Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Say No to Orphans

If they are bills about copyright! OK in a nutshell, back in the 1970s, congress passed copyright legislation that make it unnecessary to even put the © and year on any work of art. Long as it had your name on it, you owned the copyright. But now in the on-going effort to hurt the little guy, some of those "large" intellects in DC have decided that this needs to be changed so that in order to "own" your copyright you have to register your work and pay $30 to do so!
Here's the letter that one website is asking artists to send to congress: We the undersigned do strongly protest the introduction of HR 5439, also known as "The Orphan Works Act of 2006." This bill, while it may initially seem to protect citizens from excessive suit by a copyright holder, greatly infringes upon the creative rights of artists, writers and musicians in the United States.
Under current copyright law, a work is considered to be copyright immediately upon creation, and is the intellectual property of the creator. Under the new law, a work would be considered "orphaned" immediately upon creation and would not be considered copyrighted until it was registered at the copyright office for a fee of $30.
While thirty dollars may seem to many like an insignificant cost, there are many artists (the phrase "artists" will hereon be made to mean any creator of a work of literature, art or music) who could not afford to register every one of their works. If the Congress will consider that many freelance artists make no more than $10 a work, it will understand that a law such as this would cripple the freelance art industry.
Freelance artists depend on the uniqueness of their work in order to make money. Consider that under the new Orphan Works bill, an infringer would be able to modify a work in so simple a way as to not change the main body of the work and still have the work be legally considered "derivative" and therefore ineligible for prosecution under the law. In light of these severe problems, we strongly urge the Congress to vote down HR 5439, the Orphan Works Bill of 2006. Please go here and let your elected representatives know they should vote against it.
It's not as though I'm against making derivatives or using appropriated materials as an artist, it's that this bill is on the side of the big corporate interests (Hallmark maybe?) and not for the artist. I do plan to use a creative commons approach to some of my work one of these days.

Speaking of derivatives, here's two of my experiments with more mucking while going from raw to tiff files.

Above is Lotus 2 and the below is Lotus 6 We can even pretend we're on a radio station, because I'll give away a 5 x 7 print of either one of these to the 6th person who emails me via this blog! And if you see either of these being used by any corporate card makers, let me know so I can send in the sharks, I mean attorneys!
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