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Saturday, April 03, 2010



I've already posted about this on the Cook site but it's too important an issue not to also make mention of it here.

If you're unaware of the UK Digital Economy Bill and in particular Clause 43 then I must direct you to  Stop 43 where you can get the full details. If you think it won't effect you because you aren't in UK, think again and head to that link.

What is at stake are our rights, our copyrights, our moral rights. We as photographers should be the ones deciding how and if our work is used - it most certainly should not be left to government.

The bill sets out to deal with, amongst many things, the issue of Orphan Works. Orphan works are works for which no owner/creator can be found and without finding an owner these works have been unable to be exploited.

In comes the UK Digital Economy Bill to bulldoze its way through that impasse.

The crux of Clause 43 is this
if someone finds your photograph, wants to use it and decides that they can’t trace you, they can do whatever they like with it after paying an arbitrary fee to a UK Government-appointed “licensing body”
Read that and then read again - they can do WHATEVER they like with your work. You may be thinking well my work isn't an orphan, I have identification on it this won't effect me - you're in for a nasty surprise.

There's now something called Extended Collective Licensing
if someone finds your photograph and can trace you, they still don’t have to contact you for permission to use it. They can go to a UK Government-appointed “collecting society” and ask them instead. They’ll pay an arbitrary fee and be able to do whatever they like with the photograph
This strips away any pretence of copyright - you'll have no rights. They won't have to ask and they don't have to tell.

All I can do is put this out there for people in the UK to see and take action on and I urge every other blogger to make mention of this issue on their websites so that their readers in the UK can see just how damaging this act is going to be.

If you are in the UK you must write to your member of parliament as the second reading of this bill will be held on April 6th - time is of the essence. You must stand up and have your voice heard.


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