The Dream Within Pictures
Follow TheDreamWithinPictures on Twitter

UK Passes Controversial Copyright Act, May Yield a ‘Firestorm’ of Litigation

A “copyright land-grab” that will “permit the commercial exploitation of [orphan] images” and lead to a “firestorm” of litigation. Those are the terms being used by some to describe a UK bill that just received Royal Assent last week, despite drawing fire from writers and photographers the world over.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act — which was put forth by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) — attempts to address the issue of ‘orphan works,’ but some believe it goes much too far, giving undue power to unscrupulous big companies in both the UK and US.

An orphan work is a copyrighted work whose owner cannot be contacted. In most of the world, acts such as the Copyright Act of 1976 paired with international agreements such as the Berne Convention, make copyright automatic. Thus, any use of orphan work that isn’t termed fair use is as much copyright infringement and subject to litigation as blatant theft; assuming a copyright holder comes forward.

The new act seeks to protect users of orphan works — allegedly Libraries and Archives that don’t want to face harsh fines for displaying works whose copyright is unknown — by lumping those works into “extended collective licensing” systems and preventing lawsuits against users if an owner comes forward.

This means that any images of yours that are found online with their identifying info missing could be lumped under one of these licensing schemes and used, even commercially, without you being able to demand proper compensation once you discover the infringement. All the infringer has to do is prove they performed a “diligent search.”

Despite what The Register is calling vague wording that will lead to “widespread commercial exploitation of unidentified work,” and a strongly worded letter signed by six groups representing US photographers and graphic artists denouncing the act, it somehow has already become a reality.

The only way to protect yourself completely from the possible fallout of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act is to register your images or pull them offline entirely. According to photo rights campaigner Paul Ellis, residents of the UK have no choice but to register using the PLUS registry, while US residents can do so by visit the US Copyright Office website.

The US attempted something similar in 2008 when the Senate’s own amateur photographer Patrick Leahy helped draft the 2008 Orphan Works Bill. But while that bill ultimately died in the US House of Representatives — due, in large part, to the same ‘vague wording’ criticism — the UK bill has sailed through and is well on its way to causing what the writers of the aforementioned letter warn will be “a litigation firestorm.”

(via The Register)


Image credit: Parliament by DavidMartynHunt

[via PetaPixel]

[via PetaPixel]

Visitors: 372

Comments are closed.

comments-bottom

Featured Photos

A Rose… Posted by author icon The Dream Within Jan 16th, 2012 | no responses
Eclipse Posted by author icon The Dream Within Dec 9th, 2011 | no responses
”In a strange land” Exhibi... Posted by author icon Jean-Luc Dushime Sep 24th, 2011 | no responses

Random Photos

Sunset Tower Posted by author icon The Dream Within Dec 25th, 2012 | Comments Off on Sunset Tower
Lovers #1 Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 21st, 2011 | no responses
A Rose… Posted by author icon The Dream Within Jan 16th, 2012 | no responses
Psychedelic Lights #3 Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 21st, 2011 | no responses
The Man Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 19th, 2012 | no responses
String Of Lights Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 21st, 2011 | no responses
Psychedelic Lights #2 Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 21st, 2011 | no responses
Walt Disney Concert Hall #... Posted by author icon The Dream Within Dec 25th, 2012 | Comments Off on Walt Disney Concert Hall #3
Ladybug Posted by author icon The Dream Within Oct 2nd, 2011 | no responses
Flare Posted by author icon The Dream Within Mar 24th, 2011 | no responses

Top Rated

Lovers #2 Posted by author icon The Dream Within
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, avg: 3.75 out of 5)
Loading...
A Rose… Posted by author icon The Dream Within
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, avg: 3.44 out of 5)
Loading...
Portraits Posted by author icon Jean-Luc Dushime
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, avg: 3.00 out of 5)
Loading...