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Orphan works bill/copyright/ ACTION NEEDED

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TomP, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. The Orphan works bill.

    Well, while I knew about this bill, I have been occupied with health matters and had forgotten all about it. Thanks for the elbow in the ribs here https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=191192.

    So what to do?? Write an already email swamped congressman. Yes I guess that is our only option, it seems like it will be hard to get noticed among all of the financial emails, but we have to try.

    It all so might help to write Fox or CNN, asking for some light to be cats on this bill, surely can't hurt, and maybe we could get lucky.

    Also it would seem like a good idea to write all the members we can of various photo hosting sites, sending this information along, and asking them to do the same to members and friends.

    Without numbers of emails, we will never be noticed, and the Senate has already passed the bill, so it could become law any day now.

    Contact your congressman.

    Edit: The Bill was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Friday, Sept, 26 during the financial debate, so there are no recorded votes, . It is interesting that it was voted on at that time.

    I talked with my congressman's office, and they knew nothing about this bill, totally in the dark, he was a bit surprised to find that it came out of the senate last week.

    As of today, The bill HR 5889 is in the house Judiciary Committee.
    John Conyers, Dem. of Michigan is head of the Judiciary Committee, and one of the 3 cosponsors of the bill!! That suggest it come come out of committee very quickly.
    The 2 other cosponsors are
    Howard Coble of North Carolina
    Lamar Smith of Texas

    It seems like our Michigan, Texas and North Carolina members have their work cut out for them.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. Call or FAX your representative. That will get further than the easy-to-send e-mails. It takes more effort on your part, but that extra effort adds to your message by showing you cared enough to put the extra effort into it. Be prepared with real factual arguments and how the Orphan Works legislation affects you directly. Have concrete examples ready for discussion. If you are a member of Editorial Photographers, there is a post showing some excerpts from Google's recent SEC filing where they address Orphan Works directly. They and Microsoft are heavily, silently lobbying for this to pass so they can use images without having to pay copyright infringement settlements after the fact.

    This is a very important piece of legislation to kill. There are better ways to address the needs of archivists, libraries, etc. Major commercial corporations should not be allowed to leverage Orphan Works legislation to avoid paying licensing fees to collecting millions in revenue from using copyrighted material in advertisements and product packaging.
  3. Your right Walter, the Phone is the best way, and I was surprised to be able to talk to an legislative assistant on the first try.
    He was really happy to talk about anything other than the bailout:smile:

    They were in the dark on this bill, and said he would hand it own up the line. He was very helpful on updating me.

  4. demosaic

    demosaic Guest

    It's not just the need of archivists and libraries. It's everyone.

    A century of copyright extension acts pushed by the likes of Disney Corporation have created the present fiasco. Current law is an end-run around the "limited times" mandated by the Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution, which is why we need an Orphan Works law in the first place.

    If the creative community would place citizenship first and recognize that copyright terms need to be rolled back to the minimum necessary to "promote progress," as mandated by the Constitution, we wouldn't need this law.

    Copyright is one issue where artists been tricked into siding with the bad guys, unfortunately.
  5. Oh, please. There's plenty of creative power available without us having to wait for Mickey and Minnie to enter the public domain.
  6. demosaic

    demosaic Guest

    Huh? The test goes the other way around: would studios stop making movies if Mickey and Minnie entered the public domain? Of course not.

    Copyright extension is not for the benefit of the public, it's for the benefit of the author alone (in this case, a non-person), to the detriment of the public interest.

    Perpetual copyright is unconstitutional and has made the Orphan Works law necessary.
  7. Demosaic - Check who is lobbying hardest for Orphan Works legislation. Those major corporations you name are among the sponsors and lobbying parties. Individuals and small business owners like myself are the opponents (and the losers). What we detest is not expiration of copyrights, but instant relief for copyright infringers. Please read the bill very carefully, and visit the Stock Artists Alliance website to read all the excellent points they make in opposition to this form of orphan works. We don't oppose copyrights that have a finite life. We oppose removal of penalties for copyright infringers who claim "no foul" under the guise of orphan works. The current language in the bill strips is of all the statutory damages that currently are deterents against copyright infringement. It also requires is to re-register all our existing work with a commercial copyright registry after already having done the right thing in registering it with the US Copyright Office. What small business owner will have the funds to register 10, 20, 30 or more years worth of already properly registered work with a new commercial registry to try to retain the protections they are already afforded?
  8. You never really address my question in the other thread, why should we, as photographers, have to pay a third party to protect our work. I mean this is set up for big business, they can do this with ease. Why should we give up the protection we have now for an unknown setup with what will surly have surprise wording. Hardly ever is a change in favor of the people, if it is made by government or a corporation. If it anit broke don't fix it.
  9. demosaic

