The UK’s photographer community - from the professional, to the amateur, to those studying a photography course - are to be impacted by the new Digital Economy Bill photography law.
In a statement to the British Journal of Photography, the Design and Artists Copyright Society says that it welcomes the government’s Bill, adding, “in particular the provisions for the modernisation of the copyright system and access to orphan works.”
Copyright experts at national law firm Beachcroft, however, have warned picture libraries that the changes may bring along more controls over libraries. The firm stated, "the Digital Economy Bill will bring in unexpected registration requirements..." It continued, "picture libraries may need to register with the government, pay annual registration fees and be subject to codes of practice."
In order to escape such controls, it seems that libraries will need to be offering work by a single photographer, or be operating as an individual rather than a limited company.
In conclusion, Robin Fry, a partner at Beachcroft, said, “there will be consternation in Soho and confusion in Shoreditch. This Bill already needs a desperate overhaul.”
These warnings will of course be concerning to some, but it seems the unlocking of many orphan works has the potential to greatly benefit the photography world.