Saturday, May 24, 2008

Orphaned Works Update

Members of IPA, and associates working with them, met with congressional leaders in DC last week. It sounds as if a few are starting to get it. But we're not out of the woods yet.

Here's a link to an Op-Ed piece published in the New York Times last week by non-other than Lawrence Lessig. Oddly enough, he is opposed to the current legislation. But I wouldn't let him babysit my kids just yet, if you know what I mean.

And here's an article from the Boston Herald. So the press is starting to listen.

From the IPA's website, a listing of artist groups against passage of this OW legislation.

Post Card Campaign to Oppose Orphan Works

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed their Orphan Works Act. It is now headed for the full Senate. This from Joanne Fink, President of Lakeside Design:

Urgent: Do this today in order to impact next week's opposition team
meetings in Washington D.C.

Postcard mailings: It was suggested that we get everyone to start sending
postcards to the DISTRICT offices, not the Washington DC office, because mail sent to Washington gets scanned/screened and can take over two weeks to get to the
recipient, while mail sent to the district office gets couriered to the Washington office the next day. Please disseminate this information as soon as possible. We'd like to have thousands of postcards waiting for our legislators before we go to visit them. Please help with this last ditch effort!

Here's what to do:

  1. Write "Please vote NO on the Orphan Works bill " (add H.R. 5889 for the
    House; S-2913 for the Senate). No other explanation is necessary.

  2. Sign your name and include your contact info.

  3. Addres it to your elected official's district office. Click to find your Senator's address or your Representative's address. You will need to click through to their website.

  4. Add a stamp—27 cents; 42 cents if your postcard is over 6" x 4 1/4".

Friday, May 09, 2008

Orphaned Works is Back! Act Now!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!

What's an Orphaned Work?
Any intellectual property that has been abandoned by its creator, either through neglect or death.

What's the Big Deal?
Large corporations (Microsoft, Hearst, Google) have amassed hoards of public domain works and license them for $$$. Now they're after orphaned work.

So what? Your not dead?
This current legislation will change the definition of orphaned work and allow those who claim they can't find me to use my work without permission, thereby giving them incentive not to find me. It will remove any recourse I may have when I discover the infringement, yet does not limit the infringer in a countersuit. It will allow the infringer to make derivatives of my work and copyright them as their own!

It Doesn't Affect Me So I'm Not Interested
Au Contraire! Do you post family photos online? On your BLOG? If you don't register them with one of the as-yet-to-be-in-existance-for-profit-registries, it will become an orphaned-work, and large corporations like Google and Microsoft will harvest and sell it for profit. How will you feel when you see your sweet child's face advertising some unsavory product, and there won't be a darn thing you can do about! Do I have your attention now?

So, Call the Media
Sorry, they're not interested because they stand to profit. Many of them own stock photo or art houses.

That's Bad. How Can I Help?
Go to the Illustrator's Partnership to read about the two similar bills currently sailing through Congress. Then go to their Take Action page. Put in your zip code and they will email your Congressmen of your wishes.

Even if I'm a Writer?
YES! Writer, Plumber, Short Order Cook! You all have power of the pen. Do your civic duty and support Artists and Photographers everywhere! And all you Blogging Writers? I've seen the power you wield when you have your mind set on something. Post the IPA site on your blogs and let the world know.

One more Thing
I hate to be political on my blog; that's not what I'm about. But . . . Laurence Lessig is the lawyer who started this whole assault on intellectual property a few years back. Do a search for Lessig and your favorite candidate to see which candidate Lessig supports. That doesn't necessarily mean that that candidate is FOR this bill, but it might make you think twice.