With photographers about to lose copyright protection on their images, and the Government to curb their rights to take pictures in public, Philip Dunn looks more closely at these outrageous proposals and how they will affect you.
Photographers to lose copyright protection of their work
This startling and outrageous proposal will become UK law if The Digital Economy Bill currently being pushed through Parliament is passed. This Bill is sponsored by the unelected Government Minister, Lord Mandelson.
Let’s look at the way this law will affect your copyright:
The idea that the author of a photograph has total rights over his or her own work – as laid out in International Law and The Copyright Act of 1988 – will be utterly ignored. If future, if you wish to retain any control over your work, you will have to register that work (and each version of it) with a new agency yet to be set up.
Details about how this agency will be set up – and what fees will be charged for each registration – have been kept deliberated vague in Lord Mandelson’s Bill. If ever there was a licence to print money, this is it. You will pay.
If they are not registered with this quango agency, your images can be plundered and used anywhere, by anyone – on the understanding that the thief makes a very minimal effort to find you – the author of the image.
Currently, International Law, through the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, recognises the ownership rights of the creator of the ‘property’. This enables image owners to control how their work is used, and whether it is used at all.
International Law will be ignored by the British Government and this new Act will overturn more than 150 years of UK copyright law.
If ever there was a massive step forward to a police state and suppression of information, this is it. Most of this thieves’ charter is not even going through Parliament as primary legislation. The Digital Economy bill Section 42 sections 16a, 16b, 16c enable ad hoc regulation by Mandelson’s office without further legislation. None of that will never be voted on.