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Six Techniques To Stop Your Digital Images Becoming Orphan Works

by Ralph Windsor on May 9, 2013

Last week, we reported that the UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act which contained a section permitting orphan works had been passed.  This follows earlier legislation by the EU allowing government agencies to do the same.  David Riecks has written an article: Six Ways to Keep your Digital Images from Becoming “Orphan Works”.  In summary they are:

  • Add metadata in the camera itself to the EXIF data as soon as the image is taken.
  • Add metadata post-capture using your exsiting workflow processes as soon as it is practcial.
  • Watermark images.
  • Do not upload images to social media sites that strip embedded metadata.
  • Join PLUS to register your images.
  • Register images with the US copyright office.

Simply put, if you are unable to identify the copyright holder of any photo, drawing, painting, music, film, etc. — after conducting a “diligent search”– then it may be considered an “Orphan Work.” This is a legitimate problem for many galleries, libraries, archives and museums that have acquired works over the years, as without knowing who created each, it’s not possible to know whether copyright is still in effect. For example, If they use a photo to make a postcard to sell in their giftshop, and it turns out that the photographer is still alive they may find themselves in court fending off a copyright infringement.” [Read More]

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