Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All the Rights to Your Own Art
Two proponents of this new legislation are Corbis and Getty Images. They are large stock photo and stock art companies. They sell art and photos inexpensively and are trying to build giant royalty-free databases. Do you see how they could benefit from considering most works of art in the world orphans?
Do you know who owns Corbis? Bill Gates. He doesn't do anything unless it can make a huge amount of money. Helping you lose the copyright to your art is big business for Gates.
For years we've heard of Hollywood fighting with China to protect copyrights and stop the pirating of DVDs. Our government has worked with the studios to protect their investment.
Our government is NOW WORKING AGAINST US by allowing our own fellow citizens TO STEAL OUR CREATIVE WORKS.
It will be easy for them to get away with it unless we make ourselves heard.
Your calls and letters do work. I've seen many instances in which a single letter made a difference in public policy. Tens of thousands of calls and letters help even more.
This is not empty talk. I have written letters to my congressmen and I will do so again. I do what I can to let every creator know about terrible legislation like this... thus you are reading articles like this one and you can listen to interviews I've posted online.
CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR:
Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to quickly find the phone number, address and e-mail of every U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor and state legislator.
Forward this article to every creator you know and urge them to take a moment to protect their very livelihood. I am giving everyone the right to reprint this article in any form to help spread the word to protect our creative rights.
Instead of sitting around watching TV tonight, TiVo that show, write a letter and make yourself heard.
Letters to our government officials don't have to be long, but they should be heartfelt. A good story helps. Tell them who you are, how this legislation negatively affects you and that you want them to vote against the Orphan Works legislation. It's that easy!
If you don't, you will have only yourself to blame when you see other people making money from your art and you don't see a dime.
Spider-Man comic artist Alex Saviuk is also concerned about the loss of copyright protection. "When I found out all the negative aspects of the new legislation, it would almost behoove us to want to do something else for a living," says Saviuk. "If we would have to register with all the different companies, we would never be able to make a living."
"It would be impossible for me to register all my art," continues Saviuk. "It would put me out of business."
You can listen to my complete interview with Alex online. Think this doesn't apply to you? Maybe you don't license your artwork? How about this?
Photos on the internet could be orphaned. With tens of millions of photos shared online with services like Flickr, Shutterfly and Snapfish, there is a huge opportunity for unauthorized use of your photos... legally.
You could see photos you take of your family and kids, or of a family vacation, used in a magazine or newspaper without your permission or payment to you. You would have to pay to register your photos, all of them, in every new registry in order to protect them. Say the average person takes 300 photos per year (I take a lot more than that). If a registry only charges $5 per image, that is a whopping $1,500 to protect your photos that are protected automatically under the current laws. If there are three registries, protecting your images could cost an amazing $4,500. Not to mention the time it would take to register every photo you take. Plus, you will also have to place your copyright sign on every photo.
That's not including all your art, sketches, paintings, 3D models, animations, etc. Do you really have all that extra time and money? Plus, even if you do register, the people stealing your work can still claim it was orphaned and, unless you fight them, they win. Even if you win, you may not make back your legal fees.
It gets even better. Anyone can submit images, including your images. They would then be excused from any liability for infringement (also known as THEFT) unless the legitimate rights owner (you) responds within a certain period of time to grant or deny permission to use your work.
That means you will also have to look through every image in every registry all the time to make sure someone is not stealing and registering your art. You could actually end up illegally using your own artwork if someone else registers it. DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS?
Do you think the U.S. Copyright Office is here to protect you from this legislation? Think again.
Brad Holland of the Illustrators' Partnership shares his notes from a recent meeting with David O. Carson, general counsel of the Copyright Office.