How to avoid falling foul of the ‘Instagram Act’.
There’s a lot of panic posts about the ‘Instagram Act’ appearing today – The Register’s ‘All your pics belong to everyone now‘ headline being the most illustrative of the kneejerk reaction.
The stories are a response to the UK government passing an amendment to the Copyright Act which essentially states that ‘orphan works’ – works not associated with an owner – can be reproduced, or indeed used commercially – on condition that the person or company wishing to reproduce them has made a diligent effort to find the owner.
Your best defence against your images being used without your permission is what you should be doing to protect your image anyway – put your name on it, and if you upload it to a sharing service such as Flickr, Instagram, Facebook or Google Plus, make sure that the metadata and description includes your name and your statement of ownership.
Google image search includes the option of dragging and dropping an image into the search bar – this action is the absolute minimum a company attempting to establish the ownership of an image can do – if you want protect your image, make it easy for them to find you. That way if you find an entity using your image without permission, you can prove that the very minimum of effort will establish you as the owner. Which, again, you should be doing anyway. . .
ADDENDUM – Alex Hern (@alexhern) has written a balanced piece on the subject over at the New Statesman.