Apologies, but I am hijacking my own 365 for something I feel exceedingly passionate about.
Tonight saw a big public airing of the implications of the Digital Economy Bill on BBC’s Panorama. The Bill passed through the House of Lords today and now goes to the House of Commons, where it is expected to be passed before an election. If you are somehow still unaware of what it is, please just search for it, or do a twitter search for #debill. It passed today through the House of Lords with comments including “ill-though out”, “will be back here in 3 years”, “in the pockets of the industry”. None of which fills me with comfort and leaves me wondering why the rush, why did my local MP know nothing of it when I wrote to him about it and who exactly are the government there to protect?
What Panorama didn’t even touch on is the Orphan Works section of the Bill. This is supposed to enable the use of the orphaned images, currently in existence, in places like museums and libraries. What the legislation will enable is the ability to download any image from the net, rip out its meta-data (which essentially contains all the copyright information of the producer of the image) and claim ignorance as to the originator. This allows anyone, from large media organisations to the individual at home, to steal any image (from any image sharing website) and use it as they see fit, irrespective of the intentions of the image creator. From a personal perspective, this is devastating.
As an example, I could create an image to sell as a limited edition print. I place a copy of this on image sharing websites and my own website as marketing and successfully sell some of the editions. What could now happens is that an organisation could come across my image, download it, rip out the meta information and then use it. The use might be advertising, article background or header on a web page, either way, they have just destroyed the limited aspect of my work. In addition to this, if I were to discover the use and complain (to the body that is being created for this purpose) I would receive a nominal fee for the work and no compensation or the ability to have the use removed.
As such, my 365 today, is an image I am creating to show you how I would minimally have to display all of my images in the future to protect from theft. It is an image from yesterday’s 365 and I feel it is a shame that I would no longer be able to leave the image as created to draw the viewers eye in the way the original image intended and effectively have to treat every viewer as a potential thief.
Want to help, visit this flickr group for some links and sign this petition to stop disconnects and this petition to stop the copyright reform. Thank you for reading. Normal service will resume tomorrow.
And in case you are wondering. I do have an image for today on my iPhone, just so I feel I have taken a photo a day!