Digital copyright – Potential threat from UK legislation

ImmagineDigital copyright – Potential threat from UK legislation

A new on “orphan works” copyright bill has been proposed by the British parliament. This legislation means that photographers and illustrators alike could well see their artworks legally taken and used for another’s own gain.

The fear of this proposed bill is that unless your work is registered or plastered with a watermark, anyone can use your copyrighted work for their own commercial and personal gains, provided they have made a small effort to search for the original owner. If no owner can be found, they are free to do with it whatever they want.

“This kind of legislation is a dangerous threat for the professional photographers worldwide. The fear is that this would allow copyrighted photographs to be freely used by anyone, as long as a “diligent search” fails to reveal the identity of the photographer”, said FEP President Jorgen Brandt. “Accordingly, the Federation of European Photographers, representing more than 50,000 photographers Europe wide, intents to sign up the following public petition: and ask the member associations and their individual members to do the same” Jorgen Brandt also said.

If enacted, the UK legislation will permit foreign works to be used without the permission of or credit and compensation to their rights holders. The prospect of unknown, ongoing unlicensed usage of foreign works in the UK will prevent any rights holder in any country from licensing exclusive rights to any party.

“I will also propose the FEP Board to send a joint letter on behalf all the Member Associations to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills of the United Kingdom, endorsing the joined document which has been already signed, some time ago, by all the photographic associations in USA, protesting this decision” said Jean Félix Bernetel, FEP, Chairman of the Syndical Cell.

You can read the US letter in its entirety here:

You can also read what our British colleagues are saying by visiting the BIPP BLOG at;