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Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK

We already narrowly avoided having our Instagram photos half-inched for marketing (or felt like we did). Now it looks like round two has already begun in Britain – without us noticing. Don’t panic just yet, though – it’s not as scary as people are making out. Unless you’re a professional photographer.

Early reports of possible changes that the Enterprise Regulatory Act (to give it its proper name) makes to copyright law have been a little sensationalistic. Basically part of the act addresses so-called ‘orphan’ works – that’s photos, videos, or anything else you’ve uploaded online that can’t be traced back to you (because you did it anonymously, there’s metadata missing from the file, etc) – and people have suggested it will let companies use, say, your holiday photos from Flickr for an advertising campaign.

‘People can now use stuff without your permission,’ claims Paul Ellis. Which isn’t quite right.

‘This is a misunderstanding,’ says intellectual property lecturer Martin Kretschmer ‘Nothing will change for that sort of work.’ Kretschmer echoes the government’s own explanation, that anyone wanting to use your photos will still have to pay you – if they can find you – for your copyrighted content.

Would anyone really want the iPhone photos you took at a family barbecue? That said, professional photographers could be in trouble; if they took a photo that gets widely disseminated online, and a company stumbles across it somewhere on Google images – with no idea where it came from – the pro snappers could find themselves seriously out of pocket.

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Opinion 4 years ago
Gary Hough
Gary Hough Regulatory Manager & Post Punk GB

I always maintain - If in doubt don't upload. Today you have little chance of stopping your content being utilised by others without permission and I doubt very much if many mainstream internet users would actually, when push comes to shove, bother trying to do much beyond having a shout and sending a cease and desist email - if that - to anyone who might reuse their content.

I've had a load of my pictures (music and location) nabbed by fans from sites like Facebook, Tumblr and similar some with watermarks others without. Personally I'm not that bothered if fans of a band grab them but I will bother if any commercial entity tries to profit from them without my permission.

When you upload your content to a "free" social media site your asking for trouble from the outset even where terms and conditions of use look like they might actually mean something.

Copyright and intellectual property laws need a real overhaul worldwide to take into account the online world we all now exist in.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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