Orphaned Works Act may make copyright protections history

Over on Daryl Cagle’s blog, he’s posted a very stirring reminder of a current bill making its way through the House that makes it easier for companies to reprint an artists work without proper compensation if the artist can not be identified.  As Daryl explains it:

The bill was proposed to deal with the problem of “orphan works” which are copyrighted works whose authors are difficult to identify or locate. Companies have complained that it is too hard for them to find the creators of art that they want to reproduce, so they want to change the law to allow them to reproduce the artwork without permission. The bill would legalize the commercial or non-commercial infringement of any work of art, past, present, and future, regardless of age, country of origin, published or unpublished, whenever the rights holder cannot be identified or located.

If a particular usage is challenged in court, the company only has to prove “reasonable diligent search.”

If this legislation will affect you (or even indirectly), please consider contacting your state represenative and especially those that are serving on the House Judiciary Committee.

For more information, you can visit Illustrator’s Partnership web site and get the names of those on the committee, use template letters to send to your representatives, etc.

To track the progress of this bill through this page.