Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art


I sometimes like to put my name and watermark into the picture, as a feature of the picture, not just as a watermark. I guess it can’t be doen for Client work, but its one quite good way of getting around the problem.


Well here is my personal take on this…

This is MY OWN opinion BTW…

With this law,
The lifetime work on an artist could simpy become clip art.

Imagine a fat russian trillonaire making royalties of all your anatomy pieces.
Now imagine trying to tell him that you want your artwork back…

The new rules puts the burden of proof of ownership on the artist, insted of the person who is using the material.

Before a corporation had to prove that they had rights to use a piece of art for anything.

With the new rules they can claim that the piece of art was an orphan work that they found online. The burden of usability rights would now fall on the artist, and they would have to register and go after the people who use their work illegally.

Think about that for a minute.

Or worst yet, a corporation can do a web sweep (similar to what is happening right now with web domains) and register THOUSANDS of pieces they “found”.

They could have “orphan maker factories” of people who would be paid pennies a day to go and scan, photograph and copy art work and then claim it.

They could conceivably go to one of your exhibits, take hi-rez pictures of your work, register the pieces and voula make money off them…

It would be YOUR responsability to go and check all these new registration companies to see that your work is not being claimed illegally.

Imagine having to do a DAILY check to see that your work is not being claimed by another artist on the top 10 image registration companies…
God I hope I am wrong…

BTW DIGG away to spread the word…
http://digg.com/design/You_Will_Lose_All_The_Rights_to_Your_Own_Art_Photo s


You know what, I am not against having to register my art, even at my expense so be it, the cost would just have to be passed on to the client. But, if you read the current legislation, all the onus is on the owner of the artwork, to search all these registries, which by current legislation, there is no limit on how many “privately owned” registries (so what I search daily to make sure no one is using my work). And then say I do find someone who is using my work, I have to locate them, contact them, find out who they work for, (remember potentially another country) and then “politely” ask them for fair compensation. Now if they refuse, I have to take them to federal court, where btw, according to the legislation, I am not able to get my court costs covered even if I am awarded punitive, not to mention again, could in another country. And, I’m not talking like lost cause China here, say another G8 country even.

The only thing positive that I have read so far, is that this hasn’t passed, and there is a growing support to squash the newly rewritten legislation. And how any artist could support this is still very beyond me, my eyes and ears are open though, how could this possibly benefit the content creator.


I was born in Europe under the Communist regime. Seeing this bill and understanding that it is founded on Marxism and post modern nonsense helps me to remember why my parents brought our family out of that festering regime and into democracy. It’s amazingly frustrating to see the same communist ideas infiltrate the heart and core of democracy, the United States. It just plain makes me sick and angry. If you haven’t listened to the audio segment that KidderD posted - please do… we all have so much to lose if this bill passes.


This “Professor of Law” should ask some “Professors of Art” what they think about his shenanigans. He might get a well deserved punch in the nose.


There is another thread with additional links and info that was started by Segvoia last month over in the General Discussion section…in case anyone wants some additional POV and discussion insights… :slight_smile:




I have contacted my representative about this and encourage everyone here to do so as well.

I will let you know if I hear anything back but until then let’s get this out as far and as fast as we can.



Ok guys I found this…

Hearing on Promoting the Use of Orphan Works: Balancing the Interests of Copyright Owners
and Users (Video webcast )

from Thursday 03/13/2008


And here is a great blog with current information:


This PDF is an outline of the above webcast that Roberto posted:


I think there’s an element to this that they are underestimating. I believe to a certain extent we can self govern this if it were to go through. If I find out that Corbis or other companies are engaging in this practice then I will not purchase anything from them again.


I agree with this - I can’t see how if corporations like Corbis, Getty etc. mass appropriate photos / artwork from sites like Flickr etc., then sites like Flickr will continue to exist.

      I guess the problem lies in that sites like Flickr are so huge, that even if many photos are appropriated, it won't affect the majority of users.
     Going back to what Stevemoh was saying, think about the foodchain that this will affect - museums, gallery owners, online schools, companies that own sites like Flickr (Yahoo), YouTube, etc. - all of these entities surely have a stake, and aren't voiceless.
 I mean, under the scenario of virtually any content being 'orphan works', can't you just appropriate anything that you see on network television and claim it as your content? I can't see any difference between that and ripping off work from someone's website. Both kinds of content are easy to trace back to their creators, yet if the law turns a blind eye to the kind of deliberate content theft being suggested here, then all content is in essence free under this kind of legislation. It's the same as reading a book and claiming it's yours because you didn't bother to look at the cover to see its author.


Some additional information and commentary via the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers):

“…It has become clear is that some Orphan Works law is likely to be passed sooner or later. Key members of the House and Senate want it; significant user groups such as museums, academic institutions and publishers want it; and the general public wants it. ASMP understands the need for, and welcomes, a solution to the Orphan Works problem. Our objective has never been to defeat Orphan Works legislation as such. Rather, our goal is and has always been to make sure that any Orphan Works bill is fair to visual artists. In addition, it appears that the political environment this year is substantially more favorable to creators than it is likely to be over the next few years. These factors make it important for ASMP to help craft an Orphan Works bill that treats photographers and other visual artists fairly, and to support the passage of a fair and workable bill in this Congress.”


