— Update: read Kretschmer’s blog post here.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 received Royal Assent last week. One of its provisions deals with the issue of ‘orphan works’. “The problem of orphan works – works to which access is effectively barred because the copyright holder cannot be traced – represents the starkest failure of the copyright framework to adapt” (Hargreaves, 2011).
The legislation, dubbed by parts of the photography industry, as the “Instagram Act” or “Act_Landgrab” has been reported to potentially threaten social media users’ digital photograph ownership rights, leading to some protests.
In a blog post that will be published here shortly, CREATe Director Professor Martin Kretschmer explains the background to this issue and argues that the protests are based on a misunderstanding. Kretschmer describes how current protection against unauthorised use of stripped images (i.e. with no embedded metadata) is weak, and that the Orphans provisions in the ERRA2013 are likely to improve the situation.
See CREATe Working Paper No. 3, Archives and Copyright: Risk and Reform for a related argument where Deazley & Stobo (2013) consider the place of the archive sector within the copyright regime, and how copyright impacts upon the preservation, access to, and use of archival holdings.