AOP Opposes Several Proposed Copyright Exceptions

Posted on 4/10/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

U.K. government continues collecting and examining evidence from organizations and individuals that would be affected by the forthcoming changes to copyright law, as proposed by the Gowers Review. The London-based Association of Photographers, a 40-year-old membership body that represents pro shooters working in various fields, submitted its response on Wednesday.

This response echoes many of the objections recently voiced by the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies. Both BAPLA and AOP oppose the proposed format-shifting exception, which would allow private individuals to digitize hard-copy works for personal use. The AOP believes that such an exception would be impossible to monitor or enforce, stating that "the Internet... is already awash with images stolen from Web sites or scanned and distributed without permission and is totally unpoliceable."

The organization says that the exception would erode earnings of its members, who average £250 for portrait and £1,000 for wedding reprints per commission. Photographers who license their work for use as stock on mobile phones and screensavers, as well as those who sell fine-art prints, would see dwindling revenues due to private format-shifting. While present statutory exemptions may be insufficient, the AOP feels that a format-shifting exception will cause even more confusion and require a significant investment to educate. "We believe that education of users as to what is legal, rather than acknowledging illegal use and legislating to make it legal, should be the way forward," reads the AOP response.

In addition, the AOP opposes the proposed caricature, parody or pastiche exception recommended by the Gowers Review. Introducing such an exception can reduce transaction costs across Europe and create value, according to the review.

The AOP contends that parody is already recognized and provided for by U.K. courts, which allow it "so long as [it] only ‘conjure[s] up the idea of' the original, without reproducing any substantial part." The review's definition of "pastiche" would allow for substantial copying, which the AOP says would be detrimental to visual creators, many of whom are solo practitioners who lack the means to file lawsuits. Related problematic issues pointed out in the AOP response include the lack of a broadly accepted definition of "pastiche" and the lack of a close relationship between the humor of caricature or parody and pastiche, which does not have a comedic element.

Gwen Thomas, the author of the AOP response and the organization's executive director of business and legal affairs, makes several distinctions between photography and other disciplines that would be impacted by the proposed revisions.

In response to the Gowers recommendation of allowing a partial copy of a work for the purposes of Web-based distance learning, Thomas points out the difference in the scope of moving and still imagery. While it is possible to clip just a portion of a film for educational purposes, visual works would be copied in their entirety and subsequently placed on the Internet. Even though the intent of such copying would fall under the distance-learning exception, it would still open the original rights-holder to infringement by third parties.

Similarly, the Gowers Review relies on the existing "fair dealing" exception, the U.K. equivalent of "fair use," for use of works for criticism, review and news reporting. However, it does not note that the law specifically exempts news photos, thus allowing photojournalists to earn a living. With a view to the future, "this right must not be removed, if a large number of photographers are to be allowed to [continue benefiting] financially from their images," concludes Thomas.

The full text of the AOP response is available on its Web site.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff