We all know that the Internet and digital media in general have changed photography beyond recognition over the last few years. Although it is possible to argue that taking good images is much easier than it used to be and the art has been deskilled in some ways, there are many benefits from the new technology.
Suddenly though, the ease of the digital system looks like it might be starting to bite us and we need to be careful.
In the UK the Government have been accused with some justification of rushing through the Digital Economy Bill. The most important part of this as far as photographers were concerned seemed to be Clause 43 that basically said the if someone wanted to use one of your images but couldn’t trace you as the rightful owner, they could pay a fee to the Government and go ahead. This has now been dropped and you can read more about it on the Stop43 web site www.stop43.org.uk
Don’t relax though. Talk Talk, one of the UK’s three biggest Internet Service Providers has said that it won’t co-operate with measures in the same bill to combat file sharing that include insisting the ISPs block the sites of customers suspected of copyright infringement.
The Royal Photographic Society has issued a guideline that recommends all members to ensure that proper attribution is given to their work in all situations. It goes on to list some concerns about the new rules. You can see the detail on www.rps.org and then by clicking on Copyright statement.
As if this isn’t enough for us simple souls to worry about, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and others have filed a class-action lawsuit to stop Google scanning 18 million books for an online database again they are worried about copyright infringement. You can read more about that on www.asmp.org
I am sure that we will be hearing much more about these and other related issues over the coming months and years and it is pretty clear that photographers everywhere need to keep their wits about them.