Our Orphan Culture

By SuperSpy 

As if it wasn’t hard enough for creatives in this industry, here comes the Orphan Works bill. The Orphan Works Bill proposes that any visual works that are not immediately identifiable to the author to be considered under the law as if they have no authors, and are not subject to protection from infringement in accordance with copyright laws. Right now, if you make something, it is automatically copyrighted. Now, you have to register the work and pay cash to own it. Get it? This includes you. The fifteen year old kid with hand drawn comics on his MySpace page and grandparents creating retirement center photography magazines, too.

The bill seeks to limit the potential liability of users of orphan works depending on whether they qualify as good faith users. The criteria for this would be a search through these new databased to find the potential copyright holder. Can’t find her/him or the image in question? It’s yours!

The associated bill has already passed through the House Subcommittee.

The Illustrators’ Partnership of America (creators of the video above), oppose the legislation, saying it shifts the onus from the user to the copyright holder. They also call BS on that whole search thing considering that artists may not be registered in specific Copyright Office–certified databases. The Advertising Photographers of America (APA) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and others are also calling “foul.” Meanwhile, The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) say that while they don’t like the bill, it’s best to just go with the flow, as other fights are coming up and energy, as well as political capital should be conserved.

Didn’t these guys ever hear that if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile? Damnnit. Where’s Ron “minuscule government” Paul when ya’ need ‘im? Find out what you can do about this bill HERE.

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