Thursday, October 9, 2008

Orphan Works: A Public Knowledge Postmortem

"Orphan works relief was vigorously opposed by visual artists... And while we have thought some of their concerns misguided, they did a fine job of organizing and getting their voices heard."
That was the rueful conclusion Monday from the President of Public Knowledge. She was conducting a postmortem on her blog to explain why their last minute efforts to pass the Orphan Works Act failed last week.

Public Knowledge is one of the key special interest groups driving orphan works legislation. And while interested parties around the country were being told all week that the bill was dead, she now confirms that there was a secret last minute push to pass it:
"[W]ith the country's financial crisis raging [she writes] and Congress in the middle of deliberations over a bill to rescue our financial institutions, there was still an opportunity to get a bill done. But how? The best option was to get either House Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Berman or House Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers to take the Senate bill that passed and put it on the 'suspension calendar,' which is the place largely non-controversial legislation gets put so that it will get passed quickly. There can be no amendments to bills placed on the suspension calendar, but it needs a 2/3 majority to pass (italics added).
"On Saturday, September 27," she continues, she and others "were on the phone imploring the members to move the bill...":
"The negotiations went on for hours and hours on Thursday into Friday, but in the end, PK, working with the user community (libraries, documentary filmmakers, educational institutions and the College Art Association) could not agree with [sic] on language with the House staff. Late Friday afternoon, the House voted in favor of a bailout bill and everybody went home. Time had run out."
Public Knowledge has a "Six Point Program" to undo existing copyright law. "Orphan Works Reform" is Number 5. And while they're "disappointed" they weren't able to pass the bill this session, she advises supporters to "focus on what positive things came out of the process, so [they] can move forward quickly next year."

PK says artists have learned their lesson

In her opinion, one of the "positive things" to "come out of the process" is that:
"[V]isual artists, graphic designers and textile manufacturers who opposed orphan works relief now understand that they must change their business models." (Italics added.)
Artists "must change their business models"? Is that a sound we hear from inside the Trojan Horse?

Whatever happened to the claim that this bill was only a minor tweak to copyright law - to let libraries and museums digitize their collections of old work - or let families duplicate photos of grandma?

That was the argument lawmakers heard last spring, when the bill was rolled out suddenly, scripted for quick and easy passage. But now that the anti-copyright lobby has had to fight for it, they've dropped their guard. Now it's time to openly lecture artists that the world is changing and we'd better get used to registering our work with privately owned "databases" -- at least if we want to ensure that our works won't become orphaned.

But of course that was the agenda all along.

PK says not all artists are misguided

PK'sPresident wants Congress to know that not all artists are "misguided" - only those that oppose the bill. Currently, 80 professional groups do.

By contrast, she cites the Graphic Artists Guild as an example of artists who have learned their lesson. She praises GAG as "enlightened," because GAG supported the House version of the bill. She quotes a recent letter from GAG's President in which he admonished artists to "get real about this Orphan Works scare":
"I don't think Orphan Works is going to have a dramatic influence on how we do business [he wrote], but I hope it has awakened us all to the importance of tending to business issues. If we as a community invested a fraction of the energy we've expended on an apocalyptic vision of Orphan Works into protecting our own creations, protesting unfair contracting practices or writing letters to low-paying publishers, we'd be in a far better market position than we are today. The fact is that we give away more in the every day practice of our businesses than the government could ever take from us."
We replied to the GAG letter weeks ago, when it was first circulated to artists. We obviously disagree. Indeed, we'd point out that what the community of artists is doing by opposing this bill is "protecting our own creations":
  • The Orphan works bill would have a dramatic affect on business, because it would let people infringe our work without our knowledge, consent or payment.
  • Most people who succeed in our field do "treat art as a business."
  • People who are bad at business can't be used as proof that successful people must change their business models.
  • You can't justify exposing an artists' property to theft by telling him he didn't write enough "letters to low-paying publishers."
  • What artists do or don't "give away" on their own doesn't justify government's taking anything from them.
  • It's counter-intuitive to tell small business owners we should accept a bill that's bad for business to prove that we've "awakened to the importance of tending to business."
  • If we don't fight to keep the work we create, that would be the ultimate failure to tend to business.
A full response to the entire GAG letter is here:

The Orphan Works Act was based on a premise and a conclusion:
  • The premise is that the public is being harmed because it doesn't have enough contact information to locate copyright owners.
  • The conclusion is that artists must change their business models.
  • What's lacking is any evidence in between.
The Orphan Works Act was based on recommendations by the Copyright Office. But the Copyright Office studied the specific subject of orphaned work. They did not study the business models of artists who are alive, working and managing their copyrights. That means there can be no meaningful conclusions drawn from their study to dictate that such artists must change their business models.

