Saturday, September 27, 2008

Orphan Works Trifecta - Libraries Torch Photographers Rights

Do you trust something that is done under dark of night? How about when everyone else is focused elsewhere? How about when you sneek your bad idea onto someone elses' really great idea - like a swarm of gnats around hot dog stand on cool fall evening?

Re-enter Orphan Works, which did just that. At the end of a Friday night, when everyone was focused on the impending debate of the presidential candidates, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act, S 2913 was snuck through, like an illegal alien skirting Border Patrol with the guidance of coyotes to help it on it's way. One of those Coyotes - Orin Hatch, proclaimed "victory" (read here).

Sen Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) who co-sponsored the BIll with Senator Hatch, is quoted as saying, in remarks about whom the bill is named, Shawn Bentley - “So it is entirely proper and fitting for this bill to honor him and his continuing contributions to intellectual property law.”

Contributions? Try the gutting of IP law, Senator. This is just out of line.

What happens next?
UPDATE: Jim Goldstein's EXIF AND BEYOND podcast with me, Chase Jarvis, and Dan Heller debating the subject of Orphan Works is here.
(Continued after the Jump)

Next up, the House is pondering trashing their "christmas tree bill" with all the things in it that are supposedly good for photographers (See ASMP's position on the House bill here and why they think it's good for you) and adopting the Senate language to get the bill through the House.

Apparently this bill got the trifecta ram-thru because of a massive lobbying effort by libraries. So, they want to protect their books but torch our rights as photographers? I wrote about the American Library Association's efforts here - Apathy Gets You Nowhere, and it seems they have been successful in their efforts.

I remain doubtful this bill will pass, yet I encourage you highly to write and make your voices known. Use this link to make your voices heard. If the House bill dies, Orphan Works dies for this session, it takes two to tango.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


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