U.K. Eases Copyright Restrictions on Orphaned Works
All that stuff on the Web without any ownership info? You can use it, now.
The Act contains changes to UK copyright law which permit the commercial exploitation of images where information identifying the owner is missing, so-called "orphan works", by placing the work into what's known as "extended collective licensing" schemes. Since most digital images on the internet today are orphans—the metadata is missing or has been stripped by a large organisation—millions of photographs and illustrations are swept into such schemes.
For the first time anywhere in the world, the Act will permit the widespread commercial exploitation of unidentified work—the user only needs to perform a "diligent search". But since this is likely to come up with a blank, they can proceed with impunity. The Act states that a user of a work can act as if they are the owner of the work (which should be you) if they're given permission to do so by the Secretary of State and are acting as a regulated body.