Photographers’ concerns over the implications of the Digital Economy Bill may not be debated in the House of Commons as MPs tonight focus on other areas of the proposed legislation.

As MPs debate the remaining stages of the bill, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport, Don Foster, voiced concerns that the time spent debating other areas of the bill would leave no time to discuss photographers’ legitimate concerns about ‘orphan works’.

As we reported last year, professional photographers are concerned that the Digital Economy Bill will give members of the public the right to use images for free and without permission.

The bill, which is expected to become law before the General Election, would make changes to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The controversy centres on ‘orphan works’, a term that refers to copyrighted materials whose owner cannot be identified or traced.

Photographers fear that the Digital Economy Bill would make it much simpler for images to be used, legally, without the consent of the copyright owner.

At the time of writing, controversial Clause 43, which covers orphan works, appeared to have been voted through.

NEWS UPDATE: Controversial Clause 43 dropped from Digital Economy Bill