Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Photography and the Law

I'm a great Flickr fan.
Having not quite reached the stage where I have to be treated for compulsive uploading syndrome to that site, I have plenty of time to read about the IP rights surrounding free sharing of images on the Internet.

Boards.ie is discussing the extraordinary furore that erupted when the National Trust decided to make it a breach of contract if one were to upload photos taken on NT property, even for free viewing and sharing, to any site other than their own. The fact that the contract on their site amounts to grabbing all rights to the photographers' works is not now part of my mental consideration of this horrifying news. I have, in the past, uploaded photos to Flickr that were taken on NT land. I thought that I was sharing happy moments enjoyed in well tended surroundings. Somehow gardeners in the NT seem to have some magic formula when it comes to growing trees. Photos I took during visits to gardens in Yorkshire have an almost other-worldly shine. If you want to see any more of them, I'm afraid you may be out of luck.

Verboten!

I would write more about this, but really life is far too short.
As I type this, changes, which may allow free sharing on Flickr are afoot.
But since it's all so vague, and the since punishments threatened by the NT to be meted out to anybody who incurs their wrath remind me of the sad case of the Princes in the Tower and the ghastly horrors of my childhood readings of Dickens, I have no intention of testing the waters and continuing to share photos taken in Fountains Abbey. In fact, I may never go there again.

Frankly, there are many trees in Ireland that may be photographed and shared online with no danger whatsoever to life and limb...

2 comments:

DaviMack said...

It's an interesting assertion: that your creative work could become their property. I, like you, will not visit them, ever.

Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

An update:

The outcry was so alarming, Flickr sharing, without commercial overtones, seems to be O.K.

If you ever get a chance to see Fountains Abbey (Studley Royal)in Yorkshire, it is very interesting. The stupidity of Henry VIII in reducing such an astonishing construction to a ruin is still breath taking.