ALL ARTISTS MUST READ THIS:
April 10, 2008
By Mark Simon
As you know, I usually handle the subjects in my articles with a sense of humor. That is not the case this month. I find nothing funny about the new Orphan Works legislation that is before Congress.
In fact, it PISSES ME OFF!
As an artist, you have to read this article or you could lose everything you've ever created!
An Orphaned Work is any creative work of art where the artist or copyright owner has released their copyright, whether on purpose, by passage of time, or by lack of proper registration. In the same way that an orphaned child loses the protection of his or her parents, your creative work can become an orphan for others to use without your permission.
If you don't like to read long articles, you will miss incredibly important information that will affect the rest of your career as an artist. You should at least skip to the end to find the link for a fantastic interview with the Illustrators' Partnership about how you are about to lose ownership of your own artwork.
Currently, you don't have to register your artwork to own the copyright. You own a copyright as soon as you create something. International law also supports this. Right now, registration allows you to sue for damages, in addition to fair value.
What makes me so MAD about this new legislation is that it legalizes THEFT! The only people who benefit from this are those who want to make use of our creative works without paying for them and large companies who will run the new private copyright registries.
These registries are companies that you would be forced to pay in order to register every single image, photo, sketch or creative work.
It is currently against international law to coerce people to register their work for copyright because there are so many inherent problems with it. But because big business can push through laws in the United States, our country is about to break with the rest of the world, again, and take your rights away.
With the tens of millions of photos and pieces of artwork created each year, the bounty for forcing everyone to pay a registration fee would be enormous. We lose our rights and our creations, and someone else makes money at our expense.
This includes every sketch, painting, photo, sculpture, drawing, video, song and every other type of creative endeavor. All of it is at risk!
If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we've created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run (by the friends and cronies of the U.S. government) registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won't successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free.
In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!
Why is this allowed to happen? APATHY and MONEY.
Artists have apathy and corporations have money.
We need to be heard in order to protect our incomes, our creations and our careers. GET OFF YOUR ASS!
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