Copyright: Orphan works

Orphan works complaints and appeals


If you are applying for an orphan works licence (or you are the right holder for a work that is subject of an orphan works application or a licence), you can appeal against certain actions and decisions of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in your case.

Different appeal routes are available for the right holders and applicants.

In the first instance, both right holders and applicants need to appeal the relevant decision through the IPO.

If you are an applicant wishing to use orphan works

You can appeal to the IPO if you think the IPO has made a mistake:

  • in refusing your application
  • in any condition attached to your licence
  • in the licence fee quoted

If you are a right holder for an orphan work

You can appeal to the IPO if you think that in reaching a decision they have acted improperly or failed to discharge our obligations under the regulations.

When appealing, both applicants and right holders should provide full details of the matter they are unhappy with and explain why explain, adding any relevant documentation or emails to their appeal.

The IPO will aim to reply within ten working days of receiving the appeal, but if the problem is complex and they need more time, they will tell you.

If you remain unhappy, you can appeal again to an IPO Manager who was not involved in the original decision or the appeal response. See further guidance for right holders.

Further appeals

If appealing to the IPO does not resolve the issue, and you remain dissatisfied, you can:

  • appeal to the Copyright Tribunal (applicants)
  • appeal to the First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber (right holders)

As an applicant, you may appeal to the Copyright Tribunal against any condition imposed by the IPO in connection with the grant of the orphan licence, the licence fee set by the IPO and a decision to refuse the licence.

As a right holder for works licensed under the orphan works licensing scheme, you may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber). The tribunal can look at whether the IPO has acted improperly or failed to discharge its obligations under the regulations in reaching a decision. It would then be for the IPO to reconsider the case in light of the tribunal's findings.

For more information, see IPO's orphan works licensing scheme appeal guidance.