From the beginning, artists have said we'd support a true orphan works bill. We've submitted precise amendments that would make one out of this bill. Our amendments have never been considered.

Instead, as PK's President noted in her postmortem, their last minute strategy for passing the bill would have "put it on the 'suspension calendar.'" And "[t]here can be no amendments to bills placed on the suspension calendar..."

The anti-copyright lobby is well funded. They have powerful backers. They've warned us they'll be back next year.

We should take them at their word.

– Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Orphan Works: The Big Internet Factor

On Thursday October 2, each member of the House of Representatives received the following letter:

October 2, 2008

Dear [Member of Congress],

As lawmakers struggled Friday to prop up private financial institutions that are “too big to fail,” the Senate quietly passed a bill that would allow a few giant internet firms to swell by absorbing copyright titles from independent creators, small businesses and average citizens around the world. As Market Watch reported Sept. 29: While members of Congress were focused on an economic rescue package, “internet companies including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. quietly walked away with a legislative victory.”

We are writing to express our grave concerns about this. The Senate Orphan Works Act (S 2913) was passed Friday by the controversial practice of “hotlining” and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. We’ve been warned that the House may abandon its own bill (HR 5889) and adopt the Senate’s. If that happens, this legislation will negatively affect artists, writers, photographers, songwriters, musicians, performers, craft and folk artists, Native American artists, in fact, creators of all disciplines, professional and amateur, both in the U. S. and worldwide.

We believe these bills mask an effort by Big Internet companies to profit by undermining existing global intellectual property rights protections. These protections currently allow small creators to control the use of their art, photographs, writings, videos or music. The proposed legislation would undermine these protections in two ways. First, it would remove any effective penalties for copyright infringement wherever a user is unable to locate an author by a vaguely defined “qualifying search.” And second, it would “pressure” copyright holders to subsidize the start-up of privately owned commercial databases by exposing to potential infringement the work of any copyright owner who does not provide these databases with access to his commercial inventory, metadata and licensing information. Since no rational business owner would voluntarily turn over his business information to outside commercial interests without agreed upon compensation, this is a troubling prospect for millions of creators and small business owners.

Undermining Small Businesses
The lobbying efforts to promote this legislation pit small entrepreneurs and artists of all kinds against some of the largest and most well-financed Internet powerhouses in America. One in particular will serve to document our concerns. Google, one of the largest backers of the legislation, has already stated their intent to profit from the works the bill will orphan. In 2005, three years before the current legislation, Google told the U.S. Copyright Office “[W]e expect that [Google’s] use of these orphan works will likely be in the 1 million works range....”[1 Footnote]

In March 2005, Google’s top lobbyists submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office’s Orphan Works Study. In it, they argued: a.) Orphan Works “represent an untapped wealth of information that should be made accessible to the public”[2 Footnote] (presumably through Google’s search engine and advertising programs); and b.) owners of orphan works could more effectively monetize their creations if they “enrolled in [Google’s] publisher program, and could receive money from advertising revenue.”

Google also commented that the Copyright Office’s current registration database, which covers works registered after 1978, does not provide contact information for locating copyright holders, adding: these records are not “readily queried through automated means.” Google sees this as a problem: it means a user looking for a copyright holder would have to conduct a routine search of records using traditional sources of information -- sources Google does not own or control. Such diligent traditional searches do not conform to the rapid automated searches that fit Google’s “one million works” goal.

In making this argument however, Google’s lobbyists presented the case as if certain procedures were not already in place at the Copyright Office. Google proposed that orphan works data “be accessible and searchable by automated means as well as through a web browser or other methods.” But in fact this system already exists for works registered after 1978 (see Copyright Office Circular 22). And Google suggested that any work designated as an orphan by one infringer should be free for others to infringe in good faith, without risk of liability.

