Call to Action to Oppose “Orphan Works” Copyright Bill in the US Congress

I normally don’t write posts about politics, but in this case, I hope to help people understand the current Orphan works bills that are being voted on in Congress, and recommend that those who want to oppose this legislation take a minute or two to fill out one of the suggested forms linked to in this post by Wed. 5/7/2008 at 2PM EST.

I am member of the Advertising Photographers of America and they,
along with a number of other organizations, are working to help avoid
the Orphan works bills from passing in the US Congress.

This is an overview of the House bill:

This is a sample letter for non-US artists, who will also be affected by this legislation:

Below is a section of the letter that describes the effect that this bill will have on all artists:

These bills would amend Chapter 5 of Title 17, United States Code, (Copyright law) by adding “§ 514. Limitation on remedies in cases involving orphan works.” This new limitation on remedies will be imposed on any copyrighted work wherever the infringer can successfully claim an orphan works defense, whether legitimate or adjudicated by courts to be conclusive.

The Orphan Works Act defines an “orphan work” as any copyrighted work whose author any infringer says he is unable to locate by means of a “reasonably diligent search.” The infringer himself will be allowed to determine when he has met this imprecise test. The infringer would be free to ignore the rights of the author and use the work for any purpose, including commercial usage. This is a radical departure from existing international copyright law and conventions, as well as normal business practices.

You can defend your copyright and your future, in less than a minute:

Please click here:

On this page, there are a number of suggested form letters (and customizable letters) to make your voice heard. I chose one and filled out my info. It was then sent to my state representatives and senators.

You can read more about the bills on the US Copyright Office website.

Thank you,
Andrew Darlow