While positioning on the the earlier OW bill was quite divided (earlier post + comments), looks like the Senate version of the Orphan Works bill gets huge thumbs down from all photography groups, as far as I can tell. I encourage you to take 5 minutes and follow instructions from the ASMP and APA on how to be heard. Sample letters and instructions after the jump – click the ‘continue reading’ link below:
The ASMP wants you to treat the Senate Orphan Works bill like this:
Re: S.2913, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008
On May 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved some revisions to its version of an Orphan Works amendment. You can see the full text of the bill, as revised, here. In spite of ASMP’s efforts, the bill does not provide even the minimum protections that ASMP considers necessary for photographers, and it is now time for the members to make their voices heard in the Senate.
We urge you to write to your Senators as soon as possible. You can find the name and contact information for your two Senators here. (After you have selected your state, your Senators will be the first two names in the list.) You can find a letter that you can copy and paste, print on your letterhead and fax to your Senators, here. Please feel free to change the wording as you wish.
It will take you only a few minutes to create and send these letters, but they will be some of the best used minutes of your career.
Thank you for your support in this important matter.
American Society of Media Photographers
and then offers this follow-up:
Dear ASMP Member,
The Call to action sent earlier to write your Senator contained a link to a sample letter. We have pasted the sample below for you to use as a template. It is very important that you make the specific request of your Senator that they vote “no” unless it includes specific language.
Please be sure you include the following language, “I urge you to oppose this bill unless and until it is amended to contain at least the minimum provisions that are critical to protect photographers, including but not limited to a notice of use that must be filed before the use is made, upon penalty of losing eligibility to claim orphan work status for failure to file the notice; an archive of the notices, to be maintained by the Copyright Office or an approved third party; and other protections that appear in the current (May 15, 2008) language of H.R. 5889.”
The full sample letter is posted below.
Re: S.2913 the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008
Dear Senator ________________________________:
I am one of your constituents, a professional photographer, and a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). It is crucial to my professional livelihood that you oppose this bill in its current form. If this bill’s current language becomes law, it would permit, and even encourage, wide-scale infringements of my copyrighted photographs while depriving me of many of the protections currently available to me under the Copyright Act, including the right to ask the courts to award statutory damages and attorneys’ fees. In the publication world, the reality is that most photographs will easily become considered orphaned, depriving me of a significant part of my much needed income.
I urge you to oppose this bill unless and until it is amended to contain at least the minimum provisions that are critical to protect photographers, including but not limited to a notice of use that must be filed before the use is made, upon penalty of losing eligibility to claim orphan work status for failure to file the notice; an archive of the notices, to be maintained by the Copyright Office or an approved third party; and other protections that appear in the current (May 15, 2008) language of H.R. 5889.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can provide you with any additional information. Thank you for your time. I hope that you will take the necessary actions to protect my interests and prevent the passage of this bill until it is amended to be fair and reasonable to all parties.
Respectfully yours, (your name)
The APA’s statement is similar to ASMP on The Senate version of the bill, but not on the House version. If you recall they oppose both Senate and House bills. The APA have a great resource page here.
Why wait? Contact your Senator today! 5 minutes of your time is a necessary investment.