A “copyright land-grab” that will “permit the commercial exploitation of images” and lead to a “firestorm” of litigation. Those are the terms being us
If you (or a publisher) post your images online, this affects you, no matter what country you live in.
The UK has passed an act that will permit the commercial exploitation of “orphan images.”
“An orphan work is a copyrighted work whose owner cannot be contacted. In most of the world, acts such as the Copyright Act of 1976 paired with international agreements such as the Berne Convention, make copyright automatic. Thus, any use of orphan work that isn’t termed fair use is as much copyright infringement and subject to litigation as blatant theft; assuming a copyright holder comes forward.
The new act seeks to protect users of orphan works — allegedly Libraries and Archives that don’t want to face harsh fines for displaying works whose copyright is unknown — by lumping those works into “extended collective licensing” systems and preventing lawsuits against users if an owner comes forward.
***This means that any images of yours that are found online with their identifying info missing could be lumped under one of these licensing schemes and used, even commercially, without you being able to demand proper compensation once you discover the infringement. All the infringer has to do is prove they performed a “diligent search.***””