Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why I'm feeling Icky...

Last night, while the nation was distracted by the bailout plan, the Senate passed the Orphan Works Bill. I've been working at opposing this bill for six months now. It is oh so obvious that congress is trying to slip it in under the radar. This act will affect all artists, writers, choreographers, photographers etc. it is important that we act now to stop it becoming law. Over 70 creators organizations are opposed to this bill and working hard to stop its passage.
Please write your congress rep by clicking below. You'll find a simple form letter that will seriously only take two minutes to complete.
Please help!

If you'd like to read more about it:
For more info:

This is overview of how this bill will affect the art world: excerpts from:

**The Orphan Works Act defines an "orphan work" as any copyrighted
work whose author any infringer says he is unable to locate with what the infringer himself decides has been a "reasonably diligent search."In a radical departure from existing copyright law and business practice, the U.S. Copyright Office has proposed that Congress grant such infringers freedom to ignore the rights of the author and use thework for any purpose, including commercial usage. In the case of visual art, the word "author" means "artist."

** This proposal goes far beyond current concepts of fair use.
As acknowledged by the Register of Copyrights it is not designed to deal with the special situations of non profit museums, libraries and archives. It is written so broadly that it will expose new works to infringement, even where the author is alive, in business, and licensing the work.

** The bill would substantially limit the copyright holder's ability to recover financially or protect the work, even if the work was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to infringement.

**The bill has a disproportionate impact on visual artists because it
is common for an artist's work to be published without credit lines or because credit lines can be removed by others for feckless or unscrupulous reasons. This is especially true of art published in the Internet Age.Coerced Registration

**The Orphan Works Act would force artists to risk their lives' work to subsidize the start-up ventures of private, profit making registries, using untested image recognition technology and untried business models. These models would inevitably favor the aggregation of images into corporate databases over the licensing of copyrights by the lone artists who create the art.

**The most common scenario of orphaning in visual art is the unmarked image. There is only one way to identify the artist belonging to an unmarked image. That would be to match the art against an image-recognition database where the art resides with intact authorship information.

**These databases would become one-stop shopping centers for infringers to search for royalty-free art. Any images not found in the registries could be considered orphans.

**There is no limit to the number of these registries nor the prices they would charge artists for the coerced registration of their work.

**The artist would bear the financial burden of paying for digitizing and depositing the digitized copy with the commercial registries.

**Almost all visual artists such as painters, illustrators and photographers are self employed. The number of works created by the average visual artist far exceeds the volume of the most prolific creators of literary, musical and cinematographic works. The cost and time-consumption to individual artists of registering tens of thousands of visual works, at even a low fee, would be prohibitive;therefore countless working artists would find countless existing works orphaned from the moment they create them.

**The Copyright Office has stated explicitly that failure of the artist to meet this nightmarish bureaucratic burden would result in his work automatically becoming an "orphan" and subject to legal infringement.

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