STOP THE ORPHAN WORKS BILL;
We MUST stop this bill to protect all creative works. The following information was copied from an email I received from a fellow CHA Designer. It is critical that you contact your local politicians NOW to voice your opposition.
Many of you have heard of the Orphan Works bill that was fought over the past couple years by SCBWI, GAG, the Illustrators Partnership, etc. Well, this past week, the Orphan Works bill was reformatted and is currently being catapulted through both the Senate and House at lightening speed. If passed in their current forms, the repercussions from these bills will adversely affect every single SCBWI member…whether writer, illustrator, manufacturer or publisher. In a nutshell, the bills will create a huge loophole for anyone that chooses to reproduce or use copyrighted materials in any way they choose (including for profit). At the same time, it also removes all current legal punishment for copyright infringement by removing damage and legal fee awards for those whose works are infringed or stolen.
Artists who have registered their work with the U.S. Copyright office will no longer be protected. Manufacturers with in-house staff or who have purchased art as wfh and subsequently registered those images will also no longer be protected. Nor will photographers, publishers, or basically any form of creative expression that can be copyrighted.
In our current economic climate and controversies about politics and war, Congressional leaders have much more to worry about than this “little” bill. And that is exactly why it is being timed like this….to “piggyback” through on the tails of something more important. The timing by the bill’s supporters is impeccable. And that’s why we need to be equally as diligent.
This information below is extremely important and must be followed through immediately. This also needs to be brought to the attention of the leadership (and members) of every single professional organization (from GAG to SCBWI and beyond) that will be affected by this. The urgency to act immediately is real because these bills are being rushed through VERY quickly. If they are passed, every person or company that depends on copyright ownership of intellectual property will lose.If you want to hear an interview that goes into more depth about the bills as well as more information about the impact they will have on ALL creatives, please go to this link…… Also you can visit any number of other professional organization sites such as Graphic Artists’ Guild www.gag.org or Illustrators Partnership www.illustratorspar
Visit this specific link for more on the very latest: http://www.illustra
Please read below. Please also send this information to every other organization, publisher, manufacturer, etc that you can who either licenses or owns visual intellectual property.
Late last week, both the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate introduced two versions of the orphan works bill. Both the Senate version, S.2913, and the House version, H.R.5889 are very similar in nature and closely mirror the Orphan Works Act of 2006.
WE NEED TO STOP THIS. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES IMMEDIATELY! WE MUST BE HEARD.
If we do not stop BOTH Orphan Works Bills NOW-
It does not matter that you created it.
It does not matter that you have a copyright mark on it.
It does not matter that it is registered in the Library of Congress.
It does not matter that you signed it.
It does not matter that you put a big fat watermark across it.
It does not matter that you put digital signatures on it.
It does not matter if you get a lawyer- you will get a pittance determined by the offending company and no reimbursement for legal fees.
It does not matter even if you do as they demand and pay to register it in the new registries that they will form - there is no real punishment for using your work for profit.
It does not matter that you do not want your image used on a product or to promote an agenda.
They can even sell your prints and make money!
Find your representative:
To get the attention of your representatives, you need to
immediately do ALL FOUR of the following steps:
1. Call the representative and give the bill numbers and say I oppose this (You'll get someone who works for your representative and they will log your address and your pro/con feedback.)
2. email your representative
3. Overnight or priority mail a snail mail letter
4. Fax a letter
Get as many signatures as possible on the paper copies. Do all 4 steps if you want to be heard!
There is a small window of time to voice your opposition usually the best time to act is in the 48 hours following the release of the bill number!
Here is are sample letters you can edit and send to your local and/orstate representatives and Senators. These letters work best when you make your point clear, do not curse, and make them aware that you live in their district or state and can vote for or against them.
Feel free to make this personal with your story on how the Orphan Works legislation will harm your income. Stories are incredibly powerful.
Faxes work better than e-mails, as e-mails are too easy to delete.
(their contact info)
Fax: (their fax number)
Re: The Orphan Works legislation
Dear (their name),
My name is (your name) and I live in (your city, state). After reading about the Orphan Works bill, I am shocked and outraged that this could happen in our country.
This Orphan Works legislation, if passed, will severely impact my income and life as an artist. Not only will it give license for others to legally steal and use my work for free, it will be virtually impossible for me to afford the time and money to register my creations in all the potential new registries.
(your personal story if you wish. It should show hardship under the new bill)
I strongly urge you to vote AGAINST the Orphan Works bill and protect my rights, my copyrights, to all that I have and will create.
I am writing to voice my opposition to Senate Bill S. 2913, the “Orphan Works” Bill. This bill makes it too easy for companies to use artwork without paying the artist who created it. If caught, they would only be obliged to pay a token fee, rather than damages. This law would encourage companies that use commercial artwork to copy graphic material at will, under the assumption they will not have to pay for it. This is similar to someone shoplifting from a store, but the only penalty if they got caught would be to pay the price of the item. As an artist who supports herself by licensing her artwork onto published products, I feel this bill would endanger my ability to make a living.
In addition, many European companies that I work with are refusing to import China-made products if the copyright cannot be confirmed. This is because China has a reputation for ignoring copyright law. If the U.S. gets a similar reputation due to the passage of this bill, I fear that U.S. exports of illustrated products could be threatened.
Please vote “no” on this bill.
(Your name, address, etc)