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Copyright? What Copyright?

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!


  • Kasia-D
    Kasia-Dover 1 year ago

    Quite a scandal. I guess there are no member of parliament who artistic enough or who understood the technology to feel their personal copy could be copied or at risk! If they had, they might have voted differently. All in favour of the Big Boys, against the man or woman with the cam on the street. Considering how many photos each private individual takes each year and posts somewhere compared with the old days the scandal is much bigger!!

  • Hi Kasia,

    There are a lot of problems with this. I deal with a lot of legal aspects in my day job and having looked at this legislation, it is full of loopholes. Looks like the UK is now a haven for copyright infringers. In the UK, a person can now take an image from any part of the world and claim it is “orphan” unless someone can prove that it readily “apparent” that ownership exists at the point of presentation. The main loophole is that in most cases, ownership maybe established but only the usage will be stopped. No payment may not be required for the previous usage unless it can be proved that ownership was “apparent” at the time of “receiving” the image. This means that all images will have to have a copyright message across the image and metadata attached – both as a precautionary measure – both can be easily stripped using existing software though. Nightmare!

    – Kevin Skinner

  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Mooreover 1 year ago

    It’s terrible. There was a bulletin out from the government in the U.S. as well, that something “needs to be done about Orphan Images”. I’m afraid they might follow suit. This is an area where we could all be robbed, you are so correct. OR someone will make a big business out of registry fees.

  • Hi Fran,

    If you look at what I replied to in Kasia’s comment, you’ll understand why everyone should be concerned. This has a worldwide issue here unfortunately. If a copyright is infringed by someone in the UK from anyone in the world, it will be the UK law that would deal with it. This would also mean that the costs of prosecution would be horrific if from overseas trying to gain costs – even then the main loophole here is there may not be any damages due!

    – Kevin Skinner

  • NordicBlackbird
    NordicBlackbirdover 1 year ago

    Creaky, I was not aware of this, Kev. Shocking!
    Had on, since RB is Aussie – would this mean our RB portfolios could be spared from this madness???

  • Hi Nat,

    Unfortunately, no. I can still do a Alt-Print-Screen on anyone’s images and pass it off as an “orphan” image due to no metadata and no copyright statement on the image. Since I infringed the Copyright in the UK, it comes under UK law to deal with it. To deal with outwith UK law, would be costly and would need precedence in the first instance. This is a messy legislation and poorly drafted, I’m afraid. Just leaves the artist exposed as far as I can see.

    – Kevin Skinner

  • Robin King
    Robin Kingover 1 year ago


  • Couldn’t have put it better myself :-)

    – Kevin Skinner

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelover 1 year ago

    I think Frannie has a good point about someone making money off registry fees Numerous sites have sprung up claiming they ‘register’ your copyright or ‘protect’ your images. I suspect only time will tell which if any of them do anything for you, and I’ve already seen complaints about some. The new UK orphan law is an abomination. To make new laws with vague words like “diligent search” is meaningless. All the infringing public will hear is what they want to hear, e.g. unidentified work is free to use. It’s not, but they will interpret it that way, making more work for copyright owners than they already have to do. I suspect many artists and photographers who opposed putting a prominent name across their work will rethink that now, no matter how unattractive it may look. I have no idea how a writer would mark their work similarly but they will probably have to think about it now too.

  • Hi Cindy,

    “Copyright Hubs” will not solve the basic issues of this legislation. The new legislation was meant to give further protection to the artist/owner of any work, but it has actually made the situation worse. It does give “protection” for 70 years after their death (good to know) but it has made it weaker when the owner is actually alive – how’s that for reason?! I suppose the only way we are truly going to know how this legislation is going to work is when the first court case appears……… this space?

    – Kevin Skinner

  • Adam Bykowski
    Adam Bykowskiover 1 year ago

    Read this about three days ago and have been thinking about it. I can’t come up with anything intelligent to say. I feel hurt, pain, robbed, raped, and sad. My gut tells me fight this filth of an idea, revolt, and combine strong intelligence with rage and change this bad idea. Fuck the government! Power to the people! * Note: I’m a nice guy until you piss me off.