Monday, October 13, 2008

Hippo Press Orphan Works Blurb

The free weekly newspaper THE HIPPO (available in the Manchester and Nashua areas of New Hampshire) spotlights the Orphan Works Bill and its effect on ... well, me, of all people.

Staff writer Heidi Masek has the story:

Local Color
Copyright blues

By Heidi Masek

• Whose work? While toiling over a bailout, the U.S. Senate also passed the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 (S 2913) Sept. 27. The House of Representatives had not passed a version Oct. 6. Michael Lynch of Milton, N.H., is the national representative for the National Cartoonists Society. He explained that the first few paragraphs of the legislation “sound friendly” but actually the bill makes it easier for corporations to use images as theirs if they can’t find the owners. Present copyright law is “basically fine,” but Orphan Works would set up a registry for artwork in addition, which is one of the most controversial aspects, Lynch said. It would require anyone from a painter to a graphic novel creator to most likely pay per image they register or risk work being classified as “orphaned.” “Instead of me producing cartoons, I would probably have to go into the drywall business, which is the standard joke around cartoonists,” Lynch said. Lynch’s illustrations have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Playboy, among other publications ( The Illustrators Partnership of America ( is organizing a fight against the legislation and lists more than 75 creators’ groups that oppose the bill.

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