back to article Photographers rue Mandy's copyright landgrab

A little-reported corner of the sprawling Digital Economy Bill reduces photographers to serf status - and concerns are rippling into the wider community. Photographers say bad wording and technical ignorance are to blame for Clause 42, calling it a "luncheon voucher" for greedy publishers. "The Bill contains no deterrent to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Orphans belong to ME, MINE ALL MINE

    Website in Russia or China publishes orphaned work, I write to them claiming ownership, they dispute my ownership according to their own copyright laws (and yes Russia and China do have copyright and do enforce it).

    I go to the UK ISP and demand the site be blocked. I've asked them already and they haven't taken it down.

    Now my site publishing orphaned work has eliminated it's foreign competition.

  2. James 139


    Smart people will start plastering large watermarks over their images, surely?

    But those that stand to lose the most are those that sell images, as once theyve sold someone an image they cant really control it.

  3. David 105

    It's Voluntary... People can opt out

    Now where have I heard that before?

    I'm also quite concerned by the statement that Civil Servants didn't fully understand the implications of clause 42, either because civil servants are not elected and therefore have no business drafting laws, or because our lawmakers are creating laws to please one special interest group, without any consideration of the ramifications on everyone else.

    And feature creep, nah mate don't worry about that, it's never happened.

    Mandy, (and your recently bought, er sorry, persuaded) Lib Dem lord friends, please, for the good of the country and freedom of speach, just FOAD!!

  4. John Lilburne

    Screw a collection agency

    I release photos under a creative commons non-commercial license, these are used by universities, museums, and academic researchers across the world. However, they can't be used commercially, I don't want them used commercial so a collection agency is of no damn use to me. Quite simply commercial organisations should not be using them.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Collection Agencies

      don't work like that. My work is published in magazines and books all over the world too and I collect money directly. DACS collects money based on those images being copied in libraries and the like from those books and magazines. It's generally a healthy sum.

      1. John Lilburne


        The proposal is for some agency to collect money for orphaned works should the owner turn up to claim. My point is that I don't want News International, the Daily 'hate' Mail, Fissons, or any other commercial organisation from using the works in the first place. Compensation after the event is irrelevant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In which case...

      why are you even Commenting here?

      It's about commercial photography.

      1. John Lilburne


        Its about the use of works under copyright. baring 'fair-dealing' exemptions, those require a license from the copyright holder. A use license may be withheld for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with whether it is being sold or not, such as not having the work used by some hate group.

  5. Not Fred31

    "no penalties for anonymising your work"

    Funny, the UK is also actively involved in ACTA, where they are proposing criminal sanctions for the removal of authorship information from copyrighted material. Arse, may I introduce you to elbow? Elbow, meet arse.

  6. Mike 102

    Will no one rid us of this man?

    Will no one rid us of this man? This government is corrupt and morally bankrupt. Unfortunately I don't think the Tories who are likely to replace them are much better so my votes going to the Libdems (though to be honest I doubt they are much better either!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It becomes ever more obvious that we don't need a change of party in control of the government - we need a change in *system* of government here in the UK.

      Ours is broken, due to a total lack of transparency curruption has changed our government from serving the people to serving those with the biggest wallets for the express purpose of filling those wallets even further.

      If the government aren't careful, I predict full on rioting and rebellion in the next 5 to 10 years. There's an awful lot of people becoming more and more angry.

      1. Nebulo
        Big Brother

        @AC 11:46 GMT

        They're already preparing for riots. Why else has the kleptocracy has been infesting the entire country with CCTV, databases tracking everything you do and everywhere you go, getting people used to the idea of being "electronically strip-searched" at airports, allowing practically anything in a uniform to enter your home on arbitrary pretexts, or stop and search you ... and ... and ... Let's face it, to them, *we*, the public, are the terrorists, particularly if we try to exercise our "rights" (hah!). By their standards, stealing our photos is practically a friendly greeting.

        You're right, we need a whole new system. But there's an awful lot of money and corrupt power says we're not going to get it.

