Okay...I have never been the kind of person to be politically active. It tends to put people off, and I don't like making people mad at me. And God forbid I should be labeled as a radical or something just as stupid. At 40 years of age, I've voted once in my life, and it was, in retrospect, the wrong choice. But recently, I've been hearing quite a buzz about a 'new' old bill that could be going before congress. It's called The Orphan Works Act. Back in 2006, this act was not passed, but it is being re-worded and gone over again, ready to be sent back to Congress. There is alot of 'he said - she said' about this legislation, and I feel that it affects all artisans, no matter your craft of choice, and I wanted to give you a couple of view points of both sides of it, so that you can make up your own minds. There is a petition out there, the link is below, against this legislation. I Googled this bill myself, and tho I really didn't want to wade through the immensely boring and long winded Act itself, I have also included a link to the 2006, non-updated version.
I signed the online petition. Simply because I do not believe in ANY legislation that could even remotely be construed to interfere with, injure or otherwise impede, my right to my own hard work, or my ability to be compensated for it...my copyright is MY COPYRIGHT...not Joe Q. Public, no matter how it's worded, or who words it that way. (in other words...I don't like being told what to do with my own art)
I don't want to coerce anyone into doing anything without having both ends of the argument out where they can see it. So follow the links and make up your own minds. Whatever you do...DON'T JUST SIT THERE THINKING IT WILL GO AWAY!! Good or bad, this is not just going to disappear. Tell people about it, do what you have to do to get word out about it, whether you are for it or against it. And remember...It's always better to be pro-active then reactive...once you have to react, it's usually too late to do any good.
Here is the Orphan Works Act of 2006 from the Library of Congress. Do your own Google search as well. Be informed, people...read it and study it. It DOES matter.
In the following blog, Meredith Patterson states that the law doesn't even exist, that the buzz that's being created is idiotic and retarded. Form your own views on this one folks...I know I have.
In this article, from Mark Simon, you get a completely opposite version of the story, letting you know that your art can be stolen and there really won't be a whole lot you can do about it. Again, make your own INFORMED decisions here.
Now, no...Congress does not have, as far as I can assertain, the actual Orphan Works Act of 2008 in their hot little hands...or at least they haven't released it yet. However, they did get together to work on re-working the 2006 version back in March...and I doubt they would waste their time with that if they weren't going to try it again. Here's a link to the pdf of that Congressional testimony.
Now, if, when you have read all there is to read about this that you can find, you want to sign the online petition, you can find it here.
I signed it, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm signer #6780.
As it stands now, your work is copyrighted the instant you create it. Free. You don't need to register it, tho many people do..this costs money and can be quite cost prohibitive to those of us who literally fall into the Starving Artists category. Don't sit by and do nothing and think 'Ah well, someone else will take care of it'. Trust me...they won't.
I am now getting off my soap box... there will be more of 'The Color of the Day Is...' tomorrow.