Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Lessons from "The Fall Guy, the Politician and the Photographer"

Because most people don't have time to read through the 3 longish blogs that follow about the Orphan Works legislation in the UK's proposed Digital Economy Bill....

The Fall Guy - the end user of an image who somewhat innocently finds himself in hot water.

LESSON: Any so called Orphan is someone's copyright and most of those copyright holders will be overseas. There's every chance these copyright holders will want to disregard UK legislation that misappropriates what is theirs and act against innocent UK users of their images.

The Politician - the subject of an image who finds his orphan image being used in a way that would be embarrassing or hurtful to him

LESSON 1: Any image containing recognisable people or property should be absolutely excluded from being able to be used commercially as an orphan. Better still, all commercial use should be excluded. To be really safe, all use. Exclude photography from this legislation.

LESSON 2: Never rush through legislation, particularly when those rushing it through seem glibly unaware of the ramifications

The Photographer - the professional creator of many marvellous images who is in the digital age is taken for granted

LESSON 1: The UK legal system is already weighted against photographers getting fair compensation for the abuse of their intellectual property. Many dishonest people know that it pays to pilfer images.

LESSON 2: The Orphan Works proposals would make it totally time inefficient for a photographer to seek out compensation for Orphans used. If ever enacted, compensation should be at a multiple of the market rate to reflect that while many Orphan's will generate income for the government, few payments will have to be made to photographers.


What's interesting about this story is that everyone in a different way is a loser. Except the government. And time is never valued - except that of the lawyers.

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