Saturday, 20 February 2010
The Digital Economy Bill intends to make it legal for businesses to commercially exploit orphan works without paying proper compensation. Orphan works are works for which the original author cannot be found. The new bill proposes to set up a central body which will collect money from publishers for orphan works that they find and use. If the author discovers that their work is being used, they can claim a portion of the fee from the government body. It doesn't sound so bad in principle, but there is no provision against the creation of orphan works and the bill doesn't specify how hard you have to search for the author. There is also no indication in the bill as to how much compensation will be paid. This will all be decided after the bill becomes law by that pillar of the community Peter Mandleson who isn't at all slimy. This seems to me like a nice little scheme by the government to get a little extra revenue. Its good for the publishers because the government are unlikely to pay proper commercial fees so as to encourage publishers to pay up. Consequently the government becomes the nation's largest micro-stock agency and any image on the internet can have its identifying data removed and be bought at knock down prices
If that wasn't bad enough, the Information Commisioners Office is planning on making it illegal to take photographs in public if there is anyone who would object.
I'll be writing to my MP, if you want to find out more and to find out how to contact your MP follow this link to the copyright action website
Posted by Paulo Rodrigues at 08:06