the use of orphan works, please refer to TIPO's web page on "Licensing of Works of Unknown Owner."