The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which contains clauses that permit the use of orphaned photographic works, has been passed by Government.
This could potentially be very bad news for photographers, as it means that if the owner of a work cannot be traced after a 'dilligent search', then the work can be used by virtually anyone.
What makes this worse for photographers is that there is nothing to stop large organisations claiming orphan photos and sub letting them on to others, meaning that they will be making money from photos, with the original photographer not gaining anything.
Many social network sites strip the metadata
from photos, meaning that as they get shared around, it can be increasingly difficult to prove who the real owner is.
The new laws are set to come into force in October 2013. The government says that this law, and many others in the ERRB, will help to boost the economy and support long term business growth in the UK.
For more information on the bill, take a look at the Government's Press Release