I'm happy to say I've mailed off letters to my Senators (Mr. Frist and Mr. Alexander) and my Rep (Mr. Cooper) protesting the Orphan Works Act of 2006.
So now I am relieved but anxious, hoping that enough illustrators, graphic designers and artists are doing the same so that we can get rid of this thing.
This proposed amendment -- HR 5439 IH -- which is to amend the Copyright Law, is a wolf disguised in sheep's clothing. The language used in it seems like it's aiming to make nice between all the parties involved, but it actually erodes creators rights instead, in favor of pirates.
This amendment in a nutshell will favor an infringer's rights over the creator's lawful copyright when the infringer doesn't bother to do their homework and find the actual copyright owner in time before using artwork and photographs. Talk about opening a can of worms.
The amendment further offers to start a whole new department to deal with the legal issues that might result from this. Creating this "new department" will be an unnecessary WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME.
Infringers will abuse the new system and artists will be caught up in and forced into a legal Circle of Hell trying to protect their copyrights instead of being in their studios creating artwork. (If that isn't evil getting a great foothold and being destructive towards beauty...I dunno what is.)
Yes I'm being dramatic. I have to be. The Copyright Law as it stands ain't broke, so don't "fix" it with a weak addition that will undo who it's supposed to protect.
I don't spend days drawing comics or illustrations or painting just to have some idiot help themselves and slap my work on something I never okayed in the first place just cause they didn't bother to find me.
I'm also thinking about all the artists I know who are not online blogging and who don't have websites and who may not be represented by a gallery but still make their living creating art. They may not be Googleable, but they still have rights to use their artwork as they see fit.
But instead of just reading me complain about this (to put it nicely), please go visit the Frequently Asked Questions page regarding this Orphan Works Act over at the Illustrators Partnership. They explain all of this in a really calm and cool fashion and they will make loads of sense.
Then when you've read it, please write a letter to your Senator and Representatives asking them to help defeat this amendment.
The Orphan Works Act Infringes On Your Copyright!
Orphan Works Bill: Worry about Art Copyrights