The Orphan Works Act of 2008
Bill # H.R.5889
The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008
Bill # S.2913
These bills effectively release creative work, whose authors or originators cannot be found, to use by anyone, including major corporations. This will allow large corporations to take advantage of the limited understanding of copyright law by artists, illustrators and other creatives. Essentially profiting from a large group of Americans that barely make a living with their work. The bills would require the authors of so-called "orphaned works" to go through extraordinary measures to digitally copy and submit their work the the copyright office.
This doesn't just effect artists. If someone posts pictures of their baby on MySpace, then negleects to check their MySpace email, or signed up for the social network using a screen name rather than their real name, they could find those baby pictures being used for a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.
I work for an ad agency and have just as much respect for the artists, photographers and designers who I work with as I do the budget limitations faced by companies trying to promote their products and services.
This bill, however, amounts to legalized theft by big corporation of the property of the little guy.
Unfortunately these bills are being sponsored by Democrats (Howard Berman D-CA 28th, Patrick Leahy D-VT) who should know better.
You can read more about these bills here:
If this is the wrong forum to post this, please let me know and I'll move it. It seems to me that other users on this site would be very interested in the possibility of having their artowrk used for a commercial with no compensation because the thief couldn't find thei email address1