Thursday, May 1, 2008

Orphan Works Bill

Orphan Works Bill - Don’t Lose the Rights to Your Work

Here is a call to action from artist Jon Hecker.

Time to write! Please take action now! These proposed changes to the copyright law affect artists! I just sent three letters to my two Senators and district Congressional Representative. I laid out the moving story of how this bill would affect our livelihood. As independent artists, we receive no pension and we view ownership of our copyrights as our primary job security. It is critical that we as artists battle this proposed legislation.

In case you’re not too familiar with the issues at stake here, this webcast interview with Brad Holland about the Orphan Works act bill, offers insight to the ramifications of this bill if it should pass. The mp3 webcast interview about the Orphan Works act bill can be heard at:

The changes in the copyright laws proposed under the new “Orphan Works” bill have been released and it will affect your creative career!

Write your Reps and Senators.
Refer to Bill H.R. 5889 when writing a House Rep.
Refer to Bill S. 2913 when writing a Senator.
Same Orphan Works bill, different #’s for Senate and House.

Go to: to get the contact info for your state’s officials.

This affects all of us, painters, photographers and designers alike and is getting fast tracked to get through now.

Please take time to write! Fax or snail mail in addition to any emails you’d send too please. A sample letter is below at the end of this email.

For more info on this matter go to:

This was posted by Stella on “The Art of Licensing” Yahoo group and sums up the consequences if this bill passes:

“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!”

From Illustrators Partnership and posted on the Art of Licensing Yahoo Group by Stella too:

Here is a sample letter you can edit and send to your local and/or state 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.

Congressman/Congresswoman/Senator (their name)
(their contact info)
Fax: (their fax number)

Re: The Orphan Works legislation Bill # (either H.R. 5889 or S. 2913 depending who you’re writing)

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.

Thank you.


(your name)
(your address)


Thank you for joining with other creative image makers to get your voice heard!

Jon Hecker

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