In recent months, both Facebook and Instragram were subjected to intense backlash from users when they learned their photos could be turned over to commercial interests without their knowledge or permission.
The UK government takes it one step further with their Instagram Act, which now makes the use of “orphaned works”, for commercial purposes, law.
The Act contains changes to UK copyright law which permit the commercial exploitation of images where information identifying the owner is missing, so-called “orphan works”, by placing the work into what’s known as “extended collective licensing” schemes. Since most digital images on the internet today are orphans – the metadata is missing or has been stripped by a large organisation – millions of photographs and illustrations are swept into such schemes.
The Act also fails to prohibit sub-licensing, meaning that once somebody has your work, they can wholesale it. This gives the green light to a new content-scraping industry, an industry that doesn’t have to pay the originator a penny.
The following comment is sort of cute in its naivete. You can’t remove your work from the internet entirely, and any wahoo with a scanner can orphan your work in two seconds by altering it, or scanning it from a book, original drawing, or photo, and uploading it for you. No pesky metadata to remove!
In practice, you’ll have two stark choices to prevent being ripped off: remove your work from the internet entirely, or opt-out by registering it. And registration will be on a work-by-work basis.
And people wonder why I spent so much damned time in Washington.
Why I bother…
Good luck, creators. You’ll need it.
The original Orphan Works legislation did not make it through the Senate here, but you can bet it will be back. I blogged about it extensively
My old blog was shut down in January 2009, but I was able to recover the original content of my Orphan Works Bill post, dated September 2008. Here it is in its entirety, after the cut. I love you, O My People, but not enough to take the time to restore the links. I’m on deadline.
Read on anyway. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…