Government say all your internet photos belong to everyone now
All your photos of Facebook, Instagram and Flickr may feel like they belong to you, but they don't. This isn't the tale of nefarious smallprint from tech companies, saying they can sell your snaps, but rather, something our stupid government has passed.
Basically, they have now said that the images belong to everyone, so if you're a professional or budding illustrator or photographer, a reform in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act basically pits you against anyone who wants them. In short, if there's a spat over the use of an image, the one with the most money wins.
This Act changes UK copyright law, which means that commercial exploitation of images where information identifying the owner is 'missing' is now shunted toward an "extended collective licensing" scheme. Seeing as most big corps strip the info from photos, that means millions of your photographs are now fair game for whoever wants them.
"People can now use stuff without your permission," says photo rights campaigner Paul Ellis. "To stop that you have to register your work in a registry - but registering stuff is an activity that costs you time and money. So what was your property by default will only remain yours if you take active steps, and absorb the costs, if it is formally registered to you as the owner."
"There's value in works, and if anybody can exploit them except the person who creates them, then value is transferred to the exploiter," explains Ellis. "This is a massive value transfer out of the UK economy to US tech companies."