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Stop Legalised Theft of Copyrighted Works

There is a lot of hoopla going around at the moment about the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Most of the stories are full of hyperbole, but the fact remains that there is a nasty little clause in the reform which fundamentally undermines people’s intellectual property rights.

Anyone in the creative industry knows how difficult it can be to earn a living, and even more difficult is getting large companies to pay the proper rate for our work. If you think it’s bad now, how bad will it get when they can use an image you own, claiming they “couldn’t find you”, thus making your work ‘orphan’?

 

UK law currently protects us from this happening. It assumes that any image has an owner, and therefore any unauthorised use of that image constitutes infringement. Under the new law, if a company conducts an undefined “diligent search”, but comes up with nothing, they can use that image for whatever purpose they wish.

 

If you want to think about how scary that could be – imagine a photo of your child appearing in a child abuse ad. If the company can prove they looked for the owner of the shot but couldn’t find you, they are off the hook. Or, perhaps more comically, you’re walking down the street and you find your Facebook profile picture has been used on a 50 foot billboard for erectile dysfunction.

 

This doesn’t just affect people in the creative industry, it affects everyone who’s ever uploaded something to the internet. The law currently protects us from companies who want to exploit the rich media content currently online. With this bill becoming law, we will lose that protection.

 

Link to petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49422


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