29 December 2006

Against Anti-Anti-Copyright

There's an interesting piece in the Reg by the photojournalist Sion Touhig, entitled "How the anti-copyright lobby makes big business richer." It's well worth reading, even though I think its attacks on the "anti-copyright lobby" are misguided.

The main problem according to the article seems to be big business taking copyrighted material from the Web, or employing user-generated material without paying for it. Addressing both of these seems a better solution than simply hankering for a past that will never return now that the Web 2.0 genie is out of the bottle.

If photographers can't afford to sue - another problem that needs to be sorted - they can at least name and shame: a central Web site for the purpose would do very nicely. And as for the exploitation of user-generated content, the solution here is education. If people were more aware of the cc licences, and used them, then the situation would be more regulated, if not controlled.

At the end of the day, though, photo-journalists will need to adapt, and find new ways of generating money from their work - maybe quite radical ones - just as we writers have had to adapt over the last decade. Perhaps that's regrettable, but it's also the way things are.

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