Lighthouse at Two Lights, 1929 (oil on canvas) by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Photograph © The Bridgeman Art LibraryChop Suey, 1929 (oil on canvas) by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Barney A. Ebsworth, Photograph © The Bridgeman Art LibraryDrug Store, 1927 (oil on canvas) by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Photograph © The Bridgeman Art LibrarySea Watchers, 1952 (oil on canvas) by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) Private Collection, Photograph © Lefevre Fine Art Ltd., London/The Bridgeman Art Library
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Welcome to Orphan Works

What is an Orphan Work?

Orphan Works are works of art (and other copyrighted material) that are believed or known to be in copyright but whose copyright owner is unknown or untraceable. Orphan Works can be original works of art, or an original image (e.g. a photograph) of a work of art. When an original work of art is out of copyright, images of that work of art may continue to be in copyright.

Sample of Resolved Claims

What are the problems?

The uncertainty around the copyright holder of an orphan work of art prevents it from being used creatively or commercially. This inhibits access to, exploitation of and promotion of Europe's cultural heritage and results in a loss of potential income.
Copyright can be bought, leased, sold or mortgaged. Very often, the owner of a work of art, or image of a work of art, is not the copyright holder. The duration of copyright in the UK extends to 70 years after the death of the creator of the original work of art or image of a work of art. However, copyright law differs by country.

What is MILE doing to help?

MILE has set up an 'Orphan Database' which acts as a repository for all Orphan Works and invites you to offer information about these works. This database also serves to collate all search efforts for associated works of art so that Europe is provided with a centralised source for Orphan Works discussions, search history and potential repatriation.

Example of Resolved Claims

How can you help?

  • Look

    at MILE's collection of Orphan Works to see if you can provide any information about any of the works we hold,

  • Submit

    any Orphan Works you have to the database,

  • Contact

    us as soon as possible if you are or know the copyright holder of any of the images displayed here.