        I (and they) know which side of the barricades I'll be on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Before voting for them you might want to know about the LibDem's Lord Clement-Jones.

      He's busy in the Lords on the Digital Economy Bill and proposed a change which would do good business for lawyers specialising in intellectual property disputes. Essentially he wants a judge to hear any dispute over copyright material that is found on a site, and if the judge rules there's been a dispute, he can order the page or indeed the whole site taken down. No bad? Well think how many copyright disputes there could be over a site like YouTube. You couldn't probably find enough lawyers to represent all the breaches on YouTube alone.

      Lord Clement Jones' list of interests includes:

      *12(b) Parliamentary lobbying

      Partner of DLA Piper (international law firm) and adviser to its global government relations practice.

      The member is paid £70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper’s global government relations practice (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

      And who are DLA Piper I hear you ask?

      'DLA Piper's Intellectual Property and Technology practice is one of the largest groups of IP lawyers in the world...

      'When disputes arise, your commercial objectives are our main concern. Whether you turn to litigation, engage in arbitration or mediation, or employ some other innovative solution to the problem, our IP and Technology group will represent and support you at every stage. '

      You'd almost think he was being paid to drum up business for them. Which, when you think about it, he is.

      1. Mike 102

        I'm sure

        I'm sure all parties have at more than one w*nker.... and most of themhave their noses in the trough.

        I'd still rather them at the moment than either of the other two main parties...

    3. Alan Firminger


      The UK is a monarchy. The powers of the monarch, except from the constitutional decisions, are delegated to the Privy Council, a totally secret body which is controlled by the Prime Minister.

      It is H.M.G. Not your government and not mine but Lizzie's.

      We are officially serfs with some basic rights. So touch your forelock and do as you are told by those in authority.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't mean metadata, I mean burning a fingerprint/signature right into the image which is hard to crop/see but that the original artist can point to.

    I guess this could be removed by a screen-grab/re-packing.

    Way to go Labour! Kicking the workers in the teeth and helping big business. Again.

    You bunch to self-serving toffs!

    1. Doc Spock
      Thumb Up


      A hard to see (by the naked eye) hidden fingerprint is a good idea, but as you point out, it can be rather simple to alter/remove the fingerprint (e.g. by saving a copy with a different size or resolution).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again

    This is another example of Darth Vader (whoops sorry, Lord Mandelson) reflecting his business relationships and interests in the implementation of the Digital Privacy legislation. It smacks of an in place government doing favours for media businesses to curry favour in reporting on the election run up.

    This bill is not about privacy protection for individuals in any sense. It is about serving the interests of big business who have lately woken up to the digital age and potential of digital revenue.

    This is about an outdated content distribution empire attempting a digital land grab by stifling virtual digital businesses (eg. digital vaults to name one) and consolidating control into the hands of the the big interests.

    Say goodbye to free speech, privacy for individuals and media control.

    I hope you used the web to its full over the last decade as it may be about to change for the worse forever.

    And yes I am posting as "anonymous coward" but that anonymity may be short lived if Lord Vaders bill goes all the way.

  9. Svein Skogen

    Correct response to this

    For photographers is to plaster a huge watermark "Not Licensed for UK Use until XXX is revoked" on all their work.

    Being a photographer myself, I'm very wary of all the new legislation that without exception shifts rights AWAY from individual photographers and into the hands of corporations. But then again, we have no reason to trust politicians NOT being ... owned by those corporations.


    1. CD001



      Not Licensed for UK Use until XXX is revoked


      That's a BLOODY GOOD IDEA! :)

  10. McBread

    tineye is a service where you can upload a photo and it'll tell you where else it occurs on the internet (it claims to handle resizing, cropping and other variations). Some sort of officially recognised repository where everyone can submit their photos would go a long way to solving this.

    1. Svein Skogen

      The problem with this

      Is that such a common repository would only be done by someone interested in the commercial aspect. Perhaps someone wanting to aggregate all pictures for sale to media et all. I can see such a service being used by the likes of Murdoch to send invoices to all sites containing an image he has (unlawfully) grabbed hold of.


