Firstly, can I direct you to this post by Donald Cameron – click here
It seems that a UK bill has been passed that now allows works with no metadata can now be used by anyone for any purposes. These so-called “Orphan Images” are those in which the owner is not immediately identifiable. How this will work, I don’t know but even if an image has metadata, it can be easily removed post-download.
They are talking about “Copyright Hubs” but these have not been set-up yet and this Bill has already been rushed through.
Personally, I feel robbed already and considering removing all my images from here, flickr, Facebook and my own website. The only way I think I can protect my images now (well, as much as you can these days) is to totally watermark everything and embed an electronic watermark into the coding of the image. This is a lot of work and expense though to protect something that is mine.
What on earth were they thinking when they wrote this Bill? Absolute madness!