Saturday, 20 February 2010

You gotta fight for your right

Its bad enough that the stock agencies are devaluing photography and that thousands of amateurs are simply giving their photographs away for bragging rights or even that companies are blatantly stealing photographs and hoping that they won't get caught, but now the government wants to further devalue photography by making it much easier to take your photographs.

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


  1. Hi Paulo,

    Glad you've picked up on this too. Can we get the Strobist group lending their voices?

    Get everyone to check out this site . . .

    We all need to fight this one together!


  2. The government doesn't need to write a bill like this. They just need to let the photo-share sites continue to change the TOS's a little more underneath us then all our posted images will be for the taking even after we've screamed, Not With My Pictures!
    Re-read the TOS's carefully of all your host sites.