The photographers behind Copyright Action, the Association of Photographers and Pro-Imaging among others, have launched Stop43, a campaign designed to influence MPs into dropping Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill
The Digital Economy Bill, which has been debated in the House of Lords for the past five months, has now moved to the House of Commons where it had it first reading on 16 March. It is expected that the bill, with its controversial Clause 43, will form part of the government's wash-up.
During "wash-up". which happens when an election is called, bills that have enough cross-party support are passed without proper debate.
Stop43 calls on photographers to contact their MPs in a bid to prevent the bill from being passed without such debate. Under Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill, photographers could lose their right of control over the use of their images.
"Until now, if someone found one of your photographs and wanted to use it commercially, they couldn't without first asking you," says Stop43. "Clause 43 changes all that by allowing the use of 'Orphan Works' - photographs, illustrations and other artworks whose owners cannot be found. Clause 43 says that if someone finds your photograph, wants to use it and decides that they can't trace you, they can do whatever they like with it after paying an arbitrary fee to a UK Government-appointed 'licensing body'. You'll never know unless you happen to find it being used in this way, in which case you might be able to claim some money."
Stop43 is supported by Association of Photographers, British Institute of Professional Photography, the British Press Photographers' Association, Copyright Action, Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland, Photographers' Agents London and Pro-Imaging.
For more information and to participate in the campaign, visit stop43.org.uk.
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