Copyright... It is not yours anymore.
UK Government passes the "Instagram Act".
Another headache brewing.
These migraine headaches are coming thick and fast. They come when I see acts of supreme stupidity played out by law-makers whom are hell-bent on wrecking the lives of the people they are meant to protect.
As a photographer, documenter, film-maker and musician I have to have an understanding of copyright law. To all of you who make films, write, illustrate and overall produce something, you as a creator are legally protected by copyright law.
It is an easy basis to remember, that if you produce something it is you who owns that production. It is up to you and your right alone to authorize someone else to use said production.
But not anymore it seems. Ohhh the headache.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA).
I have followed this when it first showed its ugly head around, before it got to its legislative stage. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) is a reform on copyright law.
The change is profoundly significant and it surrounds a topic described as "Orphan Works". It is called such when a owner of the copyright cannot be traced. When a work is "considered" an "Orphan Work" commercial institutions can exploit this copyright reform and use your work without them being held liable and are also immune from any financial compensation claim.
My ironic quotation marks is by the legislations definition of considered.
To be considered an orphan work the user or publisher will need to conduct a "diligent search" which shows that the owner of the work cannot be traced. Subsequent to this this user will then be granted a non-exclusive licence to the work.
This fundamental change to the legislation will prove to be a massive headache amongst copyright owners now and for later on in 2014. This thoroughly rushed legislation is linked onto another piece of legislation which does not have relation to a copyright bill.
The structure of the legislation only comments on an orphan work and does not set out a structure on how it could work.
The orphan work in particular is a work where the author contact information is missing or lost. For older mediums it was often difficult to find authorship of the work, however newer mediums are included in the legislation.
An example of current orphan work mediums is posting through social networks. In a situation where a photograph is posted on Facebook, that photograph can then be distributed on other sites by different people. So in this example the publisher will then find the picture after it has been shared countless times across countless social networks. It may be that the publisher will find it almost impossible to find the original author, possibly because of missing metadata. However it is stated that changed or stripped metadata does not make it an orphaned work.
This liquidation of copyright law was aptly named after a backlash with copyright holders and Instagram back in 2012 when Instagram updated its Terms of Service, which grants itself the right to sell their users' photographs and written material and sell it without notifying or compensated the original publisher.
So much was the backlash of that did Instagram back-down from this stance.
Current copyright law is the basic protection for anyone. It has protected the ordinary peoples' rights and terms but as these will inevitably get eroded due to this new legislation, the protection will be more focused onto larger publishers and commercial organisations.
Also with Davos 2014 just happening, through all the rhetoric and clammy handshakes the overall energy was placed upon enterprise and innovation from a primarily commercial interest before any protection of the common man. It is people whom are candidates at this event that lobby other governments to create other upcoming atrocities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP). But that's another rant.
Unfortunately it will have to be enacted for us to see what kind of monster this might turn out to be.
Some other information on The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, The Instagram Act and TPP