Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
Copyright is invested in the creator of the work, for the life of the work and 50 years after. Clauses, statements and warnings of the type that Instagram publish are just nonsense (you will also come across these statements in photographic competitions) and any court of law will prove that.
As someone else said, most of these clauses don't claim to transfer copyright, they just grant rather sweeping usage rights to the site. (But copyrights can be transferred, and are transferred all the time, by contractual arrangement; I don't think there's any sweeping generalization in law that would prevent the creator from signing away their copyright.) Anyway it's orthogonal to the proposal in the UK.

As far as I understand, the stated intent of that proposal is to make "orphan works" less of a problem: If the copyright holder can't be identified, then arguably it should be possible to make use of the work, rather than just have it go into a kind of suspended animation where no one has the right to do anything with it ever.

When you put it that way, it's reasonable enough, but the fear is that LOTS of images on the web would easily fall into the category of "orphan", and it becomes hard to see how one could prevent people from grabbing any image they wanted, stripping the EXIF fields and any other metadata, and claiming that they found it somewhere and couldn't identify a copyright holder. There's supposed to be a duty of due diligence, but that's the kind of thing that's intrinsically hard to prove, and in practice it could end up meaning that anyone who can't afford a lot of legal fees can't really enforce their copyright.

I don't know how serious a concern this would really be, particularly in light of the complicated relationship between copyright laws in different countries.

-NT