Slightly off topic, but original works of art may be in jeopardy due to a new bill

A friend of mine, and comic artist (the guy who did the great pictures of a lot of Circus-13 characters) just pointed me to this article about possible new copyright laws here in the US called The Orphan Bill.

Essentially what it boils down to is copyrights would no longer be handled by the government but by corporations.  Anyone see the problem with this yet?  It gets better.

Under current copyright law, you do NOT have to register your work of art (writing, drawing, music, etc) to have it copyrighted.  Under the new law, these will be called “orphans” (hence the name of the bill). Under the new law, anything that ISN’T registered with a company for copyright is considered and orphan and can be used by anyone (including businesses) and make a profit from it.  So you do a drawing, post it on DeviantArt, someone does a search, finds it’s not registered and can use it in an ad and they don’t owe you a cent, and you can’t do anything about it.  In fact, that person can register your art for copyright and then sue YOU if you use your own artwork.

Nice, huh?

Need more proof that this is a bad idea?  Here is an excerpt from the actual article by Mark Simon, on Animation World Magazine’s website.
“Photos on the internet could be orphaned. With tens of millions of photos shared online with services like Flickr, Shutterfly and Snapfish, there is a huge opportunity for unauthorized use of your photos… legally.

You could see photos you take of your family and kids, or of a family vacation, used in a magazine or newspaper without your permission or payment to you. You would have to pay to register your photos, all of them, in every new registry in order to protect them.Say the average person takes 300 photos per year (I take a lot more than that). If a registry only charges $5 per image, that is a whopping$1,500 to protect your photos that are protected automatically under the current laws. If there are three registries, protecting your images could cost an amazing $4,500. Not to mention the time it would take to register every photo you take. Plus, you will also have to place your copyright sign on every photo.

That’s not including all your art, sketches, paintings, 3D models, animations, etc. Do you really have all that extra time and money? Plus, even if you do register, the people stealing your work can still claim it was orphaned and, unless you fight them, they win. Even if you win, you may not make back your legal fees.

It gets even better. Anyone can submit images, including your images. They would then be excused from any liability for infringement(also known as THEFT) unless the legitimate rights owner (you) responds within a certain period of time to grant or deny permission to use your work.

That means you will also have to look through every image in every registry all the time to make sure someone is not stealing and registering your art. You could actually end up illegally using your own artwork if someone else registers it. DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS?

Do you think the U.S. Copyright Office is here to protect you from this legislation? Think again.”

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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