Based on these comments and on Google’s subsequent lobbying efforts, it is obvious that Google believes passage of the current orphan works legislation would allow it to harvest millions of copyrighted works free from potential liability. Indeed it would even allow Google or similar companies to capture orphaned copies of any individual’s works, alter the works slightly to create “derivatives,” then copyright the derivatives as their own intellectual property. These companies could then add that work to their massive commercial databases and profit by licensing it to third parties - or by providing free access to the public in return for advertising revenues. In effect, we fear this bill would force creators to subsidize potential competitors by supplying them with the content they would need to compete.

No Economic Impact Analysis
It’s troubling to us in the creative community that anyone would seek to impose these measures on the $187 billion licensing industry. But equally disturbing is the surprising $3 million contribution Google made to the Library of Congress for its “World Digital Library” project in November 2005. This donation was made just as the Copyright Office was concluding its Orphan Works Study and preparing its final report to Congress. [3 Footnote]

As you know, the Library of Congress oversees Copyright Office activities. And while the Library of Congress acknowledged that the World Digital Library project would be supported by public and private partnerships, it appears that Google was the project’s first, largest and perhaps only private sector contributor.

Then in early 2006, only a few months after Google’s donation, the Copyright Office submitted its Report on Orphan Works. In it, they recommended changes to copyright law that would dramatically affect commercial markets. Yet the Copyright Office had studied the specific subject of orphaned work. They did not solicit, nor did they receive, relevant information about the workings of commercial markets. This fact was summarized in a joint position paper published July 15, 2008 by the Association of Independent Music Publishers & the California Copyright Conference:

“In 2004, The Copyright Office initiated a theory, with the enthusiastic support of the anti-copyright lobby, that the public was being harmed because it did not have enough current contact information for authors and owners. The Copyright Office then requested orphan works legislation without having conducted a needs assessment study, an independent audit of its registration and copyright history records, an economic impact analysis, or an evaluation of how the public, society and authors would be affected by reduced quantity and quality of art, film, television, music, video games and other copyrighted works in the future.” [4 Footnote]

Despite this lack of information about commercial markets, the Copyright Office asserted they had found a widespread “market failure” and recommended sweeping changes to copyright law. The changes included many that Google had asked for.

Google’s special interest in this issue should not be overlooked. In March 2007, the company filed a mandatory 10-Q Filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which they acknowledged “copyright claims filed against us [by copyright owners] alleging that features of certain of our products and services, including Google Web Search, Google News, Google Video, Google Image Search, Google Book Search and YouTube, infringe their rights.” Google admitted that “[a]dverse results in these lawsuits may include awards of substantial monetary damages, costly royalty or licensing agreements or orders preventing us from offering certain functionalities, and may also result in a change in our business practices, which could result in a loss of revenue for us or otherwise harm our business [italics added].”[5 Footnote]

Google’s involvement surfaced again March 13, 2008, when the Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. She strongly endorsed the current legislation and recommended that private technology companies play a role in ensuring “best practices” in the creation of orphan works registries. She acknowledged a December 2007 technology briefing for Congressional staffers hosted by the Copyright Office, which Google attended to showcase tools and services to “help alleviate the orphan works problem.”[6 Footnote]

We find it deeply disturbing that the U.S. Copyright Office has so clearly and unambiguously advocated legislation that will privilege large commercial interests such as Google at the expense of creators and the countless small businesses that serve, and are dependent on the creative community. We find this even more troubling in light of Google’s substantial contribution to the Library of Congress at a time when the Copyright Office was preparing its Orphan Works recommendations -- and at a time when Google had acknowledged to the SEC that its financial well-being is dependent on a business model that has already engendered multiple lawsuits for copyright infringement totaling billions of dollars.

Google and other large database, advertising and search engine companies clearly have a major financial stake in the weakening of copyright law through new legislation. The Orphan Works Acts, if enacted in either of its current forms, would solve the problem that has vexed so many start-up internet companies: how to make money by giving away free content. By opening the door to potentially billions of “permitted” infringements of protected copyrights, this legislation would allow Big Internet to create an entirely new business model, by licensing content they don’t have to pay for — through the digitizing, archiving and monetizing of the intellectual property of ordinary citizens.

