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Changes to copyright on orphan works are yet another reason to oppose the Digital Economy Bill.


British photographers and photo-journalists are fighting a change in the law on orphan works which they say will be detrimental to their business. The change is in the notoriously mis-named Digital Economy Bill, clause 43. It adds yet another reason why this Bill should be opposed, and should be blocked in the House of Commons on Tuesday. 


According to Copyright Action , Clause 43 in the Digial Economy Bill was intended to help libraries and museums out of a legal difficulty on orphan works. These are

works where the rights-holder cannot be identified. But the Clause as drafted will benefit the large publishing corporations at the expense of the creators of images (oh - and it will benefit the BBC). Copyright Action alleges that these organisations have lobbied for, and got, the text they wanted, and it will  tighten the publishers control over the market for commercial photography.


Copyright Action further comments that the Digital Economy Bill is a stalking horse for commercial content interests  - and yesterday, those interests which include the British Film Institute and the Publishers' Association, wrote to Ministers pleading for Clause 43 to stay in the Bill.

Details of all the problems raised by Clause 43 of the Digital Economy bill are outlined in a campaigning website owned by a coalition of photography and journalism organisations:


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010) Orphan works clause benefits only the big corporations 2 April  2010 


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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