Copyrighting and Digital Images

In the UK, copyright is an automatic right afforded to creators of original work, giving these creators exclusive economic rights to control copying, adaptation, issuance of copies to the public, performance and broadcasting of the work that they create. In return for licensing their materials the creators are entitled to receive royalties.

Digital material can easily be reproduced, disseminated, manipulated, interacted as well as stored and compressed at practically no cost at all challenges the concepts of copyright. This results in the digital content being easy to find but any use of it is restricted within the context of the copyright legislation.

Copyright will still protect digital images by applying the same criteria in which copyright is applied to the analogue world, although it can often be less straightforward to apply the concepts at the middle of the copyright. Copyright is not the only rights issue that will affect digital images. Other right issues include moral rights, issues of privacy and of children and adults appearing in photographs, trademarks, design rights and obscenity and indecency.

New technology is progressing so quickly that the legislation is not able keep pace with the developments in this area.

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