This is mainly addressed to DA members from the UK but I would imagine it may well affect everyone.
I learned about this from Nigel Parkinson and also Lew Stringer on Facebook.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Act effectively strips all ownership of creative works from the person creating them, and puts them in the public domain, with reference to the millions of digital images on the internet, most of which will be considered ' orphan images' since the metadata is missing or has been removed by the organisations since their submission to the web.
I will quote Nigel Parkinson now ' this thinly disguised act of theft hidden behind the sycophantic smiles of civil servants within the Intellectual Property Office means they simply don't see copyright as a 'right' any longer. Rather, they see it as - quote them - ' a framework '. Obviously just something else to be toyed with and manipulated at will.'
Iain Conner, an Intellectual Property Law expert with Pinsent Masons has said ' The key to this is going to be whether or not there is going to be appropriate secondary legislation that will set up some sort of system that is good for users to get the content they want, but good for the industry to make sure they are renumerated appropriately for their work...if this is copyright legislation, this deserves an act called the Copyright Act..This should not be tagged into a piece of legislation that has nothing to do with copyright. It's a nonsense.'
'Given that the basis of copyright is that ' it arises automatically without the need for registration in most countries and protects these materials from unauthorised copying. it is essential in business to identify such rights, ensure they are owned by the correct entity, properly protected, enforced and exploited' -[ Pinsent Masons.]
THE REALITY OF THE ACT IS THAT ANYONE WILL BE ABLE TO USE SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK - ALL THEY HAVE TO SAY IS THAT THEY HAVE DONE A 'DUE DILIGENCE' SEARCH - WITHOUT ASKING THE OWNER/CREATOR OF THE WORK PRIOR TO EXPLOITING IT THEMSELVES. CALLING THIS 'HOOVERING' OF IMAGES AN 'EXTENDED COLLECTIVE LICENSING SCHEME' IS DISINGENUOUS AT THE VERY LEAST' AND DOWNRIGHT DISHONEST AT WORST.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act goes further, or put more correctly, fails to go further in protecting creators rights, as there is no prohibition on sub - licensing in the Act, thereby giving the green light for selling on images for profit.
Everyone accepts that Orphan Works like old photographs from , say the 1920's or similar should be freely available, but this Act will enable wholesale theft and will force artists and photographers to spend money registering every image or investing in unremoveable highly visible 'watermarks' or to simply remove their art from the internet. The UK Government, I feel, is rushing into this legislation without having an appreciation of what the consequences might be, particularly when most individuals may choose the least expensive option of removing their artwork from the web. This will have a direct effect on the UK creative economy, as individuals are entitled to have the security of knowing they own the copyright of their work, without further registration, legislation or litigation to prove ownership.
All of us whether professional or amateur should be concerned about the government 'giving away' our creative rights which have, until now, been enshrined and protected in existing and effective copyright law.
How many of us can afford protracted and expensive legal action against large corporations, and I believe that many artist's will therefore have no other option but to safeguard their property in whatsoever manner is available and affordable.