UK’s appalling Instagram Act

As a creator who lives in the UK, this is terrifying.

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.

Copyright Reform is desperately needed, more so in the UK than in many other so called developed countries.  But this is not the reform that was needed.  The worrying part is the burden that is placed on the creator to prove that the creation is theres, rather then putting the burden on the user to prove they have sufficient rights.  The user only has to perform what’s known as a “diligent search”, which is ill-defined (does it include doing a reverse image search using a service like Tin Eye? Who knows) which is unlikely to locate any results.

And as if this wasn’t enough of a shambles, there currently exists no way of formally registering your creations.  PLUS, one of the registries, is currently in beta testing and the other registries aren’t ready yet either.

Addendum:  One of the main pushers behind this Act is Google.  That’s “Don’t be evil” Google.