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. Read more…
In February of 1993, 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson kidnapped and murdered two-year-old James Bulger. The two were eventually caught, and became the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history.
Their life sentences were cut short, however, when they were released in 2001 under the protection of new identities and a court order that prohibited the publication of any info that could reveal who they were. Now a full 12 years after their release, UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve is finally getting a chance to enforce that court order. Read more…
Photographers based in the UK now have an easier and cheaper legal path to take if they discover someone infringing upon their copyrights. Chris Cheesman of Amateur Photographer writes that photographers can now receive do-it-yourself justice without having to hire a lawyer:
Intellectual property disputes can now be resolved using the ‘small claims track’ in the Patents County Court (PCC), following a Government announcement of a ‘simpler and easier’ system last month. Photographers can pursue damages for breach of copyright, for up to £5,000, without even appointing a solicitor, unlike before where they may have been put off by a potentially long, and expensive, legal fight.
Furthermore, the damages limit may rise to £10,000 under Ministry of Justice proposals, possibly as early as next year. Crucially, under the new system, photographers can avoid the prospect of a lengthy court battle and the fear of having to pay the legal fees of the successful party if they lose.
Apparently the US Government is currently looking into doing something similar.
Photo Copyright Boost Set to Open Online ‘Floodgates’ [Amateur Photographer via Photo.net]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on 365:11:9 Gavel by easylocum
Photographers have been buzzing about the Digital Economy Bill, which is expected to shortly become law in the UK. The controversy revolves around the vague provisions for “orphaned works”, which many claim will give the government control of licensing for any photograph deemed “orphaned” after a reasonable search for the owner has been conducted. In the section “Licensing of Orphan Works”, the bill reads,
The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for authorising a licensing body or other person to do, or to grant licences to do, acts in relation to an orphan work which would otherwise require the consent of the copyright owner.
The bill proposes an “orphan works register”, to which anyone can submit photographs they find on the Internet after completing the following steps:
(a) to carry out a reasonable search to find or, if necessary, to identify and find, the owner of the interest,
(b) after the search, to publish notice of the proposal to enter the interest in an orphan works register, in a way designed to bring the proposal to the attention of the owner of that interest, and
(c) to keep a sufficient record of the steps taken under paragraphs (a) and (b) and of the results of those steps.
Once in the register, the photographs can be licensed by the government and used for commercial purposes. Essentially, this means that any photograph found on the Internet can be licensed by the UK if the person who wishes to use the work cannot find the owner after a “reasonable” search.
Here’s some further reading:
Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!
Image credit: Police guards by italpasta