Share

This is a bit off from my normal LinkedIn post, but I’ve got a need to call attention to legislation that will jeopardize small and independent artists – hence the desire to protect copyrights from the orphanage…

Both legislative branches are considering bills around “Orphan Works”, but with a slight twist of the words, nearly anyone’s work will fit that definition

Let me explain…

A true “orphaned work”

So let’s consider a bit of reality – it can be tough to track down a photographer from 50 years ago to get permission to scan and touch-up a family picture.

And that’s the “feel-good” portion of a bill like this – to help an individual when there might not be any other recourse.

So how does the bill define an orphaned work?

Very simply – the new proposed definition of an orphaned work is one that does not appear in a national registry of works.

Yes, you heard me – in order to “claim” ownership, an artist would be required to place their works within a newly created national registry. (oh – please excuse me – the bill specifically states “database”, and the databases are to be run by people outside of the government, so they are not “National Registries”…)

Nobody does this for free…

Of course the “independent” organizations running these registries will have to charge for the creation and maintenance of these records… Nominal fees I’m sure…

It’s just pictures and illustrations…

The current bill covers visual works of art, you know – things like photographs. There’s probably what – a billion of them taken every year?

Oh – you don’t need to protect your home photos – just don’t ever publish them in any form and you’ll be ok…

People making money off this…

The big database companies of course, but beyond that the change of direction is ominous.

Instead of saying “you can only use this if you get permission”, it becomes “prove that you registered it, and I might stop using it, but don’t expect me to be sorry about it or pay anything other than a nominal fee” – which is a complete reversal.

Don’t take my word for it – investigate

So sure – I’m a little hot about this topic, and perhaps you are starting to see why. I absolutely don’t want you to take my word for it – follow these links and do your own research:

Orphan Works – No Myth

Groups Opposing the Orphan Works Bills as Written

This blog is just a few steps away from that photograph…

And so is your blog, your professional copy, your small business logo and graphics…

steve