A Bill Too Far
We believe the proposed Orphan Works lelgislation, as written, go far beyond current concepts of Fair Use. As Chairman Berman of the House Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property acknowledged on March 13 2008, the term orphan works, as applied to this legislation, is actually “a misnomer.” In fact, these bills are not designed to deal with the use of true orphan works by museums, libraries and archives. Instead they seek to grant any potential user the right to use any work by any creator for any purpose, so long as the user finds it sufficiently hard to locate the user – a standard so broad it would re-define the meaning of copyright itself. If this bill passes, in the United States, copyright will no longer be the exclusive right of the copyright holder. The consequences will be far-reaching, long lasting, perhaps irreversible and will drastically affect what it means to create and own intellectual property. In addition, it could disrupt trade relations with rights holders in Europe, who are fearfully protective of their works’ copyrights.

On August 8, 2008, The Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration conducted an Orphan Works Roundtable in New York City. This was the first effort to assess the economic impact of this legislation on the creative community. [7 Footnote] Panelists agreed that it would drastically change copyright law, and stressed that the high cost of compliance would be a prohibitive burden for artists to bear, thus exposing valuable inventories to commercial infringement. All agreed that the bills would have a profoundly negative impact on creators’ rights and markets.

We also note that on August 30, 2008 leading copyright scholar Jane Ginsburg of the Columbia Law School published Recent Developments in US Copyright Law: Part I – “Orphan” Works.
<8> In this scholarly article, Professor Ginsburg raises several critical questions about the legislation, noting that certain provisions appear to violate Article 10.1 of the Berne Convention, which prohibits prejudicial exceptions to an author’s exclusive right of copyright. She states that the preclusion of injunctive relief with respect to derivative works would appear to force authors to tolerate “even derivative uses they find offensive or that distort their works; and she adds that this “has economic consequences as well,” depriving the author of the right “to grant exclusive derivative work rights to a third party. The bill thus potentially devalues the derivative work right.”

As small business owners, sole proprietorships and individual creators, we lack the promotional and lobbying muscle of Big Internet companies. But as we spend our own time and money to call attention to the defects of the current legislation, we stress that we would support a bill that precisely defines the category of true orphan works and sets a proper bar for making the requisite showing of due diligence by potential users. But we believe the broader interests of society are served best, when those exceptions are limited to “certain special cases,” as defined both by Article 10.1 of Berne and Article 13 of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). As Professor Ginsburg notes in her article: “The ‘progress of knowledge’ to which US copyright aspires is achieved not only by putting works into circulation, but also by fostering conditions conducive to creativity.”

In the interests of continuing conditions conducive to creativity in the US – and on behalf of millions of small creators, small businesses and average citizens, we respectfully urge members of the House not to adopt the Orphan Works Act of 2008 (H.R. 5889), nor to adopt the Senate version S2913.

Brad Holland, Artist
Co-Founder, Illustrators' Partnership of America

Cynthia Turne
r, Medical Illustrator
Director, Illustrators' Partnership of America

Constance Evans, Artist

Executive Director
Advertising Photographers of America

Gerald Colby, Writer

President, National Writers Union

Kathleen Bitetti, Artist

Executive Director, Artists Foundation

Don Schaefer, Photographer


Nick Anders
on, Editorial Cartoonist
The Houston Chronicle

Immediate Past President
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Jeff Keane, Car
The National Cartoonists Society

Ted Rall, Cartoonist

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists









Thursday, October 2, 2008

Orphan Works: “We Are Our Work”

These are excerpts from written statements submitted by the Illustrators’ Partnership to the Small Business Administration September 16. The SBA Roundtable is the only forum so far conducted by the government to consider the economic impact of the Orphan Works Act on creators. The Roundtable was chaired by Tom Sullivan, Director of the Office of Advocacy of the SBA. It was initiated by the Illustrators’ Partnership, The Artists Rights Society and the Advertising Photographers of America. It was conducted by the SBA August 8, 2008 at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. Seventeen panelists participated. Scores of others submitted written papers.