    demosaic Guest

    The bill indemnifies individuals and organizations against infringement suits if they can establish that they made a reasonable effort to identify the copyright owner (if any), and defines in some detail what kinds of research is necessary to meet the standard of "reasonable." It provides for the establishment of commercial registries but does not require that you use them.

    The bill does, however, limit your ability to bring infringement lawsuits against people who can't possibly find you "10, 20, 30 or more years" later. I appreciate that this can be inconvenient for stock photographers, but it is more important to serve the public interest, which is the one and only purpose of copyright.

    I posted the following link in the other thread on this subject. It is the United States Copyright Office web site on the Orphan Works legislation. In it the Register of Copyrights writes, "in my view, a solution to the orphan works problem is overdue and the pending legislation is both fair and responsible."

  10. demosaic

    demosaic Guest

    It's broke, due in large part to relatively recent changes in the law.

    Right now, much of the nation's history and culture is locked up by the threat of infringement suits brought by unidentifiable authors. Our interest, "as photographers," to sue people -- who can't possibly find us, for any act of infrigement, and at any point in the future -- is outweighed by our interest, as citizens, in a copyright system that actually promotes authorship rather than lawsuits.

    Remember, the "protections" afforded by copyright law are only a means to an end, the public interest.
  11. And orphan works isn't a fix. It simply makes it possible for someone to infringe on my work simply by failing to find me.

    I'll say it again, because apparently you don't object to being proven wrong, that copyright is expressly meant to encourage authorship by protecting the author.


    What is copyright?
    Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

    If you want to fix a problem with copyright law and help museums and libraries, modify 'fair use' - don't burden our country with a system that is flawed in its very design.
  12. demosaic

    demosaic Guest

    What do you think you've "proved wrong" about what I've written? I've said since the beginning that the purpose of copyright is to promote progress, and that the monopoly powers granted to authors is a means to that end, and cited Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution as evidence of these claims. I invite any reader who might care to review my posts, and the Constitution for that matter, and tell me that isn't correct.

    And not that it matters, but how is it that you manage to repeatedly make (inconsistent) claims about the intended purpose of copyright, and go on to cite material that merely defines copyright? You've done it again, above. This time you've conceded my point that the actual purpose is to encourage authorship; last time you insisted "copyright exists expressly for protection" (https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showpost.php?p=2112324&postcount=25).

    This is an incredibly important distinction, because once one recognizes that the purpose is to promote authorship (the ends), rather than to "protect" authors (the means), one can ask the right question: is the public interest -- promotion of authorship ("progress of Science and useful Arts") -- served by this bill? I argue that it is.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  13. I think we all agree that promoting authorship serves the public interest. It is the foundation for invention, artistic expression, written works, research, etc. Copyright promotes authorship and creativity. Expiration of copyright releases creations to the public after a period of time.

    Where we disagree is whether this specific Orphan Works legislation encourages creativity. I say it does NOT. Orphan Works as a concept is a good idea. It permits use of creations for which copyright ownership cannot be verified. What we oppose are the mechanics of this specific piece of legislation
    . It reverses the remedies afforded rightful copyright owners. That discourages creativity. This specific piece of legislation is NOT in the public interest as written. There are better ways to achieve the goals of Orphan Works where it will serve the public interest without discouraging creativity through authorship.

    They should change the "Fair Use" tests to include libraries, historians, archivists, etc. The initial request for Orphan Works came from that community. They should enhance the US Copyright Office registry with better capability to identify and locate copyright owners (see TinEye). These types of changes would better serve the public interest than the specific legislation being considered. It would not strip the statutory damages that currently deter copyright infringement and it would not break the bank of authors by requiring them to re-register their life's works with two more registries (yes two, the legislation calls for two).

    I encourage everyone to read John Harrington's FAQ on Orphan Works. It address all these issues and more.

    [ UPDATE ] I also encourage reading "Orphan Works: Connect the Dots" in The Illustrators Partnership Orphan Works blog.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2008
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