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Cartoon Group Blasts U.S. Senate for Passing Orphan Works Act

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cartoon Group Blasts U.S. Senate for Passing Orphan Works Act

Article excerpt

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) has slammed the U.S. Senate for passing the Orphan Works Act on Friday.

"It seems that Congress is using the fiscal crisis as cover to pass this law, which will make it easier for copyright infringers to steal our work," said AAEC President Ted Rall, who's syndicated by Universal Press.

The AAEC -- which is working to convince the U.S. House of Representatives not to pass a similar bill -- issued a statement noting that the legislation "threatens the livelihoods of everyone who relies on copyrights for a living."

Explaining why it opposes the Senate's action, the AAEC offered this example: "A book publisher wanted to print an editorial cartoon in a history textbook. Currently a typical reprint fee for such use is $250. Under current copyright law, a publisher who gets caught using such work without permission would be liable for three times the standard rate.... A judge could order the books impounded. If the cartoonist had to hire a lawyer, a judge could make the violator pay his or her attorney's fees. …

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