Your copyright just got OWNED – by act of Parliament no less…

Your photos, images and diagrams can soon be someone else’s .

At least that is what this article in the register says –

It looks like all artists, consultants, photographers and just about anyone who makes, commissions or produces some form of image may need to start registering them OR(AND?) making it so easy to identify their owner that a reasonable search (Official term – “diligent search”) would show that you own it. Otherwise your work is considered an “orphan” with less rights than Oliver Twist.

All courtesy of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.

Here’s how I see my options and I will be encouraging all my friends and customers to examine each of these.

Don’t follow this verbatim – they are simply suggestions that you might like to investigate.

Consider signing the petition


Ok so a watermark degrades the image and can be removed by a crook but in this case the perceived risk is that a corporate will find your work on the net and after a “diligent search” involving a shout out around the office water cooler legitimately start to use your work, sans recompense. A watermark to your website can remove this defence.

Trade marking You can’t trademark all your work but you can create a trademark for a product and then use that within your work to identify you. This isn’t a proven strategy and you should get legal counsel before depending on this but it does seem to be a good idea.

The UK IPO offer a “right start” service to register a trademark:


This is about hiding text in your picture. It can’t stop someone from copying your work but it can allow you to identify which version has been used, and prove that it is your work after the fact – providing that is that the picture hasn’t been manipulated electronically.

Wikipedia has a good set of links to steganography tools

Metadata – using it and checking it!

Using metadata to identify my work but you can’t rely on it.

Most image types allow metadata to specify owner and much more. Check the social media you are using to see if the metadata survives upload – if not start a campaign to ensure it becomes a requirement. It isn’t technically difficult and there really isn’t a good reason for them to do so.

Sign the work.

It’s actually quite trivial to merge two images to superimpose one over the other. You can use this to put a visible signature on a photo.

Register the work

I like this option the least as I know that this is going to end up costing me money to protect something that previously was a human right.

Sometimes the pill is bitter but the disease is worse.

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