Clause 38 of the Digital Economy Bill says that if someone finds your photograph, wants to use it and decides that they can’t trace you, they can do whatever they like with it after paying an arbitrary fee to a UK Government-appointed “licensing body”. Clause 43 also introduces “Extended Collective Licensing”. This means that if someone finds your photograph and can trace you, they still don’t have to contact you for permission to use it. They can go to a UK Government-appointed “collecting society” and ask them instead. They’ll pay an arbitrary fee and be able to do whatever they like with the photograph. Your photograph. Again, without asking you first or paying what you would have charged.
Big corporations have an interest in getting this bill passed, and you have to ask yourself why. The Register reports that:
Big publishers and the BBC have come out to lobby for the controversial Clause 43, that part of the Mandybill that strips photographers of their historical rights.
Is that surprising? It should be, because Clause 43 is the section that deals with 'orphan works' - and according to the Business department BIS, the only people who are supposed to benefit from the unique powers it confers are special parties: copyright libraries, such as the British Library. These are non-commercial operations. Clause 43 was never intended act as a leg-up for tight-fisted publishers.
But here they are.Don't lose the rights to your own photography!! Petition your local MP. The deadline to take action is 6th April 2010. I went to the 38 Degrees website, entered my postcode, name and email, and fired off an email to my local MP, all in 2 minutes.