.... but is vital to artists / creators to be able to keep their meagre living.
Put simply, big organisations (eg Google, News Corporation, BBC) would love to be able to pick images off the web and use them without having to fuss about copyright and such trivia. But you watch them protect their own creations!
In a BBC website article "Shedding light on copyright confusion" Will Gompertz chats to his mates and declares "the people to whom I have spoken regarding the issue of orphan works all want to see them put in to the public domain" which is all fine and dandy until you get down to specifics.
Such as that through no fault of my own but the actions of others there are hundreds of my photos on the web that are 'orphans'. Indeed the BBC itself very probably and unnecessarily made an 'orphan' of the image on that page, an action which is unlawful (see Paul Ellis's comments, it breaches CDPA 1988 Section 296ZG: http://bit.ly/kqjq5M.
So unless the new legislation does not enable others to make money out of my work without payment then you can expect me and other photographers to go on banging on about copyright.
Like I just did in my comment on that BBC page - Will, more of your mates should be photographers!