  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Don't want something copied?

    Don't put it on the Internet.


    1. Essuu

      Not Simple

      If someone else posts your work and strips the watermarks or other information then it's instantly orphaned and under the proposed legislation fair game.

      Don't want your photos copied ? Don't let anyone, anywhere, have a copy of them.

      Rather defeats the purpose though

      1. Winkypop Silver badge

        Yes simple

        I'm not saying it's right or wrong.

        These days if something is out there, it's out REALLY there.

        Someday, somehow, someone's going to pinch or re-use it.

        As I said....

    2. John Lilburne

      Way to go!

      You've just reduced the internet to a shopping channel.

      Even the wikifiddlers expect that they'll get credit, as do the OSS.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      all i can say is

      Ha bloody ha. 'Creative industries' (yes I'm looking at you music and film) have pushed and pushed to get their overly self-protecting agendas written into law across the globe and now they finally see where that leads. With Arch Demon OverLord Mandelson waiting in the shadows, his tongue out to do the highest's bidding they should have realised there was room to be out-eviled.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Someone has forgotten to take their meds

        Your bit about Mandelson's tongue is weird - is this what happens to nerds who play D&D games too long?

        This is actually about what happens when creative industries are weak, not too strong. They get ripped off by Murdoch, the BBC - other industries.

        But don't let logic or facts get in the way of your moronic freetard rant.

        (Oh, and The Dragon is behind you).

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Has someone seen a made-up word they thought they could use? As my comment had absolutely no reference to anyone obtaining other people's work for nothing perhaps someone should try reading instead of just thinking they are clever. When the West was rewriting Iraq's constitution to suit its own interests after crippling the country for daring to sit on an oil reserve, some of the first legislation to go in wasn't anything about human rights or equality but yes, you guessed it; copyright, so please don't try to tell me the great global 'entertainment' megacorps are "too weak". They've all been meeting behind closed doors for months to decide precisely what legislation they were going to force down supposedly free government throats. Mandelson will bend over for any business interest big enough to grease his pole and if the likes of Google have outmanoeuvred your Viacoms, Disneys and News Corps then pardon me for not shedding any fucking tears

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton ?

    Sounds good next time I get a picture of a topless model cropped right at the money shot.

    Paris - well, there are some cropped shots of her.

  13. heyrick Silver badge


    On one hand we have big business saying OUR MEDIA IS OURS FOREVER and if you dare to use it they'll want to hack off your internet access, smother your granny and kill your kitten. That it, use it according to their arbitary terms, like it can only be played on your iPod on every other Tuesday of the month...

    ...meanwhile any media which happens to be online with no clear obvious ownership information (or any that looks good but contacting the known owner is just too much like bother), can be used with impunity. The owner could sue, but the system end up being will be stacked against them.

    This is a shocking attempt at a landgrab.

    I therefore propose a solution. Any MP3s and AVIs which happen to be on websites or other distribution channels which are NOT those of the original publisher or authorised vendor should now be reclassified as "orphaned works" and are thus free for download and use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Best idea I've heard all week.

      "Any MP3s and AVIs which happen to be on websites or other distribution channels which are NOT those of the original publisher or authorised vendor should now be reclassified as "orphaned works" and are thus free for download and use."

      Even those original vendor files with an artist/publisher's identity in the filename should be free game after a quick scrub of the metadata, just like Murdoch will have his elves doing to any digital images they acquire.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    It would be possible to turn this on it's head

    By grabbing images that big media have used, adding your own metadata and then claiming they owe you huge amounts of money for use.

  15. JP19
    Thumb Down


    Have any people (as opposed to vested business interests) got a good word to say about any of this digital economy bill?

    I wish politicians would just eff off and stop trying to convice us (and themselves) they are not a waste of space by meddling with things and making them worse.

  16. LaeMing

    Stop talking about the "The Government"

    The correct term is "The Government and their Corporate Sponsors".

    1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      "The Government and their Corporate Sponsors"

      I prefer "The Cult of the Quarterly Bonus." :D

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