Peers will debate the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-2013 which contains controversial proposals that many photographers fear will threaten copyright holders.

Among the concerns are rights over ‘orphan’ works, where a copyright owner cannot be identified or traced.

They assert that most of these orphan photos in the UK will be works created and owned by foreign parties, but that any identifying metadata is often routinely removed before images are published.

In a letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable, backed by the Association of Photographers, they state:
‘Despite advances in technology, there is no viable means by which any person or business can reliably and consistently ensure and endorse that photographs or illustrations of unknown origin are UK works, eligible for unlicensed or collectively licensed usage in the UK under the Bill.’

Photographers assert that, if enacted, the Bill will permit foreign works to be used without their permission and compensation for the rights holder.

Photographers in the US have also written to Vince Cable, backing the European stance.

AP will be watching developments and plans to publish more on this subject in due course.