[Updated] Digital Economy Bill passes without orphan works clause

[Update starts] I have added the link to the Bapla press release that is quoted in the post. The BAPLA statement is getting a lot of responses, in particular from the http://www.stop43.org.uk/ campaign. Please check out the comments below the post. From the comments:

  1. “BAPLA tried to sell out those opposed to clause 43 for its own gain…”
  2. “…..BAPLA have in fact lobbied FOR Clause 43 all along, and striven to conceal this lobbying from photographer and their representative organisations.”….
  3. “BAPLA are trying hard to put a positive ’spin’ on what happened”
  4. “Clasue 43 was accepted by BAPLA…”
  5. “BAPLA did their best to keep clause 43 in”

I have asked BAPLA for a reaction [Update ends]

 The UK parliament has passed the controversial digital economy bill. It has left out Clause 43,  that dealt with the treatment of ‘Orphan works’ The British Association of Picture Libraries (BAPLA) reports how it worked with the government to explain the problems with the bill and what it has done [Updated] “to assure guarantees of a full and fair consultation on our copyright from all parties, whether C43 was passed or not..”

“Since the first draft was published last year, we’ve spent weeks debating with the Intellectual Property Office, the Lords and the politicians leading the Digital Economy Bill for Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. And that continued after the second hearing was underway. On Tuesday night, reacting to a proposed amendment that would pass the clause if images taken after 1950 were excluded, we contacted all leading MPs to point out flaws in such a solution, and expressing BAPLA’s view that irrespective of date threshold, it would not be possible to manage OW if guarantees of provisions which have been lobbied extensively by the UK creative industries were not guaranteed.”[

[Update edited] While other , very controversial matters have been passed, this one has been cut out. BAPLA says more collaboration is now necessary to ensure the debate continues.

 [Update] Here is Jeremy Nichols acount of events leading up to clause43 being taking out.

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses

15 thoughts on “[Updated] Digital Economy Bill passes without orphan works clause

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Excuse me? BAPLA did what?

    Clasue 43 was accepted by BAPLA and it was only dropped after intense lobbying by actual photographers under the Stop 43 banner http://www.stop43.org.uk/

    Jeremy Nicholl ggioves a very good description of what went on here:


    If photographers had not worked to defeat the orphan works element of the Digital Economy Bill, we would be listening now to BAPLA telling us how hard they had worked on our behalf and how we now would have to make the best of it.

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Suggest you get your facts right .. BAPLA DID NOT have anything to do with getting Clause 43 dropped.. suggest you do some research ..

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

    @Steward, Pete, Jeremy. Thank you for your clarification

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I’m afraid this is totally misleading as BAPLA had nothing at all to do with stopping C43, in fact they tried to do the exact opposite and luckily failed thanks to the overwhelming strength and support of the Stop 43 campaign and EPUK.
    I suggest you read http://www.stop43.org.uk/ to find out exactly what happened and who was really behind it.
    BAPLA are trying hard to put a positive ‘spin’ on what happened as most creators have little or no confidence in them. Many members have left BAPLA as a result.

  • April 12, 2010 at 10:58 am

    This story is a complete fabrication, as conclusively proven here:

    Probably on behalf of their Big Culture members, clearly visible on BAPLA’s members’ list, BAPLA have in fact lobbied FOR Clause 43 all along, and striven to conceal this lobbying from photographer and their representative organisations.

    Stop43 suggests that Fast Media caries out diligent research to establish the truth of this statement, and then withdraws the above story and prints a retraction.

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Dear Editor,
    In acknowledgement of the comments thus far, would it perhaps be prudent to publish a follow-up article? It is always the case that controversial issues attract differing views from different viewpoints, but this debate, fortunately, has been recorded in Hansard, so the veracity of BAPLA’s claims can readily be confirmed or denied.

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:14 am

    @Andy, yes, I’d be happy to. I have also asked BAPLA for a reaction. For now it seems best to get the comments in, see if there is a response and then do a follow up article

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Earth to planet FastMedia – hello?

    You write “The British Association of Picture Libraries (BAPLA) reports how it worked with the government to explain the problems with the bill and what it has done to keep clause 43 out.”

    The site of the government minister Timms waving BAPLA’s “we can work with this” surrender letter betraying the many groups they had been pretending to work with puts the lie to this rewrite of history.