August 8, 2008: “We’re here today to speak as small business owners. Yet for most of us, art is something more than a business. Artists become artists because we want to practice alchemy - to turn the lead of experience into something that doesn’t tarnish or rust. At the heart of creativity is independence. We’re here today to defend our independence.”
– Brad Holland, Artist

“The network of contracts and agreements, the very fabric of the business of copyright that surrounds the marketing of images, has been overlooked by this legislation. This threatens the entire commerce of visual art licensing.”
– Cynthia Turner, Medical Illustrator

“Licensing is now a $187 Billion dollar industry...and most of the providers of the creative content are small business owners just like me...the [Orphan Works] changes in the copyright law... will put me and other small business owners in jeopardy of losing revenue that the licensing of our art generates for us.”
– Cheryl Phelps, Illustrator, Designer, Art Licensor, Educator

“If our government approached any other type of business and told them they could no longer own what makes their business valuable, that their intellectual property including sourcing information, trade secrets, collected knowledge of their industry and so on was now no longer theirs to own and use to prosper . . . imagine the outrage.”
– Brenda Pinnick Owner, President, Brenda Pinnick Designs, Inc.

“It is clear that this piece of legislation is part of an anti-copyright offensive waged by those who maintain that copyrights are obstacles to creativity and the free flow of ideas, as if copying, mixing, sampling and appropriation are the essence of the creative process.”
– Dr. Theodore Feder President, Artists Rights Society

“As a young artist, I owe a lot of my professional success to the internet... Copyright law, as it stands, enables us to share work with our fans online, while knowing it won’t be stolen by large corporations. What the Sean Bentley Orphan Works act does is remove this protection.”
–“Orphan Works Act-Unintended Effects,” by Molly Crabapple, Artist

“If this legislation passes, it would mean a return to pre-1976 U.S. Copyright Act when many writers' works fell into the public domain because they could not afford to comply with the formalities of registration as a condition of copyright protection.”
– By Gerard Colby President, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981

“The financial (and technical) requirements of this Bill truly assume that an artist is “guilty of failing to comply until proven innocent.”
–“The Orphan Works Act: A View From the Trenches,” by attorney Tammy L. Browning-Smith, J.D., LL.M

“Would you rather Charlie Parker had a law degree and a well maintained data base or his bird qualities? Would you rather see Jimmie Hendrix bend his head around “Reasonably Diligent Search” or bend a string from here to eternity?”
–“Orphan Works,” by Gene Poole, Songwriter and Musician

“I know of no other trade or product that requires its creators to register with one government agency and two private ones in order to protect their rights and property from theft.”
RE: H.R. 5889 and S. 2913, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act ,” by Don Schaefer Don Schaefer Studio

“ [T]he concept of creating an inclusive, cost effective database for imagery is impossible. I represented 400,000 images, had 500 portfolios of artists online, verified listings of 50,000 graphic artists, and I know the time and cost for creating databases. Not possible. Not feasible. Not cost effective. And if there were multiple, smaller databases, not workable.”
– “Orphan Works Compliance: An Impossible Burden for Small Businesses,” by Alexis Scott, Publisher of The Workbook and

“The ‘unknown’ entities that will be developing and running the yet nonexistent searchable databases...are set to gain millions from the revenues our artwork can bring them!
– “Why I oppose the Shawn Bentley Orphan Acts of 2008,” by Gail Green, Gail Green Licensing & Design Ltd

“I fought for the rights of Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. Others made millions while Superman's creators lived in near poverty. Jerry was a clerk and Joe was a legally blind man who lived in his brother's apartment, slept on a cot and worked as a messenger. I met and fought for their small remaining rights when they both turned only 60 years old...The battle took months and the settlement was meager, but it let the men live the remaining years of their lives with dignity. You know what they cared about most? They cared about having their names, once again, associated with their character, Superman! Why? Because it was what they were as people. They were their work. Why do we have copyright law? Because we wish to protect people and their creations, even if they are ‘hard to locate.’”
– “Orphaned Works Legislation,” by Neal Adams, Artist

“Clearly, if an image isn’t ‘found’ in a private registry, it is fair game according to your law. That’s millions, maybe hundreds of millions of images online right now that are not registered, have no statement of copyright or ownership, and will likely not be registered or removed by the time this legislation goes into effect.”
– Harry S. Murray, Letter to Ms. Marybeth Peters Register of Copyrights United States Copyright Office

“How would a person from Arkansas or Nigeria know about this law, that it even exists, that it affects him, that he has to register in an American registry for a fee, to protect his wedding picture or pictures of his children from being used by an American corporation or a non-for-profit-organization that may reflect values that are against his religion or his ethics which could add insult to injury?”
– Andre Cornellier, Copyright Chair and Ewan Nicholson, President/ Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communication

