The Orphan Works Bill

Monday, November 24, 2008 0 Comments A+ a-

I saw this over at my pub's myspace blog page and thought I'd pass this on.

Important to all authors, editors, publishers, and artists in general. If this law passes, it will effectively destroy the self copyright in the US and make it difficult to collect any damages should someone infringe on yours. I don't know who wrote this bill, but they should be slapped upside the head, and then have their possessions stolen. Should they take the robber to court, the robber should only have to prove that they weren't aware the possessions belonged to the bill writer, and that the robber tried in a reasonable manner to find out who these possessions belonged to. (Yes, this bill is that bad.) If you read the bill, you'll never want to see the word "reasonable" again.
You can read the bill here: http://www. publicknowledge. org/pdf/ow-act-2006. pdf .

One opposition group, the Orphaned Works Opposition Headquarters -- http://www. owoh. org/, has furnished some great information on this bill and how we can fight it. Fight it we must.

Please do your part. Write your senator/house representative and tell them you don't want this bill to dictate whether you have a chance at making a living as a writer, a painter, an illustrator, a musician/composer, a photographer, or any other artistic endeavor or not. Do it now.


Basically everyone who has registered their work will be stripped of copyright for use by anyone who has done a "reasonably diligent search" for the owner of said work (which could mean one lame Google search and then they give up). Right now it is automatic that you are owner of what you create and that will be stripped as well with the Orphan Bill. I checked the Orphaned Works Opposition Headquarters (the Q&A is a goldmine of info explaining how heinous this is for all artists) and this basically narrows it down.

A: Corporate image banks will be able to harvest these newly-created "orphans," alter them slightly to make them "derivative works," then register them as their own "creative" works. Freelancers could then be forced to compete against their own lost art - and that of their colleagues - for the new commissions they need to make a living. And ordinary citizens may find their personal photos used for any purpose, without their knowledge or consent.
The minute the bill is passed, all the copyrighted works, illustrations, images, etc. are a free for all. Think about all the time you've labored over a certain work and then imagine losing all copyright and control over it for others to do with as they please (as well as take it as their own). That's a scary thing for artists.

OWOH offers a page for what you can do to get involved as well as a link to their online petition to oppose this law.

Please feel free to spread this message to your blogs and emails to others.

Help spread the word!