Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Orphan Works Act' Update -- and an ImageSpan Pitch

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Orphan Works Act' Update -- and an ImageSpan Pitch

Article excerpt

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is wondering if the Orphan Works Act will be resurrected today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, the AAEC thought the legislation had died in the House until at least after the election. (See E&P story here.) But then the cartoon group learned the bill might possibly come up for a vote today. So the AAEC urged people to again contact their congressional representatives to oppose the act because of the way it would dilute copyright protections.

Meanwhile, the AAEC, the National Cartoonists Society, the Illustrators' Partnership of America, and several other artist and writer groups have sent a letter to Congress opposing the Orphan Works Act.

The letter states, in part, that the act is "an effort by big Internet companies to profit by undermining existing global intellectual property rights protections. These protections currently allow small creators to control the use of their art, photographs, writings, videos, or music.

"The proposed legislation would undermine these protections in two ways. First, it would remove any effective penalties for copyright infringement wherever a user is unable to locate an author by a vaguely defined 'qualifying search.' And second, it would 'pressure' copyright holders to subsidize the start-up of privately owned commercial databases by exposing to potential infringement the work of any copyright owner who does not provide these databases with access to his commercial inventory, metadata, and licensing information. …

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