“No member of our Society would have the time or financial means to track any unwarranted, illegal activity on the internet, let alone pursue claims against multiple parties that may avail themselves of any artwork. Nor would any illustrator have the resources to register significant collections of current and past works with a proposed system that would offer little or no protection.
– Frank M. Costantino, ASAI, SI, JARA, FSAI Co-Founder, American Society of Architectural Illustrators/ Vice-Chairman, American Society of Illustrators Partnership

“In 2006, I registered 58,731 images, and in 2007, 71,919 images. If a registry charged $0.50 per image to submit and process, I would have to pay $29,365.50 to protect my 2006 images, and $35,959.50 to protect my 2007 images, for just those years.
–“ Testimony Concerning How the Proposed Orphan Works Bill Will Economically Impact Photographers,” by John Harrington, Professional Photographer

“Total scanning, personnel, overhead= $262,560. Additionally, I would have to supervise the operation, losing about two months per year.”
– Photographer MK (NY) in response to internal poll by Advertising Photographers of America

“Even if the scanning charge were $ .25 per image, which is FAR below the current scanning prices available today, That would cost me approximately one half million dollars ( (2,500,000 images x 80%) x .25= $500,000--).”
– Photographer GF (SC) in response to internal poll by Advertising Photographers of America

“In addition to the cost of getting images ready for input into one of these registries/databases, there is the time/cost of uploading these images... which could take as long as it took to digitize the images...add another 20+ years, or another $859K.”
– Photographer RR (NY) in response to internal poll by Advertising Photographers of America

“If these fees were $1 per image, I would incur an additional $1,000,000 in registration expense.”
– Photographer JS (CA) in response to internal poll by Advertising Photographers of America

“Scanning would be over 2 million dollars to include keywording from an outside source. This is a very complicated operation and would take hours of my time to prepare. It's too expensive.”
– Photographer JS (NC) in response to internal poll by Advertising Photographers of America

“The burden of this nightmarish bureaucracy would be overwhelming in expense and complexity for artists. I can speak from personal experience that anyone who has been painting or drawing for any length of time is likely to have thousands of works of art that he would have to pay to digitize and file with one of these companies. And, the Copyright Office has made it clear that failure to register a work with these private companies would automatically render it an orphan, available to be copied by infringers with impunity.”
– Frank Stella, Artist

“If I had to scan all the images I have made in the past 40 years... in order to post them to a registry, the burden of such an expense would cripple me...[F]or the past 40 years I have been building a library of my creative work believing that this was my retirement and my estate. If I have no protection of this work than my estate will have been essentially bankrupted.”
–Barbara Bordnick Photography

“[T]he business model that would be created from this legislation...would doom such a large portion of the creative community that the end result would drastically reduce the artistic diversity our country has prided itself on and the rest of the world has been envious of.”
– Photographer RB (NC)

“[S]ince the expense of registering works will be born by the creative community the expense of copyright protection will be socialized while the profit of creative endeavors will be privatized. “
– Orphan Works Statement By David Rhodes President, School of Visual Arts

“Even if we digitize our artwork, paid to have it uploaded on private databases, thousands and thousands of artists would not, could not or wouldn’t know that they would have to do this extra work to protect their copyrights.”
– Lynn Reznick Parisi, Business Manager Atlantic Feature Syndicate/off the mark cartoons

“The Copyright Office ignores the realities of the market place and places the rights of copyright owners at great risk.” -“Are all Copyright Owners to Become Orphans?”
–Cheryl Hodgson, Esq., President, California Copyright Conference

“Why would conflict photographers who risk their lives on a daily basis to cover important news stories so the world can remain informed, be willing to do so if they thought their work could and would be easily appropriated by others?
–Debra Weiss, Creative Consultant

“When a manufacturer wants to feature an artist’s work on one or more of their products, it is important to them that they are the only company who has the right to reproduce that design on that particular product. If other manufacturers are able to put the same design on the same product then it hurts the licensee.”
–Joanne Fink, President, Lakeside Design

“By opening the floodgates to unauthorized use of protected works, the legislation will result in a tidal wave of litigation as the result of rampant and widespread violation of the rights of publicity and rights of privacy of persons pictured in the orphan works...This wave of litigation between models, photographers and the users of orphan works over publicity and privacy rights will be a particularly disastrous consequence of the proposed amendment.”
–Constance Evans, National Executive Director, Advertising Photographers of America

