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Will Britain's 'Instagram Act' Let Companies Use Your Photos?

Will Britain's 'Instagram Act' Let Companies Use Your Photos?
Photograph by Bambu Productions

Britain has passed the boringly titled Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act. Among other things, the law authorizes the government to update the nation’s copyright law—a dull, bureaucratic move last week that wouldn’t have garnered much attention save for one thing: It may change the way photos are used on the Internet.

Here’s the problem Britain is trying to solve: Let’s say you’re a university or a library and you’re assembling an exhibit on, oh, it could be anything—London during World War II, the Beatles’ first visit to America, Queen Elizabeth’s ridiculously comprehensive collection of hats—and you’ve found several photos that you’d like to include. But you don’t know who took them or where they are from.