Joan Website | Joan Bio | Joan Licensing Info | Joan Contact Info | Blog Main Page

Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
give me credit and link to my blog when using it on your site. Thanks.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Orphan Works is Back! Immediate Help Needed from ALL Artists by 7/23/15 ! ! !

The US Copyright Office wants to hear from artists and others in the art business on how art is being monetized, enforced, and registered under the existing Copyright Act. The information collected from the letters submitted will be used during the Copyright Office purposed five-year pilot program addressing Orphan Works and Mass Digitization. The results from this pilot program will most likely determine what will be included in the new Copyright Act to be sent to Congress for approval. As artists and others in the art industry, we need to tell the Copyright Office how Orphan Works will impact our business if it is incorporated in the new Copyright Act!

Please submit a letter ASAP to the Copyright Office! For information on what to include in the letter and to see an example of a letter, read "Orphan Works - Sample letter to Copyright office" by artist Annie Troe.  

Also view "Artists Alert: From the Illustrators Partnership The Return of Orphan Works Part 2: Artists"Letters" to get links to more examples of letters sent to the Copyright Office.

DEADLINE to submit letters to the Copyright Office is 7/23/15 !!!

• What is Orphan Works?
According to "Copyright Office proposes pilot program for extended collective licensing to address mass digitization" report "Orphan Works are works where the copyright owner cannot be identified or located. As the Copyright Alliance observes, this compromises the ability of a potential user to seek permission or negotiate licensing terms. The legislation would apply to all categories of copyrighted works as well as to all types of uses and users who engage in a good faith diligent search. The Office concluded that existing features of the current copyright system, such as voluntary and licensing agreements, best practices documents or the fair use doctrine, do not sufficiently address the legal uncertainty of the mass digitization of protected works."

"The demand for copyright 'reform' has come from large Internet firms and legal scholars allied with them. Their business models involve supplying the public with access to other people's copyrighted work. Their problem has been how to do this legally and without paying artists." is stated by Brad Holland in "The Return of Orphan Works: The Next Great Copyright Act".

• How Orphan Works will Impact Artists
– Brad Holland in "The Return of Orphan Works: The Next Great Copyright Act" states:

"The Next Great Copyright Act" would replace all existing copyright law.
1. It would void our Constitutional right to the exclusive control of our work.
2. It would "privilege" the public's right to use our work.
3. It would "pressure" you to register your life's work with commercial registries.
4. It would "orphan" unregistered work.
5. It would make orphaned work available for commercial infringement by "good faith" infringers.
6. It would allow others to alter your work and copyright those "derivative works" in their own names.
7. It would affect all visual art: drawings, paintings, sketches, photos, etc.; past, present and future; published and unpublished; domestic and foreign.

– To learn more about the impact on artist work if Orphan Works Act is passed by Congress, view the video by Brad Holland "Everything You Know about Copyright Is About To Change - Brad Holland.

• Conclusion
Twice, Orphan Works Acts have failed to pass Congress because of strong opposition from visual artists, spearheaded by the Illustrators Partnership. It was the teamwork and support of visual artists all over America calling and writing to their congressional leaders that made the difference.

This is the first step in the once again fight to defeat Orphan Works. Please submit a letter ASAP to the Copyright Office!

Make sure you read the comments to this article!!! Some give additional information and some share horror stories about infringement of their work. 

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/ ).

33 comments:

  1. Joan! I am such a HUGE fan of your blog! I really appreciate the link to my letter - you are the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie, I'm so happy that you teamed up with me to keep artists informed and help them write a letter to submit to the Copyright Office.

      Delete
  2. Thank you, Joan, for alerting members of the art licensing community about this looming deadline. Thanks to you and others, many more letters will reach the Copyright Office in time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone in the art industry is informed about Orphan Works from the many articles posted on blogs and they write a letter to the Copyright Office.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the heads up. I just submitted my letter and share with my artist friends!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks very much Joan, Annie
    and Kat (who forwarded your link to our group),
    I just submitted my letter, too, and am sending your link onward to the artist friends not in our group!

    ReplyDelete
  5. How does this work in an international arena when each country has its own copyright laws? I'd be interested in hearing your take on this Joan.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Carrie, The Orphan Works Act if passed would only apply to the United States but many artists that live in the foreign countries license their art to US manufacturers and that would apply to their work also. However, I have no idea how publication and other companies that are pushing for Orphan Works can distinguish if art is created in the US or a foreign country. I can image that it could turn really ugly if they indiscriminately use art (and it will happen) no matter where it was created and foreign artists start complaining. After all, art from all over the world can be accessed on the Internet. Also, if Orphan Works Act becomes law in the US, it may be used as a precedent to pass similar copyright laws in other countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wrote and submitted something, too. I'm looking forward to reading all the comments when they're published by the USCO. There's a reply period afterwards with a deadline in August that may be a window of opportunity to respond to anything we deem necessary. Making it easier to use other people's work is the wrong direction for the USCO to go. We need to be able to enforce the laws already on the books before we start weakening them for special interests' agendas.