“As an inspirational painter of children, my work is licensed to manufacturers and businesses. The Orphan Works Act of 2008 will create tremendous overhead for my business and an ethics challenge for controlling my message. The message is as important as the artwork; it is my ministry and my career.”
– Kathy Andrews Fincher, Kathryn Andrews Fincher, LLC

“Biomedical and scientific illustrators are not opposed to usage of orphaned works by the cultural heritage sector for noncommercial purposes, or use by museums and libraries for preservation and education. However this legislation makes no limitations for these purposes and will dangerously expose copyrighted visual content to infringements while stripping the intellectual property holders of any practical means to protect their work.”
–Biomedical and Scientific Illustrators' Opposition to the Orphan Works Act of 2008

“The infringer is free to use any work in any manner—there are no restrictions on how a particular work may be used. One of our members recordings could end up in a motion picture—of any rating—a political advertisement or other commercial, or in a mashup that will alter the sound quality and characteristics of the original recording beyond recognition.”
– American Association of Independent Music (“A2IM”)
“Position Paper on the Current Proposed Orphan Works Legislation in the United States

“The Advertising Photographers of America (APA), the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the Stock Artists Alliance (SAA) and Editorial Photographers (EP) have all stated they cannot support the Orphan Works bills in their current form. Together, these groups represent more professional media photographers than other U.S. organizations.”
–From “Leading Photographer Associations Urge Congress to Amend Orphan Works Legislation”

“The inherent danger in remixing a medical animation or illustration is that ignorant people can change the meaning, intention or scientific accuracy of an image. They can damage the reputation of the studio from where the work originated.”
–Dena L. Matthews Biomedical Illustrator

“I was the plaintiff in a recent copyright infringement case and I can testify that the full remedies of the current law were necessary for me to prevail...The case took me four years and nearly $100,000 in legal fees, but I was able to prove that the infringement was a willful act, conducted in bad faith by a major corporation.”
– How Camel Cigarettes Orphaned My Work” by Michiko Stehrenberger

“Not only was my art desecrated and devalued in the ‘Orphaning’ process but my original specialized art was made to compete with me to my own client while others in the chain of infringements monetarily gained from its value and I received none.”
–“Orphan Works, Unmasked” by Andrea Mistretta

“Big publishing companies can ensure that their works are never orphaned...Even the Copyright Clearance Center insists that it is not possible to track the use of illustrations which appear in published work. Thus, they refuse to pay compensation to artists, even though those artists often retain all rights, including reprographic rights - to their work. If the CCC is correct that it’s impossible to track ownership of illustrations, then virtually all published artwork may be designated as orphaned.”
– James Perkins, Medical Illustrator

“NARIP takes issue with this legislation because there is no responsibility to the creative community, it's all about users. We've seen a remarkable shift from incentivizing creators and enabling them to protect their personal property, to ‘let’s provide a means and find a way to protect infringers so we can make sure they're not prosecuted.’ ”
–By Tess Taylor, National Association of Record Industry Professionals

“The Orphan Works bill has the potential to erode the protection that copyright owners have fought for over many years. It puts the burden on the copyright owner to find the offending parties and either negotiate with them without the remedies currently available to bring about reasonable compensation or bring costly litigation. In short, for copyright owners, the Orphan Works bill is a disaster.”
–Attorney Steve Winogradsky, Past President, Association of Independent Music Publishers and California Copyright Conference

“In 2004, the Copyright Office initiated a theory, with the enthusiastic support of the anti-copyright lobby, that the public was being harmed because it didn’t have enough current contact information for authors and owners. The Copyright Office then requested Orphan Works legislation without having conducted a needs assessment study, an independent audit of its registration and copyright history records, an economic impact analysis, or an evaluation on how the public, society and authors would be affected by reduced quantity and quality of art, film, television, music, video games and other copyrighted works in the future.”
–Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) and California Copyright Conference (CCC) Joint Position Paper on Orphan Works Legislation

“The steps taken by illustrators over the past few years to address similar changes in their marketplace demonstrate that the incentives of the marketplace should be allowed to work without government intervention such as the Orphan Works Act, a bill that will permanently weaken the rights to the work these stakeholders create.”
–Terrence Brown, Executive Director, American Society of Illustrators Partnership

