Monday, October 06, 2008
The Senate has passed the Orphan Works bill -- a bill that will make life more difficult for artists, designers, manufacturers, photographers, illustrators, writers, etc. to protect their original designs/works.
Creative News Online (http://www.clnews.com) reports the House of Representatives is in the midst of putting the Orphan Works bill on the "suspension calendar", which means the House version will come to a vote, according to designer Joanne Fink, one of the leaders of the Orphan Works opposition, which includes CHA, TNNA, and 75 organizations representing 500,000+ artists, photographers, musicians, and writers.
It takes only two minutes to send an e-mail to your Representative. Click here and do it now!
Click here to learn more about the Orphan Works bill: http://kizerandbender.blogspot.com/search?q=orphan+works+bill
The art work above is from artist Adam McDaniel's blog. Adam's post is very clear about what the Orphan Act bill really means:
New legislation is being developed that could have far-reaching effects for artists and illustrators over the authorship and royalties of their work. Even if you can't draw a straight line, anyone and everyone who respects creative copyright should have extreme cause for concern.
The essence of the proposed "orphan works" legislation is that any creative work you do -- be it for published commercial work or for your own private use (even a home video!) -- must be registered under a commercial registry in order to be protected by copyright law. In theory, this proposal would require an artist to digitize, register, and publish each and every work of art in order to have them copyright protected -- an extraordinarily difficult investment for anyone to make, in both time and money. Those works that are not registered would be considered "orphaned", and would be more easily susceptible to infringement.
The alleged motive behind this bill is to more easily allow for the commercial use of creative work by an artist or author who is hard to find or identify. But the scope of the bill is so great that it would affect everyone -- even those artists who are alive and well...and working!!!
So... who would actually benefit from this bill? It's surely not the artists, but all those profiting from the "registries" artists would be forced to go to -- and pay for! -- in order to protect their work. Under the conditions of the bill, any creative work not listed within such a registry could more easily be used without the artist's knowledge or consent. (In other words, stolen.) Worse still, this legislation would also make it considerably more difficult for artists to pursue legal action should their work be infringed.
From the Illustrators Partnership of America: "If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we've created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won't successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free. In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!"