Yeah, I’m still going on about the “Orphan Works Act”

OK, I know you guys are sick of hearing me rant about this bill, but it’s still floating around out there and we need to band together as creatives to “nip this in the bud” as Barney Fife would say.

Let’s not let Google and it’s all-consuming desire to kill art (or at least artists) stop us. Contact Wally Herger, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and tell them where you stand!

FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS’ PARTNERSHIP:

With Congress back in session this week, Orphan Works rumors are back too. According to some sources, deals have been made to pass the bills quickly. According to others, the bills have stalled for this session. Here’s what we know, independent of conflicting sources:

SEPT 6: OpenCongress Lists “8 Controversial Bills That Congress Still May Pass”
In Congress Gossip, by Donny Shaw, the article notes that the Orphan Works Bills “have been called out by concerned citizens… but are in a good position to quickly become law” in the next several weeks. The author quotes artist Brad Holland and attorney Larry Lessig in opposition to the legislation, and ends with this quote from “an anonymous OpenCongress user”:

“Isn’t it funny how music is getting huge, sledgehammer like protection in HR 4279 and visual art is getting devalued and made worthless by this bill, HR 5889? Music must just be soo much more valuable. It’s all about the corporate interests. Artists need to band together for our own protection and fight this dangerous bill. I’m an art student, and while I will never stop making art I’m worried I’ll be unable to make a living at it. It’s never been easy to be an artist without this kind of stuff coming along and making it impossible for us.”

Read the full article here: http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/636-8-Controversial-Bills-That-Congress-Still-May-Pass

SEPT 10: Authors Groups Submit Opposition Papers to Small Business Administration
The Illustrators’ Partnership, Artists Rights Society and Advertising Photographers of America have submitted over 60 papers and articles to the Office of Advocacy of the US Small Business Administration. These written statements were filed on behalf of attorneys, illustrators, designers, fine artists, photographers, songwriters, musicians, writers, members of the art licensing community and other small business owners. All are opposed to the bill.

These papers are the written statements submitted in conjunction with the Orphan Works Roundtable, conducted by the SBA  August 8, 2008 at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. The package will be distributed to lawmakers in both houses of Congress.

The webcast of the SBA Roundtable is available here: http://videos.cmitnyc.com/asip.html

A PDF of the collected papers will be available soon from the Illustrators’ Partnership Orphan Works blog: http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/

Folks, there’s no way to sugar-coat this, if passed, this bill will make the already ridiculously difficult job of a freelance artist nearly impossible. What we do is already incredibly undervalued in the marketplace, this bill might just be the dagger that drives many of us directly into the soup line. If an artist cannot own and control his work he’s obviously at a disadvantage in the marketplace, isn’t he?

This bill DOES NOT supersede existing copyright laws, but is more insidious. Look into the “Orphan Works Act” for yourselves, and if you agree, please take a moment to contact your representatives in Washington to let them know how you feel.

Thanks.

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