      Delete
  7. Thank you, Joan, for helping raise awareness about this important issue!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Joan for bringing this to our attention.This is so important and will affect so many people if we don't protest it. I sent my letter.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for putting out this information. I will write a short piece in my FB account and include this blog-link. I will then send that along to the copyright office. I have been ripped off by huge corporations, like King Features Syndicate in the past. Had it not been for the existing copyright laws, I would not have been able to fight them. This "Orphan Work" act is just a way for non-creative companies with no ideas of their own, to steal work they find on the internet and own if for themselves, making every artist a slave to those who are too lazy, greedy and low to buy art from the producers. Our art is reproduced against our permission every day! Just because a hundred people posted it somewhere on the net. This doesn't mean something was orphaned. It means it was KIDNAPPED. And we artists won't even get a ransom note anymore. I plan to put an end to this idea. You should have everyone you know post this two Twitter and FB. We need a massive movement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "This doesn't mean something was orphaned. It means it was KIDNAPPED. And we artists won't even get a ransom note anymore." I hope you worked this into your letter, because it is brilliant and spot on. I am a writer and an artist. I put a poem on the internet...with my name on it...and within two weeks, someone has taken it and posted it on Facebook or elsewhere, with no credit at all or credited to anonymous/unknown. Then, before you know it, you can't find ANY way to trace it back to me. Why should I (or you or any creator) be punished by others' sense of entitlement and laziness. It's the same with my artwork. I put it online with a copyright notice ON the image and before I know it, it's being sold by someone else...giving others the permission to use it for commercial purposes! I found someone a week ago who'd distributed hundreds of illegal copies of my work (which had my copyright notice on it) within a couple of months' time. Things are GOING to get orphaned, because people are thoughtless and don't give creative work the respect it deserves and as creatives, we can either 1) create 2) spend all our lives policing the internet or 3) some mix of the two...but no matter our choice, there are going to be some things we do not find. Creative work deserves more respect, not less.

      Delete
    2. Excellent analogy, that it isn't orphaned, it's kidnapped! :)

      Delete
  10. Thank you Joan. Making everyone aware is key. The deadline is looming and this would cause such an impact on ALL CREATIVES. I always appreciate your posts and this is right up there. My letter is sent and I have been posting online to assist in this effort. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks so much for sharing this info. Joan. I'm going to share it to my FB groups too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so much for sharing!✨💖✨ I'm passing it along too

    ReplyDelete
  13. do you recommend that artists outside USA send letters to Congress, and if so, to whom should they be addressed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! They can post as well. http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/comment-form/

      Delete
  14. Tutor,
    If you are selling or licensing your work in the United States, I recommend you submitting a letter to the US Copyright office. The link to submit the letter as well as a link to another post explaining what to say in the letter and an example of one already sent to the Copyright Office is in the above blog article. Right now the Copyright Office is gathering information from artists on how they make money from their art. It wouldn't hurt to mention how Orphan Works would hurt your business.

    It is too early to start submitting letters to Congress. Once the Copyright Office finishes their study and if they decide to go forward with an Orphan Works bill, that is when we will need to send articles to Congress.
    Joan

    ReplyDelete
  15. If this law is passed it would essentially put all active on line licensed product and print artists/photographers out of business! Why? It would allow anyone anywhere to take your art and use the Orphan Law as a legitimate excuse to legally use most any image taken from online sources/products etc. and to sell it in a competitive form against its original owner/creator. As the owner of JQ Licensing I know that most of our artists we represent do not register their works on a regular basis, it simply is to expensive to do that. They register them when the have an infringement issue. So these non registered (Orphaned Images) these artist had on the internet through their own web, licensing sites, etc that were not registered would instantly become essentially public domain images. In my opinion licensing would be over due to the amount of companies having free reign to most images worldwide to use them at their own free will to sell back into the licensed product market under the BS excuse of the orphan act. And on the other Orphan Act issue of showing Good Faith you tried to find the artist/original creator, regarding an image you want to use that you found on the internet... Having been involved in over 240 copyright infringements with my own art, the one thing I know for sure is that once your images are on the internet and being stolen by others the (infringers) remove your name from the image... The only way to stop infringement is by USING the current Copyright Laws on the books. It works, so leave it as it is. If you think China is an issue now for intellectual property theft, just wait! " NOT EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET IS FREE"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly what I wrote to the Copyright Office. This would be a nightmare for Customs too. I work in China frequently and taught Copyright 18 years ago at a major University. This proposal is Communism and 180 degrees in the opposite direction form US copyright laws that protected the individual/entity who created the work in the first place.

      Delete
  16. A WONDERFUL seminar from Brad Holland and Will Terry explains this complicated issue... Watch it on YouTube here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDoztLDF73I

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have submitted my letter to the copyright office just now.
    Thank you for alerting us to this!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks so much for this info Joan!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for this Joan. I wrote my letter this morning - just in time. A friend of mine shared your blog with me, and I'm glad she did and pleased to find your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. For a counter point, please see:
    http://www.workmadeforhire.net/the-rest/whats-this-orphan-works-business-about/

    My question is: How does not registering your work somehow make it an Orphaned Work? As long as you clearly keep a trail between you and your works, it would never be Orphaned, even if it wasn't registered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, a different point of view is always welcome. I read the article to the link you posted and found it surprising that no mention was made of the author of the article or the name of the person who owns the blog. I assume the writer of the article is the blog owner but no name is given. Instead in the "about" section of the blog it states "I am a nerd, I'm also an attorney, obsessed with negotiation, a former actress, a current writer, and a forever student . . ." I find that a point of view is more creditable if the author at least states her name instead of being anonymous.

      Unfortunately, artists are not always able to keep a trail between themselves and their art. As an example, when licensing their work to manufacturers, many times manufacturers remove the artists name from the face of the art and place it elsewhere on the product or don't even put it on the product. These manufacturers claim that a copyright notice and artists name detract from the art. Thus, when they market the product in advertisements and on the Internet there is no mention of who created the work. That causes orphans especially if artists do not show their work on the Internet because they have protected websites.

      Delete
  21. Joan, Is there any up-date on the status of this Orphan Works situation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie, I haven't recently heard anything about Orphan Works or could find any recent articles on the internet or on the US copyright Office website. It was my understanding that the Copyright Office was planning on doing a two year study on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization so we may not hear anything more until that is completed. Joan

      Delete