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"All your pics belong to everyone now"
Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 4:41 PM on 04.29.13
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Minneapolis | MN | United States | Posted: 5:41 PM on 04.29.13
->> That is rather remarkable. Right now it only applies to the UK and it only applies to "orphaned" works or works that haven't been registered. So as long as the site you've uploaded the photo to retains the metadata, then it shouldn't be considered an orphaned work. I would imagine another way to combat the allegation that it's an orphaned work would be to put a watermark on it with identifying information.

Like the article mentions, anyone who understands this law and cares about protecting their work will simply stop supplying their work for public consumption. Instagram was forced to clarify their ToS because people were threatening to stop using the service otherwise. I would imagine other companies will be forced to do the same thing if enough people refuse to use their service for fear of it being legally stolen in the UK. Or the first service that comes along that does things to protect the users' content against this new law in the UK will likely gain public support and others will be forced to follow suit.

This law sounds like it wasn't very well thought out and it appears there will be a great deal of backlash coming as the article noted. It would seem that supporters of the law are banking on content creators to remain ignorant or unaware of the law, but I think they failed to realize that knowledge of the law will only serve to encourage people NOT to share content on the internet. Of course, that will hurt the very people the law seemed to be intended to help in the first place, which are the people/companies that want more free use of other peoples' content. Very interesting to learn about it though.
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Neil Turner, Photographer
Bournemouth | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 8:47 AM on 05.01.13
->> It is also overstated and paints the worst-case-scenario that is theoretically possible. What has happened here is that a law has been passed containing what we call "enabling legislation" so that the government can add to it without having to go back to parliament.

Don't get me wrong: this is a bad piece of legislation, passed under pressure from a range of bodies from educational institutions who want to get at genuinely orphaned pieces of intellectual property to Google who have a fair bit of influence for a variety of reasons.

Photographers have been fighting against it and we will continue to fight. We are actually on the same side as people like Getty, AP, Pathe and various music and film production companies who have already threatened to take the government to judicial review if the regulations that go with this enabling legislation have an adverse effect on their business and IP.

The bottom line is that much of the information in the article quoted above is wrong and most of the rest is guesswork. If it were to come to pass in the way that The Register suggest then it would breach a range of international conventions and treaties landing the UK Government in all sorts of trouble that they cannot afford.
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Neil Turner, Photographer
Bournemouth | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 5:23 AM on 05.03.13
->> If you want to read a sensible summary written by someone who understands photography this is a good start...
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Samuel Lewis, Photographer
Miami | FL | USA | Posted: 2:29 PM on 05.03.13
->> You guys really ought to read some of the position papers that were submitted to the Copyright Office by organizations like ASMP, PPA, etc. The fact that meta-data may exist in an image doesn't automatically take it out of the realm of qualifying as an orphan work. Most orphan works legislation treats as an orphan work any image where, after a diligent search is made, the user is unable to locate the copyright owner. It is entirely possible that a copyright notice in the appropriate IPTC caption field will not be sufficient to enable one to locate the copyright owner.

Orphan works legislation was proposed in Congress a few years ago. While that legislation was unsuccessful, the fact that the Copyright Office called for comments on the issue late last year and early this year tends to suggest that there may be another push for such legislation in the U.S.

One of the interesting aspects of the UK legislation is that it permits the government to establish regulations that will allow a government agency to license the images and collect license fees. This is a very different approach than what was proposed in Congress a few years ago.

The actual legislation may be read here:

P.S. -- I still firmly believe that photographers do more harm to their own cause by agreeing to terms of service for social media websites than any orphan works legislation is likely to cause.
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Neil Turner, Photographer
Bournemouth | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 11:12 AM on 05.04.13
->> Thanks Samuel - believe me, we read everything that we could get including the papers you mentioned. We have also read the French material along with the Canadian legislation that our Intellectual Property Office keep quoting at us. This has been a long campaign. We had a major victory when the last government abandoned orphan works in 2010 but the civil servants who remained brought it all back again, resulting in the current stitch-up of an Act. We now have a lot of meetings and argument to get involved in to try to make sure that the regulations that are brought in under this legislation are not going to hurt us. The fall-back is judicial review and we have a lot of big money support there including Getty Images. Whatever happens, the Berne Convention looks very likely to trump anything that this lame UK government try to introduce!
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Al Diaz, Photographer
Miami | Fl | USA | Posted: 1:24 PM on 05.04.13
->> Here is a Q & A I just posted on this subject with Sam Lewis titled
The Legal Lens: Troubling Developments and Narrowing Rights
Samuel Lewis is a Board Certified Intellectual Property law specialist and partner at Feldman Gale, P.A. in Miami, Florida, and a professional photographer who has covered sporting events for more than twenty-five years.
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Thread Title: "All your pics belong to everyone now"
Thread Started By: Jim Colburn
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