The Fat Lady has sung…

YES to victory over DEB

Professional and amateur photographers can celebrate this morning!

And what a sweet song of victory it was. Thanks to Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK), stop43 and thousands of individual photographers, clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill was dropped (proof here if you scroll down to Enforcement Obligations) last night, and the bill was passed without it.

I wish I could add my thanks for the support of organisations like the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA) and the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), but instead they chose to opt for having their tummies tickled by Government perhaps (though presumably not in the case of the RPS) with a view to becoming licensors of orphan works themselves once the bill was passed. Instead they’ve left themselves damaged for having tried to sell copyright for a fistful of beans.

But let’s not be too proud in victory. All these organisations took views which they thought were correct. They operate in an unfamiliar environment now, and we will need to work with them over future legislation which will surely be tabled by the next Government. Copyright laws do need reform, photographers want it, and individuals and “representative” organisations will need to work alongside each other to achieve a fair balance between creator and consumer. All we ask is that our work, and the work of countless creative amateurs, isn’t stolen from us and sold to all takers, and that we have a statutory right to be identified as the authors of our work. There are other issues which need to be sorted out, but all in good time.

Perhaps the next important battle is the proposed changes to the Data Protection Act, which will see much photojournalism and street photography outlawed or rendered impossible. One thing at a time, though eh?

You may also like


  • SiBarber April 8, 2010  

    Demonstrates what can be achieved when people work together.

    • Glass Eye April 8, 2010  

      And we didn’t even have to raise £20,000 or whatever for ads in the national press 🙂

  • David Robertson April 8, 2010  

    I never really thought it was possible to influence the Government and I still cannot really believe we won the day. Other groups could learn a lot from the stop43 campaign.

    My thanks to everyone who got involved. I feel proud to have played a part, a very small part but I can say, “I was there”.

    • Glass Eye April 8, 2010  

      Any part you played, no matter how small, was invaluable. If we’d left it up to the big boys and the organisations which pretend to represent photographers, we would have suffered a crushing defeat, and our right to control our own work would have been snatched away from us.

      Thank you.

  • Ken of London April 13, 2010  

    Tim I tried to send you this as a follow up, its the sort of thing that can happen even when there is copyright in law.