Orphan Works legislation

This is just bullshit of the highest order. It seems the US Government is trying to push through a bill that would, in essence, legalize theft. You see, the Orphan Works legislation currently before congress would require artists to register every single image, drawing, whatever in order to prevent people from stealing their work and using it for free. Honestly, it makes me so angry I can’t even write intelligently about it. Here are some links to much more comprehensive articles. Read and get enraged.

Mind your Business

Orphan Works Resource page for Artists

Interview with Brad Holland about the Orphan Works bill


~ by Pagz on April 12, 2008.

7 Responses to “Orphan Works legislation”

  1. Would have a link to this proposed legislation? Thanks!

  2. Sure thing, here ya go:
    Feast yer peepers.

  3. Er, that’s the 2006 proposal that was never voted upon. Where’s the current proposal that you were talking about?

  4. It hasn’t been released yet, but its a reworking of the original, which still brings up the same problems:

    1.) Any image can be used for profit by anyone if it has been declared an “orphan work”. Who owns, registers or protects the copyrights to your high school yearbook? your wedding photos? your holiday photos?

    2.) The only way to “protect” your images will be to register them. At a fee. There’s a reason why coerced registration is against international law.

    3.) These registries report that their scanning ability offers a 99% success rate. That leaves 1% of REGISTERED images that will be accidentally orphaned. 1% of 1 million images is 10,000 images! and since it’s statistically impossible for the search to miss the same 1% every time, that leaves every single registered image vulnerable to being orphaned despite registration.

    And this of course doesn’t include the hundreds of millions of unregistered images. If it’s not in the registry no amount of searching will find it. This bill will strip people of their inherent copyright on their images. If you take a photo while on vacation, YOU WILL NOT OWN IT… unless you pay money to register it. And even then, 1% margin of error.

    The “revised” bill will be hitting again within the next week or so, and is being fast tracked for hopeful passage before the Summer recess. They’re trying to sneak it in under the radar because their are literally tens of billions of dollars to be made from “orphaned” works.

    This page has some really good links on the matter and is also keeping close tabs on the bills release:

  5. I find it hard to discuss a text that does not exist, so I won’t. You brought up an interesting point though. Suppose a high school friend lost their yearbook, and wants copies of a couple of photos in it. You would not be able to legally make those, because apparently nobody can track down the photographer.

    There should be a law that allows you to make copies of works you own, but of which you do not own the copyrights.

  6. There is, it’s called fair use.

  7. Fair use is a legal defense. It’s the “self defense” claim of copyright law. To use it, you must first break the law. Even if you win the lawsuit on grounds of your fair use defense, you might still lose thousands of dollars for your defense costs.

    Fair use is also something you can claim if you are able to contact the author of a work, so it has little to do with the problem of orphaned works.

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