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Thread: Orphan Rights Act passed in UK

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Orphan Rights Act passed in UK

    Not sure if all our UK membership will have heard how the coalition government has sneaked changes to how copyright protects, or in future will fail to protect, individual creatives in the UK? Royal assent was granted at the end of April 2013 to the wide ranging Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, rushed through with very little publicity. It includes sections that will directly undermine the rights of the individual, even failing to protect 'orphaned' work from sub-licensing.

    'Orphan works' are those not easily attributable to the creator, lacking copyright information or identifying metadata. How hard to 'finder' looks for said information is up for debate. Also up for debate is the alleged habit of major corporations of stripping files of such identifying information for reduced file size and/or convenience. If such procedures are or become commonplace then in effect all work online becomes fair game for exploitation, unless you take the time and money to officially register each individual piece as yours. Even then you may have to take a major corporation to court to prove your case, should you find your work exploited.

    Wikipedia definition of orphan work -

    I'm no political animal, nor legal expert, so that is a broad stroke description of my understanding of the implications of this act if allowed to become law - which it will if it is not opposed by those who it will affect. Freelancers like myself may be semi protected for work produced through subdivisions of these multinational corporations, but anything else I have out there will become fair game like for everyone else.

    The UK will be the first in the world to undermine the rights of the individual creator like this if it goes ahead. Be sure it won't be the last, unless we stop it.

    Read more detailed/informed analysis on the AOI site -
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  2. #2
    If you read the Wikipedia link, it appears that the US has been/or has already done something to this effect. It's not across all states, but similar things have been passed in some states. Still no solid thing set in stone for the US as a whole... after about 7 years.

    I personally have a bit of a conflicted view on this as historical works that are orphaned could be very useful in the study of genealogy, the sciences, literature and history, but yet, no one wants to get their work stolen or get accused of stealing. It seems no matter what we do, there will always be a chance of losing a work to a thief. It's just a matter of how strongly we feel about how the work is exploited. Well, that and how much money we can afford to put into protecting or retrieving said lost works.

    Surely an interesting read and worthy of keeping an eye on. Thanks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    The Berne Convention i right

    Some countries and corporations love to break moral and ethical rules, and so do individuals. The Berne Convention is therefore important. Very important, I think. I dont like companies trying to patent things like yoga, turmeric or seeds. Everybody think that is wrong. But not these companies. I dont like artists stealing or copying other artists works of art. I dont like the "sharing" of software. So I dont like Pirate Bay. And so on. Every attempt to undermine the Berne Convention is a wrong way to go...So where is Britain goin? Wrong way? Probably...
    My Art Blog : Pennstreck
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    It makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Nickillus View Post
    Royal assent was granted at the end of April 2013 to the wide ranging Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, rushed through with very little publicity.
    Oh! You have one of those too. Increasingly governments are giving in to pressure from the corporations.

    Good on ya for posting this Nick. The hope for the world rests in the hands of people of no account - like us!

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