Have you ever picked up a camera and taken a picture? Of course you have. And you probably put the photos online and send them to your friends and family. Now and then a doting relative passes on a uber-cute photo to their friends. But no matter how large your circle is you'd never expect to see that same photo in some corporation's national ad campaign without your permission or payment.
That's the future folks if the Orphan Works legislation passes. In fact, it's already happened. It's just going to get brazenly, egregiously worse and it will be virtually impossible for the little guy (most of us) to do anything to rectify this theft of our intellectual property. Follow the money on this bill and you'll realize that big business stands to gain. Everybody else -- photographers, painters, sculptors, designers and the ordinary guy or gal with a camera will lose, BIG.
Virgin Mobil is in a lawsuit right now with a family that found a picture of their daughter in a Virgin Mobil advertisement. Taking advantage of the very small print on the Flickr site, Virgin's ad agency took this picture without permission -- and saved themselves a bunch of money on models and photo shoots. Alison Chang, the subject of the photo and her uncle, filmmaker Damon Chang got NOTHING. In fact, Alison Chang complained that the imagery insulted her Asian heritage. Read more about this on The Register.co.uk
If you're an artist, don't fool yourself thinking that theft is some form of flattery. This is about your bottom line. No cash and you aren't able to work. The copyright laws as we know them will be gutted. Getty, Corbis and other media supply agencies will have free rein to use your images without ANY payment to you. And, it only gets worse. Individuals and businesses will get on the bandwagon. An image of your painting or design work could be put onto paper plates, tissue boxes, beach towels, calenders, stationary, ad campaigns and you'll get nothing except a sinking feeling when you walk into some retailers shop or open a magazine or book and see them SELLING your work and you get NOTHING! Not only is your financial income compromised, you will have to pay to get an attorney to deal with this theft (and you may lose!).
Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, the powerhouse behind the IPA's efforts to preserve the civil economic rights of creators has this to say:
"Remember: the US Orphan Works amendment is not an exception to copyright law to permit the archiving and preservation of old, abandoned works. It is a license to infringe contemporary works by living artists worldwide. Its goal is to force these works into private commercial US registries as a condition of protecting copyrights. Coerced registration violates international copyright law and copyright-related treaties. To concede defeat on it is to knock a hole in copyright law and admit a Trojan horse."
— Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership
Illustrators Partnership.org a Graphics Art industry non-profit group has many helpful links and more information on their site at this link for the IPA Orphan Works resource page.
Animation World Magazine printed this article by Mark Simon http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=pageone&article_no=3605&page=1#
Please take a few moments to contact your legislators. Remember, it's the people who show up who run things. Have a voice and show up for this issue.
CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR: Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to quickly find the phone number, address and e-mail of every U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor and state legislator.
UPDATE May 7, 2008: FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS' PARTNERSHIP
Take Action: Don't Let Congress Orphan Our Work
- We’ve set up an online site for visual artists to e-mail their Senators and Representatives with one click.
- This site is open to professional artists, photographers and any member of the image-making public.
- We’ve provided sample letters from individuals representing different sectors of the visual arts.
- If you’re opposed to the Orphan Works act, this site is yours to use.
2 minutes is all it takes to write Congress and protect your copyright:
UPDATE : MAY 2, 2008 FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS' PARTNERSHIP
You are cordially invited to attend an important industry-wide event
Don’t Let Congress Orphan Your Work: An open forum to oppose the Orphan Works Act of 2008
Tuesday, May 6 6:00 PM
The Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065
Admission is free
The Orphan Works Act of 2008 will endanger the rights of anyone who creates intellectual property.
It will expose your art to commercial infringement. It will include work from professional paintings to family snapshots. It will include published and unpublished work. It will include any image that resides or has ever resided on the internet. It will force you to register every picture you do with privately-held commercial registries. It will make all unregistered works potential orphans.
This radical change to U.S. copyright law will shift the burden of diligence from infringers to rights holders. It is wrong to give infringers the right to make money from your property without your knowledge or consent. You should not have to pay businessmen to keep the work you’ve created.
The Orphan Works Act is an assault on national and international copyright laws. It’s an assault on the property and privacy rights embodied in them.
Illustrators, photographers, fine artists: let’s come together and act to keep Congress from orphaning our work.
This event will be webcast live. Panelists at this forum will include:
- Brad Holland Hall of Fame artist who has testified against the Orphan Works Act of 2006 in both the House and Senate
- Cynthia Turner Award-winning medical artist who has collaborated in written testimony to both the House and Senate
- Constance Evans Photographer, painter and Executive Director of Advertising Photographers of America
- Terry Brown Director Emeritus of the Society of Illustrators, currently Director of the American Society of Illustrators Partnership
- Others to be announced
To learn more about the Orphan Works Bill, listen to the interview with Brad Holland:
mp3 version: http://www.sellyourtvconceptnow.com/orphan.html
YouTube version: http://youtube.com/watch?v=CqBZd0cP5Yc
For additional background on Orphan Works, go to the IPA Orphan Works Resource Page for Artists