More Orphan Works

The Senate has just passed a version of the Orphan Works bill (officially the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act, S 2913) that is bad for our profession. We need to make sure that it does not pass the House and, therefore, we need your help. If you have not yet done so, visit the ASMP’s Orphan Works page. You can generate a contact to your representative in less than 1 minute.

For additional perspective, I wanted to direct you to a round-table style interview featuring photographer, John Harrington, photog/book author Dan Heller, and yours truly, hosted by photog/blogger Jim Goldstein for his podcast EXIF and Beyond.

I sussed out that Jim put us in the interview together as having three different roles: John, vehemently against OW; Dan as in favor of OW, and me as a photographer certainly against the legislation, but as a realist in terms of what we might be able to accomplish/expect given my experience defending my own copyright in court, and the current intellectual property landscape.

[BTW, it sure felt sneaky that this bill was pushed through the Senate amidst the media mayhem of the highly profiled first Presidential debate between Obama and McCain. While we were all tuned into that can of worms, it seems our Senators were busy ramming through some legislation they’d been sitting on for a while… Please move to squash the House version now.]

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Pat Meeroff says:

This stopped working tonight!!! BOOOOOOO!!!!

MJ is inside the shell out of whomever pays him to say whatever they want him to say. You should not expect virtue from the prostitute.

Anonymous says:

Have you been following the Shepard Fairey case? What do you think of this?

We are all doomed if that is considered fair use! Sucks that it is the AP but it could have been another artist just as easy.

Alright, I’m working on my essays for my college applications this week anyway so I guess I can throw in a letter or email as well, so consider mine sent…

E-mailed again. And just so everyone knows, I have gotten a response from my local official (a long while after my first e-mail), so they do get these e-mails and they do make a difference.

Added a blog post to my site to hopefully rally a few more to the cause, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. We’ve all got circles that we can reach, let’s blast a little light on this shady operation.
There’s only six degrees of separation, but added all together that’s a lot of ground to cover.


Chase Jarvis says:

@ Daniel: write the letter anyway. tell them you are a photographer and about to turn 18 (and thus become one of their constituents…). Every letter helps.

If I’m under 18 is there really much I can do?

garyallard says:

Sent a my letter a couple days ago and got a nice reply from my congresswoman this morning. I really hope we’re getting somewhere with this.

On a similar note, I’d like to pass along a heads up to everyone about the PLUS Coalition. ( They seem to be gaining momentum and doing all the right things. Let’s hope it stays on track.

And, for photographers who have the time and energy, a phone call or letter or fax to our congressperson trumps an e-mail every time.

Anonymous says:

Edit to above–“Please keep in mind that this does [now] just affect professional photographers.” Should read- Please keep in mind that this does [NOT] just affect professional photographers.

Anonymous says:

Please keep in mind that this does now just affect professional photographers. With the image scraping software, which is used on the Internet, the metadata is left behind. What this means is, there are 100’s of thousands on images that are not collected with no ownership tags. Any person that posts a photograph on the internet, with out a copyright and name on the face of the photograph, would now be responsible to search the future orphan data bases to make sure that there photo’s are not in there. Once more, all of these photographs would be open to public awareness campaigns, with no model release forms. So, any persons family snap shot of family members could even appear on a public awareness campaign for something like, sexual awareness campaigns. Under this bill, you could only sue for normal fees but the bill states that the infringer then is given unlimited use. Kill this bill as it affects every person with photographs on the net!!

Jason Drumm says:

Chase, I read this post and imagine you on a horse with a sword rallying the troops with their battle-axes in hand. “Freeeeedooomm!”

Email sent.

Chaz Boyd says:

Im glad you chimed in and said companies dont live in the perfect world and follow the rules. this was one of the very good points i heard that were brought up against it. email sent.

Danno says:

already done. bam.


It’s pretty amazing how I’ve pointed out this bill to several creative pros now (both this round and last) and within every group, there is always at least one photographer or illustrator who goes on a tirade against me and against anyone who would try to stop the bill. The latest example was really odd because the person accused me of not reading the bill and then proceeded to misquote the hell out of it…. I just don’t understand. I’ll have to listen to Dan Heller’s position to get a take on how one could support it.

Carson Blume says:

Yeah its ridiculous that it got pushed threw like that.

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