Friday, May 23, 2008Home

Contact your representatives: Orphan Works Bill

New copyright bills that are now before the House and Senate should be a great matter of concern to photographers. The subject of the bills are Orphan Works, images that appear in any context (usually online) without an attached artist's credit. An image is passed from the artist who has the wisdom to display his captions and have image security built into his website. He then gives the image to museums and charitable foundations, whose websites are updated often, yet may have more lax standards. Now an orphan, its artist having gone unidentified, the image goes on to other websites, art blogs, even other people's flickr accounts. Just by being on the world wide web, images will be made more vulnerable to copyright infringement by these bills.

At Take Action: Don't Let Congress Orphan Your Work, made possible by a long list of contributors, there are pre-written letters for those who don't have the time to get on the phone with a representative or senator's office:

"What if 10 people can find me but one can’t? Why should that one person get a free pass to use my work? Won’t that give infringers an incentive not to find me? And why should I be obligated to go into court to prove anything about the diligence of the searcher or the value of my work? What if the same work is found an orphan in one legal proceeding and not in another?

"I believe my work benefits the public by being published through the channels where I wish to publish it. The current copyright law works by giving me the incentive to keep doing this. Please protect this basic property right."

The rest can be found here, along with more information about contacting your representatives in the House and Senate. Please act as soon as possible!

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