Here in the UK, our esteemed government has decided to amend our Copyright Act. Key points of the amendments that relate to photographers are:-
1. Legislation of Orphan Works - the ability to use an image whose creator cannot be identified with no penalty.
2. The creation of a collective licensing body.
3. The power to amend the copyright act in future without scrutiny.
For photographers - amateurs and pros alike - is not good news. in brief:-
Anyone who "finds" and image can use it after paying a fee set by -as-yet-to-be-determined-third-party who has no idea of it's true value.
If you don't claim the image as "yours" the fee goes to our government after a yet-to-be determined time.
A government department, unconnected to the image creation process where the risks and overheads are unknown, can set a fee for your work.
Any Secretary of State can change copyright legislation without due process.
If anyone thinks our (UK) government can do a good job then all I can say is "good luck and remember bankers bonuses and the duck house expenses MP". In other words, do not expect your government to spend it's income wisely.
If you do not think this is a good idea and you are a UK voter then please write to your MP and send a copy to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' referring to "Objections to Digital Economy Bill [HL] 2009-10". If you are unsure as to what to say, then by all means PM me.
This would include use of images "found" on the Web so will have far-reaching consequences no matter where the image is created or the legislation under which the creator lives. Regardless of who your senator/member of parliament/legislative representative is:-
Make sure ANY posting of ANY image carries a copyright statement. Best protection is "© Yourname" AND embed the same including your copyright details into the metadata. By posting images with NO notice, you are starting the process of creating an Orphan Work.
Who will gain most from Orphan Works? Big business who are sitting on millions of images where the owner is unknown. There are hundreds of cars in my street. Just because I don't know who they belong to does not mean I should steal one - right?
Edited by decosnapper, 04 December 2009 - 01:47 PM.