Orphan Works Database

Orphan works are works such as books, magazines and newspapers, films or sound carriers that are still protected by copyright but whose authors or other right holders are not known or cannot be located despite a diligent search.

Under certain conditions, institutions such as publicly accessible libraries or museums are allowed to copy and online publish orphan works contained in their collections for the purpose of digitisation, pursuant to Sections 61 et seqq. Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz). In this case, certain pieces of information on orphan works must be recorded in the Orphan Works Database.

The Orphan Works Database is kept by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (externer Link EUIPO) and is publicly accessible throughout Europe. The background is the Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. The DPMA does not keep its own register but forwards the information about orphan works provided by the institutions to the EUIPO for the purpose of making the information available in the European database.
For detailed information and access to the externer Link Orphan Works Database please refer to the Website of externer Link EUIPO.

Last updated: 2 January 2024