    BAPLA tried to sell out those opposed to clause 43 for its own gain and has a lot of reparation work to do if it expects to regain any credibility

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Quick message for those commenting.

    All comments go in a cue, where they need to be manually approved. This means there may be a delay between your submission and seeing the post up on the site. There is no need to repost.

    I will publish an update to the article to recognise the comments and feedback

  • April 12, 2010 at 11:55 am


    Funny old word?

    Once a staple of reporter’s around the globe, a requirement before ink got anywhere near paper.

    Now, I can understand the idea of ‘knocking up’ a short article on a semi-hot topic for page ranking and popularity etc…

    But to completely throw away ‘Accuracy’ – the reporter’s best friend is, to be blunt (pun intended), ridiculous.

    Even the most minimal of research on the story such as an obvious – “Google: clause 43” brings up Stop43.org.uk as rank 1.

    Spending 10 minutes on that website would educate the reader in all they need to know about this (thankfully) now deceased clause.

    I understand every story has points of view, but to take just one quote and mash into an article that speaks nothing of the truth is simply lazy.

    Please, if only for the respect from your readers, integrity for your work and pride in your job publish work that is above all, accurate.

    Kind regards,

    Matt Kirwan

  • April 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    BAPLA is busy spinning this affair out of all recognition. The facts (ably summarised on Jeremy Nicholl’s blog) clearly show that they did their best to sabotage the campaign against Clause 43. On the last day of debate in the commons a Govt minister was quoting the BAPLA letter in support of C43.

    With such an Orwellian approach to the truth, it’s hard to see how BAPLA can retain any credibility with either side.

  • April 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I know Fast Media have a bias towards agencies over the individual photographer, but BAPLA’s highly elastic approach to the truth of the DEB result does nothing to enhance Fast’s journalistic credentials. A little more checking of the facts before hitting the publish button might be advisable in future.

  • April 13, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Here’s a quick update: I have spoken to Paul Ellis today and we have spent a considerable amount of time on the subject, thanks Paul. He clarified that the alledged shift in position of the BAPLA surface in Jeremy Nichol’s blog mid-last week. As I mentioned I have asked BAPLA for a response.

    Here are a few individual responses

    @Tim. The bias towards agencies is new to me. Feel free to give me a call or send me a message to clarify your statement. I’d be happy to take the feedback as I have not heard this before. I do recall a debate about the site being microstock-biased, which was quickly agreed to be unfounded with those arguing that point. I guess these things will always pop-up.

    I’m not sure how BAPLA’s ‘highly elastic…etc does nothing for Fast Media’s credibility’ makes sense. BAPLA is not Fast Media, we report their statement. You could argue that a investigative journalism piece should have been written, but I’m not sure that’s what you mean.

    Please note that this is primarily a news-site, not a blog. My opinion is secondary to sharing news as it comes in. What people do with the news is up to them. Generally the intention is to help people look outward and prepare for new developments and opportunities. I am comfortable with the fact that news sparks discussions, that in turn lead to developing stories that show different sides of the argument over time.

    @Tim @Matt @Stewart @David. Regarding fact-checking. Fact is that BAPLA published this statement, I’m happy it’s leading to a debate about this hot-issue

    @Jeremy, Wilst I appreciate your opinion and have read your views on bapla on your personal website I would have approached the comment in less ‘rough’ terminology. I don’t think it is a great opener for a respectful conversation. Having said that, I’d be happy to get in touch with you if you think that would be constructive

    @Matt, Not sure where your comments on page ranking come from as I don’t recall meeting nor explaining you my personal motivation for running this website. Presumptions are always a difficult startingpoint so let me clarify that a very small percentage of traffic to this site comes via ranking, SEO, etc and I only do the basics. In fact, most readership comes from a community of visitors that I have worked with for the last 15 years in the stock photography industry.


    I appreciate the frustrations around this important issue, I do think the post accurately reflects the BAPLA position. I have engaged with Paul Ellis and will continue to follow the matter as I have done before this post. Expect short newsposts rather than opinion pieces and feel free to continue to comment and engage as that will continue to improve the accuracy of this developing story.

    I am also happy to engage with any of the commentators over the phone, email and here, in particular with those having questions or concerns over methodology and integrity.

    Marco Oonk


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