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NCS urges opposition to Orphan Works Act of 2008

The National Cartoonists Society board and Stu Rees, NCS Attorney, have sent out the following email to its members asking them to oppose the Orphan Works Act of 2008 that is currently making its way through congress.

Dear National Cartoonists Society Member:

The NCS Board and Stu Rees (NCS legal counsel) are taking the unusual step of urging you to write Congress in opposition to the pending Orphan Works Act of 2008. If enacted, this radical legislation will undermine key elements of your copyright protection. The House and Senate have different versions of the bill, and there are likely to be some modifications, but nothing under serious consideration makes this legislation remotely acceptable.

To take action, simply click this link ( http://capwiz.com/illustratorspartnership/home/ ) and select one of the form letters. We recommend the letter titled â??For Visual Artists â?? Any Image Can Be Infringedâ?. All youâ??ll need to do is add your contact information at the bottom of the page and press â??Send Messageâ?. Itâ??s as easy as it is important.

For those of you who want to take an even more active role, contact Lynn Reznick Parisi ( lynn[at]offthemarkcartoons[dot]com ) for easy and effective ideas.

If you want to discuss the legislation, feel free to email or call Stu ( 619-297-4001, stu@stus.com ).

/s/ Jeff Keane, NCS President

On behalf of the National Cartoonists Society

/s/ Stu Rees, Attorney for the NCS

Ed. Note: I’ve altered Lynn’s email above to deter spam. Replace ‘[at]’ and ‘[dot]’ with @ and . to send email.

Community Comments

#1 Randy Glasbergen
May/12/2008
@ 9:16 am

Thanks to the NCS for making it easy to send the form letters. I’m confident that my letter to Senator Clinton will receive the highest priority in her schedule. Hahahahahahaha

#2 Ted Rall
May/12/2008
@ 9:40 am

The Orphan Works Act is worrisome. But Randy (Hi, Randy! It’s been too long, but still like your stuff!) is right: Form letters, especially form e-mails, are a gi-normous waste of time.

By far the most effective means of contacting a legislator is by phone, at their office. Their aides track calls and take note of constituent feedback. Second is personal letters, printed out on paper. Third is personal e-mail, and that’s a distant third.

Of course, cartoonists also have the ability to discuss issues in their work.

In short: Google your Congressman and Senator’s office phone number and call. Then write a letter. Then draw a picture.

#3 Gregory Fink
May/12/2008
@ 2:56 pm

Not to sound too foolish, but isn’t this the bill that would allow things like fantagraphics excellent Krazy & Ignatz series to continue existing without paying a huge set of fees to the syndicates? Does anyone have a link to the bill or want to sum up the main points of it so I can better understand the concern of current creators in regards to their copyrights?

Thanks,

Greg

#4 Pab Sungenis
May/12/2008
@ 4:08 pm

The Orphan Works bills are a joke. They’d make real copyright enforcement impossible for little guys, yet corporate behemoths (read: Disney) can still keep copyrights for nearly a century.

A more effective tactic would be to go back to requiring copyrights be renewed every 15 years, for a maximum of 75.

#5 Jeff Stanson
May/12/2008
@ 8:19 pm

Copyrights should be capped at 75 years, but with a “original work intact” restriction. This would mean that revising the work in any form other than upgrading production quality is always a violation. In short, anyone could produce reprints of comics or DVDs of movies older than 75 years, and anyone can legally own them, pass them around the Internet, show them in schools, etc. However, they couldn’t butcher the work for their own purposes. This means upgrading comic reprints or remastering movies would actually be of benefit to the producing. And all the while, syndicates, studios, publishers, etc., wouldn’t be able to make big bucks for hundreds of years on works that were meant to provide a livelihood for the creator(s) and be enjoyed by the masses. And, it must be retroactive!

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