I don’t have a full grasp of the Orphan Works Bill. I have received enough email about it from various organizations that I belong to and feel it’s time to take action. I’ve sat on the sidelines long enough. The down and dirt for all artists, designers, creative people in general: If enacted, this legislation will basically allow anyone to use a design after a ‘reasonable search’– without the copyright holder’s permission. Even if the copyright holder objects, he has no recourse because the bill eliminates the statutory damages that currently prevent rampant infringement.
I have highlighted the main points I gathered from Creative Leisure News. They have more info to click and read.
1. It changes the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act (enacted in 1978), and makes it virtually impossible for artists to protect their work. It basically allows anyone to use a design without the copyright holder’s permission.
2. It requires artists to attempt to protect their work by registering it with a digital data base system (presumably for a fee, in addition to the copyright filing fee) – when no such system exists!
3. It eliminates statutory damages wherever an infringer can successfully claim an orphan works defense, thus eliminating the only tool the law provides to prevent deliberate infringement.
4. It allows for an infringer to create – and copyright – a derivative work from the original design.Under current law, the right to create a derivative work is one of an artist’s exclusive rights. Section103(a) says a user can’t copyright a derivative image that he’s infringed. “Protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.” Under the proposed new bills, since the entirety of an infringed work can be included in a derivative use, then the copyright of the derivative will amount to a copyright of the original. This would be a de facto capture of new exclusive rights by the infringer. In other words, these bills allow infringers to make and copyright derivatives – even if the copyright holder to the original work objects.
Time is of the essence we need to get the word out to people so they know about the devastating consequences this legislation could have for us and we need to do it NOW.
Take Action: Don’t Let Congress Orphan Our Work
2 minutes is all it takes to write Congress and protect your copyright: Just click on the link below, pick the letter you’d like to use, fill in the info needed, click send. Very easy. Pass along to all your friends even if they aren’t artists. We need everyone’s support.