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Eight Questions BAPLA Must Answer

12 April 2010 - EPUK

When BAPLA wrote to the Government regarding the controversial Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill the association claimed to be speaking on behalf of a united photographic industry. It wasn’t. BAPLA ignored thousands of photographers lobbying to stop the clause. In an open letter to BAPLA, EPUK asks “Why?”


  1. BAPLA’s stated position of no orphan usage rights without a duty of care toward attribution and metadata was incompatible with Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill. Why did BAPLA not support the campaign to remove Clause 43?

  2. In January BAPLA said “The British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA) is urgently calling for proposed clause 116B in the Digital Economy Bill, which could mean photographers and image rights holders losing the right to have a say in how their work is used, by whom and at what price, to be scrapped.”

    Why did BAPLA not say the same in April?

  3. Why, during a meeting with a Conservative shadow minister, when everyone else raised their hand against Clause 43 did BAPLA’s hand stay down?

  4. Is it true that BAPLA was considering setting itself up as an Extended Collective Licensing entity, had Clause 43 passed?

  5. If Extended Collective Licensing was a commercial aim of BAPLA, why was this interest not disclosed to all representative organisations that were asked to sign the BAPLA letter?

  6. Extended Collective Licensing as proposed in Clause 43 had the capacity to become a default licensing mechanism that would have undermined photo agency markets, prices and individual photographers. On what basis did BAPLA consider this to be acceptable?

  7. When Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms cited the BAPLA letter as evidence of UK photo industry support for Clause 43, was that an intended outcome, or an unintended consequence?

  8. Why does BAPLA persist in claiming authority to speak for “the photography industry” when it is now clear that tens of thousands of photographers who acted directly to stop Clause 43 do not accept its leadership?

Yours sincerely,

The EPUK moderators

Want to contact the EPUK Website editor? editor@epuk.org


Excellent questions all.

On Question 8, has BAPLA ever had any sort of mandate to speak for “the photography industry”? Has BAPLA ever had any credibility as an advocate for photographers?

Comment 1: Jon Sparks, 13 April 2010, 04:49 pm

BAPLA has also let down further thousands of photographers outside the UK as well as the resident ones.

You can add to the outraged those of us who supply libraries with their work from abroad.

We can expect BAPLA to endeavour to protect the images in UK libraries; not to work out how best to license our stolen pictures for micro sums.

Heads must roll.

Comment 2: Michael Howard, 13 April 2010, 05:30 pm

I was going to sign up to BAPLA after the summer, however I simply do not like what they have stood for.

BAPLA no longer seem to adequately promote the work of agencies in this ever changing business – no more handbooks, just a website and an exhibition.

I feel that I can quite confidently suggest that BAPLA were looking for an alternative income to support their presence in this industry by being a gatekeeper.

Are the foreign agencies under the BAPLA umbrella aware of their actions? Equally, are its own members aware of their stance on this crazy legislation?

Comment 3: Matthew Ashton, 13 April 2010, 05:48 pm

It seems to me that BAPLA represents picture libraries and agencies, NOT photographers. How can BAPLA claim to speak for togs? Surely the AoP, BFP, SWPP, RPS etc, etc, speak for togs not BAPLA which is a picture agency association.

BAPLA's interests are very different to photographers' interests.

Comment 4: Chris Hills, 13 April 2010, 08:32 pm

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