Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

The Orphan Works Bill

You’ll notice that I’ve made two changes over the past couple of days regarding copyright marking and my privacy settings at Flickr. Firstly, all images which I post from now on will contain a visual copyright notice and a copyright definition in the (hidden) IPTC annotations. Secondly, no-one can download any of my photos from Flickr in higher resolution any more.

The regrettable reason for this change isn’t due to an overpowering urge to begin earning money on my shots or cracking down on how generous I am in sharing stuff with you. It’s due to a new law being introduced in the U.K. called the Orphan Works Bill. The essence of this law is that any image found online which cannot clearly be identified as being owned by a particular author may be reproduced and re-used by anyone. Primarily, this action is being taken to allow media publishers to use photos found online for their own purposes, avoiding the costs of using a picture agency or staff photographer. One argument being put forward is that of the continuing economic difficulties being endured by many, and that their business should somehow be supported at the cost of a photographer.

Even more ridiculously and offensively, the proposal is that the media house who use a picture they have found online pay a fee to the government, in the event that the photographer spots the use of the image and demands recompense. If the photographer doesn’t spot it, then guess what? Yep, that’s right. The government keeps the cash.

More information about the Orphan Works Bill can be found here.

2 responses to “The Orphan Works Bill”

  1. habi avatar

    to put it mildly; that sounds like a silly idea.

    it still leaves me a bit baffled that when I post a photo on MY flickr-account that it’s now essentially free to take for UK media.

  2. Mark Howells-Mead avatar

    Silly isn’t the word. The U.K. Government is rapidly wrecking the creative community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google’s reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.