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Copyright is Under Attack for Photographers in Serbia

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Photographers in Serbia are protesting and raising awareness this week in response to a new proposal in parliament that threatens the basic copyright of their photos.

Reuters reports that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party is attempting to define photos as the result of “a routine mechanical act,” and therefore something that isn’t protected by copyright.

“Every routinely made photograph, which appears and is taken in electronic form, regardless of whether it is the true original creation of an author, will cease to enjoy protection as the creation of an author,” the proposal reads.

Party member Dusica Stojkovic, who submitted the proposal last week, believes that even news photos by photojournalists are “the result purely of mechanical actions, of routine, physical actions.” She says her goal is to make sure real artworks aren’t grouped with “selfies … (or) photos made in public places every day.”

Dušica Stojković in 2014.
Dušica Stojković speaking in parliament in 2014.

Serbian photographers are already the victims of frequent infringement in the media and online, Reuters says, and their ability to receive justice and compensation is hindered by the unwieldy court system (which can be corrupt, as well).

Photojournalists are now warning that this act, if passed, would legalize the widespread theft of photos.


Update: After a week of lobbying, the proposal died after no member of parliament voted for it.

“We opened a Facebook page to be ready for next assault on photographers copyright that surely will come, since this was third on two years,” one photographer tells PetaPixel.


Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Klovovi

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