Friday, 3 October 2008
Today I read in The British Journal of Photography that the US Senate has passed an amended version of the controversial Orphan Works Bill, which has been widely criticised for tearing up international accords on artists' copyright. Under current law, a copyright holder has the undeniable right to profit from his work, but this new bill allows pictures editors and art buyers to use images with unknown or incomplete copyright information, as long as they have made sufficient attempts to track down the owner.
If the new legislation passes through the House of Representatives, responsibility passes to the author, who must actively protect his work by process of registration. This system could prove impossible for most photographers due to the time and cost involved in registering works. Companies unscrupulous enough to strip an image of copyright information know that if caught, they would merely have to pay what they would have been charged in the first place.
As we make progress through the course and we start to publish images on the web, it would be interesting to know a bit more in detail about the potential dangers. Internet is a big opportunity for all of us, but in the current economic meltdown the market will test legislative boundaries to the limit, profiting from any grey areas resulting from unclearly defined regulation.
We need to get better at attaching value to our images and protect our work, but for now I will keep posting some more images of the people I met in my last trip and see what happens.