“As an artists advocate for over 20 years...I am deeply concerned that the drafters of the legislation clearly did not do the needed research and outreach to the artists advocates,, the artists community, the small business community, and the ‘minority’ communities before crafting the language of this legislation.”
–Kathleen Bitetti, Artist and Executive Director, Artists Foundation

“[W]hile the Copyright Office proposal immediately and unfairly prejudices the little guys in the creative economy, it sets a long term precedent that eventually could come back to haunt even those with deep pockets to defend themselves like Hollywood and Silicon Valley.”
– “Orphan Works Legislation – a Bad Deal for Artists,” by Bruce Lehman, Esq., Former Commissioner US Patent & Trademark Office

“Illustration work allows me to provide for my family; teaching allows me to give back to the community. My belief in stewardship brings me to the Orphaned Work Bills. This legislation strikes at the core of what we are as illustrators, how we do our business and why we chose to be illustrators.”
– CF Payne, Artist

The SBA Roundtable is the only forum so far conducted by the government to consider the economic impact of the Orphan Works Act on creators. The Roundtable was chaired by Tom Sullivan, Director of the Office of Advocacy of the SBA. It was initiated by the Illustrators’ Partnership, The Artists Rights Society and the Advertising Photographers of America. It was conducted by the SBA August 8, 2008 at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. Seventeen panelists participated. Scores of others submitted written papers.

The full written statements are now available as five PDFs.

Part 1: Illustrators, Fine Artists, Art Licensors, Art Educators, Copyright Attorneys

Part 2: Cartoonists

Part 3: Photographers

Part 4: Musicians & Writers

Part 5: Amendments to H.R. 5889 & S. 2913
Articles in the Press
Submission to 2005 Copyright Office Study

To review the agenda, the panelists and their biographies, go to the IPA blog:

The webcast is available here:


Phone, fax, email these congressman immediately:

Delahunt phone (202) 225 3111 fax (202) 225-5658
phone: (617) 770-3700 fax: (617) 770-2984

Conyers phone: (202) 225-5126 fax: (202) 225-0072
phone: (313) 961-5670 fax: (313) 226-2085

Nadler phone: (202) 225-5635 fax: (202) 225-6923
phone: (212) 367-7350 fax: (212) 367-7356

Berman phone: (202) 225-4695 fax: (202) 225-3196
phone: (818) 994-7200 fax: (818) 994-1050

Express your outrage at the way this is being done

We've been getting assurances all day that the bill was "dead for this year."

Tell them not to pass this anti-copyright law

• under cover of night
• under cover of economic crisis
• under cover of another televised debate

Tell them this is an outrageous way to re-write the copyright laws of the United States

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Orphan Works Bill: Not Dead Till It’s Dead

Wired Magazine has posted an article: “'Orphan Works' Copyright Law Dies Quiet Death” Well, we can hope. But we’re dealing with a.) a fluid situation in Washington; and b.) special interests determined to pass this bill. So our assessment:

It’s not dead till it’s dead.

According to our DC sources, the most efficient way for Congress to pass this bill now would be for the House to scrap their own version and adopt the Senate’s. There are procedural ways they can do this. Some say they will; some say they won’t. It’s enough to know they can.

There are special interest groups promoting the House bill now: big stock houses, for example, like Getty and Corbis, and groups working with them. They want an infringer-friendly “dark archive,” a privately-owned “entity” sanctioned by the Copyright Office where infringers would file a notice of intent to infringe a work.

Since artists would not have access to this dark archive, the “sanctioned entity” would be of no use to us until our work has been infringed and we’ve file a case in federal court. And then it would mostly serve the interests of infringers – letting them prove in court they had done the minimal necessary paperwork before they infringed.

The important thing to remember about the House bill is that there is no protection for artists in it. It would simply give more middlemen a chance to profit from this gutting of copyright law.

We know it’s hard to ask Congress to focus on copyright law with a financial crisis looming. But we didn’t pick this fight and it’s our rights at stake if we don’t.

There is no national emergency for orphan works that requires Congress to pass this bill - which was drafted in secret - in the dark of night.

Please contact your House representative today. Tell them not to pass the House bill. Tell them not to adopt the Senate’s.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership


Please post or forward this message immediately to any interested party.