Photography is doomed – end game in sight

From Tony Sleep.

“The quaint notion that the author has prime and inalienable rights over
his/her own work, must be able to restrict usage, negotiate a fee, prevent
usage they consider immoral or distasteful, or assert their moral right to
attribution, is about to pass into history.”

The end game is now in sight. The Digital Economy Bill introduces orphan
works rights, which – unless amended, which HMG says it will not – will
allow the commercial use of any photograph whose author cannot be
identified through a suitably negligent search. That is about 90% of the
photos on the internet.

Copyright in photos is essentially going to cease to exist, since there is
no ineradicable way of associating ownership details short of plastering
your name right across the image. We’ve pressed for mandatory attribution
to deter orphans being made in the first place, but nobody is listening.
Publishers hate that idea, because it costs them money. Besides they are
major creators of orphans by stripping metadata, and fully intend to take
advantage of not knowing who made the photos they have anonymised. But
they are Industry of great weight and value to the economy, so their
lobbying is listened to and ours isn’t.

So Flickr, Google Images, personal websites, all of it will become
commercial publishers’ free photolibrary. A small fee – to be decided by
Peter Mandelson’s office – will have to be deposited with a collecting
society in case the owner spots the usage. The author who discovers his
work has been used as an orphan can then make a claim and receive a
percentage of the peanuts, after the collecting society has had its share.

This is a slight improvement over earlier proposals, whereby HMG simply
planned to keep all the fees instead.

Essentially, if photos were cars, so long as the numberplate is missing
(or you can get rid of it and claim it was), you’ll be able to legally
TWOC and use it.

The quaint notion that the author has prime and inalienable rights over
his/her own work, must be able to restrict usage, negotiate a fee, prevent
usage they consider immoral or distasteful, or assert their moral right to
attribution, is about to pass into history.

Of course the few who know about this have lobbied against this legalised
robbery for >3 years. It violates UK commitments under the Berne treaty
and TRIPS. Only a handful of LibDem and Tory peers GAF.

Most of this crap isn’t even going through the commons as primary
legislation. DE bill just allows ad hoc regulation by Mandelson’s office
without further legislation. None of that will ever be voted on.

That’s not all, either. The ICO’s proposed new code for digital
information has some “commonsense” rules that prohibit photography in
public places where anyone who’s in the photograph might be unhappy about
being photographed.

CCTV, full body scans, no problem, but if an ordinary person takes a
photo, this Kafkasesque notion of privacy in public will apply. A photo,
taken in public, is now deemed private data, y’see. Unless it’s on film.

Mindful of the damage this would do to tourism and how much it would piss
off Joe Public to be told he can’t use his cameraphone in the street to
snap his drunk mates, ICO have decided that this lunacy shall only apply
to pro photographers, a small enough constitiency to kick with impunity.
Of course ICO thinks all pro photography is paparazzi harassment of our
beloved celebrities so this is entirely reasonable. Minor considerations
like, oh, journalism, history, social documentary, are all just collateral
damage.

Of course, we already have police and PCSO’s deploying S44 CTA2000 for the
purpose of deprecating photography in public places, so all told, “f$cked”
is looking on the bright side.

Regards

Tony Sleep
http://tonysleep.co.uk

Use this, and write to your M.P telling him/her what you think of the above. Please

Advertisements

~ by Gary Austin on February 10, 2010.

One Response to “Photography is doomed – end game in sight”

  1. […] by the camera should remain intact on transfer, (lets hope it stays when copied) and with the new impending orphan works bill that might well be a priority, unless you can really trust the client you are sending them out to, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: