Everyone = Silicon Valley ad platforms tech companies
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/29 ... _landgrab/
By Andrew Orlowski • Posted in Media, 29th April 2013 07:27 GMT
Have you ever uploaded a photo to Facebook, Instagram or Flickr?
If so, you'll probably want to read this, because the rules on who can exploit your work have now changed radically, overnight.
Amateur and professional illustrators and photographers alike will find themselves ensnared by the changes, the result of lobbying by Silicon Valley and radical bureaucrats and academics. The changes are enacted in the sprawling Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which received Royal Assent last week, and it marks a huge shift in power away from citizens and towards large US corporations.
How so? Previously, and in most of the world today, ownership of your creation is automatic, and legally considered to be an individual's property. That's enshrined in the Berne Convention and other international treaties, where it's considered to be a basic human right. What this means in practice is that you can go after somebody who exploits it without your permission - even if pursuing them is cumbersome and expensive.
The UK coalition government's new law reverses this human right. When last year Instagram attempted to do something similar, it met a furious backlash. But the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act has sailed through without most amateurs or semi-professionals even realising the consequences.
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.
For the first time anywhere in the world, the Act will permit the widespread commercial exploitation of unidentified work - the user only needs to perform a "diligent search". But since this is likely to come up with a blank, they can proceed with impunity. The Act states that a user of a work can act as if they are the owner of the work (which should be you) if they're given permission to do so by the Secretary of State.
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. Such is the consequence of "rebalancing copyright", in reality.
Quite what happens next is not clear, because the Act is merely enabling legislation - the nitty gritty will come in the form of statutory instruments, to be tabled later in the year. Parliament has not voted down a statutory instrument since 1979, so the political process is probably now a formality.
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.
"People can now use stuff without your permission," explained photo rights campaigner Paul Ellis. "To stop that you have to register your work in a registry - but registering stuff is an activity that costs you time and money. So what was your property by default will only remain yours if you take active steps, and absorb the costs, if it is formally registered to you as the owner."
And right now, Ellis says, there's only one registry, http://plus.useplus.org/PLUSnews/2/PLUS_Registry.htm PLUS. Photographers, including David Bailey, http://thebppa.wordpress.com/2013/04/16 ... weighs-in/ condemned the Coalition for rushing through the legislation before other registries - such as the Copyright Hub - could sort themselves out.
"The mass of the public will never realise they've been robbed," thinks Ellis. The radical free-our-information bureaucrats at the Intellectual Property Office had already attempted to smuggle orphan works rules through via the Digital Economy Act in 2010, but were rebuffed. Thanks to a Google-friendly Conservative-led administration, they've now triumphed.
Three other consequences appear possible.
One is a barrage of litigation from UK creators - and overseas owners who find their work Hoovered into extended collective licensing programs. International treaties allow a country to be ostracised and punished. The threat has already been made clear from US writers and photographers, who've promised "a firestorm" http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/12 ... s_artists/ . Reciprocal royalty arrangements can also be suspended, on the basis of "if you steal our stuff, UK, we won't pay you". In addition, a judicial review, based on the premise that the Act gives Minister unconstitutional power over the disposal of private property http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/15 ... al_review/ , is not out of the question.
Secondly, the disappearance of useful material from the internet is likely to accelerate - the exact opposite of what supporters wish for. We recently highlighted the case of an aerial photographer who's moving work outside the UK, and we've heard of several who are taking their photos away from the web, and into lockers. The internet is poorer without a diverse creative economy - because creators need legal certainty of property rights.
And finally, there's the macroeconomic consequences for the UK economy.
The notorious 'Google Review' chaired by Ian Hargreaves failed to undertake adequate impact assessments, a giveaway that even the most rabid "copyright reformers" recognise there isn't an economic case to be made for taking everyone's stuff and giving it away.
"There's value in works, and if anybody can exploit them except the person who creates them, then value is transferred to the exploiter," explains Ellis. "This is a massive value transfer out of the UK economy to US tech companies."
Where it will remain, he thinks, because UK tech/media companies - should they appear - almost invariably become US-owned.
Copyright "reformers" of course rarely like to talk about such unpleasant matters - and will steer the conversation away from economic consequences as rapidly as possible. Indeed, the they generally talk using Orwellian euphemisms - like "liberalising" or "rebalancing" copyright. It's rarely presented as an individual's ability to go to market being removed. This is what "copyright reform" looks like in practice.
"It's corporate capitalism," says Ellis. "Ideally you want to empower individuals to trade, and keep the proceeds of their trade. The UK has just lost that."
So while the Twitterati and intelligentsia were ranting away about "Big Content", we've just lost the ability to sell our own content. In other words, you've just been royally Peter Falked. ®
166 Comments http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1 ... _landgrab/
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There are some inadequate safeguards and some ambiguous language is used. I'll wait and see what Viscount Younger has to say.
https://submissions.epetitions.direct.g ... ions/49422
It seems to me it is against my interest to have to register works I want to protect from exploitation.
And the Berne convention should in theory stop unilateral changes to copyright legislation...
HarveyBerne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works
Article 9: (2) It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.
The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ
* http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/03 ... explained/
Everything you wanted to know about the Instagram Act, but were afraid to ask
By Andrew Orlowski • Posted in Law, 3rd May 2013 07:03 GMT
Analysis The UK has passed legislation to permit the mass use of copyright-protected material without the owner's permission. This applies to any copyrighted work - not just images - where identifying information is missing.
The specifics aren't yet known - they'll come later in the year, in the form of secondary legislation called a "statutory instrument"*.
Thousands of statutory instruments are passed every year, and allow Parliament to approve or reject changes without having to pass a new Act. But some of these instruments can be used to make major changes to the primary legislation - such as their parent Act - with or without Parliamentary scrutiny. These instruments, known as Henry VIII clauses**, are frowned upon by constitutional experts....
The copyright orphanage
http://mark.goodge.co.uk/2013/04/the-co ... orphanage/
29 April 2013 by Mark
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act may not sound like the most exciting of laws, but it contains a section which will make some significant differences to the way copyright is applied to photos. And, since a lot of people take photos and post them on the Internet, they may be interested to know what those changes will be.
Or maybe not. Because, although you wouldn’t think it to read some of the attacks on the bill (such as this one in The Register by copyright enthusiast Andrew Orlowski, or this one by well known photographer David Bailey), it’s unlikely that the Act will have any significant negative effect at all on the vast majority of photographers, both professional and amateur....
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