Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Orphan Works: The Big Internet Factor


Orphan Works: The Big Internet Factor


On October 2, several professional organizations sent a letter to every member of Congress, calling attention to the role of big internet companies in orphan works legislation. Here's an excerpt:

"We believe these bills mask an effort by Big Internet companies to profit by undermining existing global intellectual property rights protections...

"The lobbying efforts to promote this legislation pit small entrepreneurs and artists of all kinds against some of the largest and most well-financed Internet powerhouses in America...

"We find it deeply disturbing that the U.S. Copyright Office has so clearly and unambiguously advocated legislation that will privilege large commercial interests such as Google at the expense of creators and the countless small businesses that serve, and are dependent on the creative community.

"We find this even more troubling in light of Google's substantial contribution to the Library of Congress at a time when the Copyright Office was preparing its Orphan Works recommendations -- and at a time when Google had acknowledged to the SEC that its financial well-being is dependent on a business model that has already engendered multiple lawsuits for copyright infringement totaling billions of dollars.

"Google and other large database, advertising and search engine companies clearly have a major financial stake in the weakening of copyright law through new legislation. The Orphan Works Acts, if enacted in either of its current forms, would solve the problem that has vexed so many start-up internet companies: how to make money by giving away free content. By opening the door to potentially billions of "permitted" infringements of protected copyrights, this legislation would allow Big Internet to create an entirely new business model, by licensing content they don't have to pay for - through the digitizing, archiving and monetizing of the intellectual property of ordinary citizens."

To read the full letter go to:

The letter is signed by representatives of:

The Illustrators' Partnership of America
The Advertising Photographers of America
The Artists Foundation
The National Writers Union
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
The National Cartoonists Society


Over 79 organizations oppose this bill, representing over half a million creators.

U.S. Creators and the image-making public can email Congress through the Capwiz site: 2 minutes is all it takes to tell the U.S. Congress to uphold copyright protection for the world's artists.

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS please fax these 4 U.S. State Agencies and appeal to your home representatives for intervention.

CALL CONGRESS: 1-800-828-0498. Tell the U.S. Capitol Switchboard Operator "I would like to leave a message for Congressperson __________ that I oppose the Orphan Works Act." The switchboard operator will patch you through to the lawmaker's office and often take a message which also gets passed on to the lawmaker. Once you're put through tell your Representative the message again.

If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list, email us at: Place "Add Name" in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.

Please post or forward this message to any interested party.

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