Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Orphan Works Act of 2008 - License to Steal?

RE: ORPHAN WORKS ACT legislation pending

Please vote against this bill. It gives large corporation and printers the right to grab any image they find and use it without worrying about who the copyright holder is. I am an independent artist and like thousands and thousands of other artists and photographers, I produce 100s of original images each year. As it stands now these images are protected just by the very fact that I created them and they are mine. The copyright is in place – as it should be- from the moment I produce the painting or drawing.

All the artists I know are extremely upset- and so are many photographers. One put it best by saying this bill makes it legal to find a picture of a person (and it could be you or your mother!!) on line and place it on the cover of a Klu Klutz Clan brochure. How is "reasonable effort" to find the copyright holder defined? Printers can also just randomly lift your image from your website, erase the copyright notice with photo-editing software and put it on T-shirts, cups etc. It costs time and money to sue these printers and corporations. Even if small business owners like myself had the time and money to pursue the case, by then the damage is done. Our “original” images are mass-marketed and any profits we might have made from the sale of the rights are gone. This bill could be fixed very easily to protect "newer" work, work that has been created in the past 50 years. The way it is worded now is a license to steal. Call or write your congressmen immediately!

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