"…In terms of drafting, we are proposing to limit the scope of the Orphan Works defense to:

[li]Uses by individuals for non-revenue producing personal or community purposes, including uses on websites that do not generate revenues for the individuals using the Orphan Works;[/li]
[li]Uses in works of non-fiction, such as books, articles or documentary films or videos;[/li]
[li]Uses by non-profit educational institutions, libraries, museums or archives qualified for treatment under ¤501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as amended[/li]
[li]in exhibits, including website displays, and[/li][li]for uses that produce revenues and that are ancillary to exhibits.[/li][/ul]
[/ol] In a nutshell, we see little financial harm to creators from the non-profit and non-fiction uses of orphaned images. At the same time, we want to make sure that commercial users of images and illustrations would not be able to use an Orphan Works defense as a free pass to profit from infringements."



theres the important line right there. I agree 90% with that statment from ASMP.

and thats the 10% I dont agree with, do they mean non fiction/non profit books? because there are more non fiction publications than fiction publications for sale at borders


I think there is some stuff here that’s covered up:

We disagree. Statutory damages are an alternative means by which a copyright owner may recover against an infringer in lieu of proving actual damages and lost profits. However, they are only available if the owner has registered the work prior to the infringement or within three months of publication. (While it is possible that a registered work could be an orphan work within the proposed legislative framework, we think this is unlikely to be a common situation, not because the registration is guaranteed to be found, but because an owner who has taken steps to register his work has likely taken other steps to make himself available outside the registration system.)

So we only have recourse IF IT WAS REGISTERED. Or 3 months in publication. Which comapnaies can officially publish a book and just hold onto it so the people can’t see what’s in it. That is if that person has registered it…


This is really bad everyone:sad: we all need to fight this for our livelihoods. Just starting out in this industry, I can’t imagine having to pay money I don’t have for works I haven’t created, or songs I haven’t written yet. If this passes, I’ll have to go back to working as a brick mason:cry: …
In fact, if this passes, many of us artists and designers in the United States and Europe may have to go back to those “labor intensive” jobs, just to make the money we need to pay the legal fees we’ll incure trying to stop people from stealing our works.


Canada, I’ve found, has an office…the Canadian Orphaned Works Beuro, I think that’s what its called…

If you want to use an orphaned work, you go to the office, THEY do a search for it, and if it’s not licensed, you can use it.

Not being from Canada, I don’t know how well this works. So if any fellow artists from there know if this works well up there, please let us know.

It seems that something like this would work much better than…well…this piece of garbage.


This is article is chock full of hyperbole and wild accusations, but light on background, evidence, scope, and pragmatism.

  For example, an outright falsehood is the alluded (but not cited) "international law" that "forbids coerced registration as a condition of protecting your copyright", and generates the consequence that "The United States is about to break international law by making us register our works". He is referring to the [Berne Convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works](http://www.cni.org/docs/infopols/US.Berne.Convention.html), which only affects being able to enforce obligations on foreign copyright owners. It has no effect whatsoever of the United States enforcing copyright regulations on it's domestic citizens ([see here](http://williampatry.blogspot.com/2005/06/berne-convention-in-perspective.html)). This is important because he bolsters his argument several times by appealing to international authority. 
  Simon says that "The only people who benefit from this [copyright law change] are those who want to make use of our creative works without paying for them and large companies who will run the new private copyright registries". This is a gross exaggeration. Librarians (including the [IFLA](http://www.ifla.org/index.htm), [see here](http://www.ifla.org/VI/4/admin/ifla-ipaOrphanWorksJune2007.pdf)), historians, museums, preservationists, academics, and yes, even other artists, all across the country (indeed the world) have been fighting to end the legal purgatory that untold works reside in. This public interest was not invented by Peter Jaszi, but is written into the [U.S. Constitution](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause) when it professes "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". Clearly it is not simply in the interest of "thieves" that we have a healthy public domain, and I'd say we have a pretty huge authority backing up that statement. 
  Simon even brings up scary old Billy Gates as some kind of puppeteer, when Corbis only revenued [$251 million in 2006](http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/newswire/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003605513). Regardless, the fat cats that he portrays as being behind this scheme are minuscule in comparison to power players, like Disney, the RIAA, and the MPAA, that have been lobbying for copyright extension for decades. This is the real menace, and if we had reasonable copyright terms there would be no discussion of "orphaned works". In reality, plenty of others, previously mentioned, have been pushing for copyright reform for quite a while now, whose influence spurned the Copyright Office's report on Orphaned works in the first place. Publishers, like Corbis, may have allied themselves with the cause, but are by no means the sole impetus. 
  Speaking of the "private registries", no one has produced one scrap of concrete information on them, outside of their mention by proponents of the orphan bill. What exactly are they? Can you or I start a registry? How is it regulated? Are fees mandatory? This lack of data doesn't stop Simon from assuming that it will only be "cronies" that are allowed to run such registries, and that the pricing will be per work, etc.. He could stand to emphasize a bit more that these are predictions and not terms. 
  These criticisms aside, I don't disagree with the primary hypothetical conclusion, per se. I say hypothetical, because we don't have the actual bill/s to scrutinize. If it's anything like the 2006 bill, though, we are probably right to challenge it. However, the issue of orphaned works is real, and we artists must not be utterly selfish and parochial on the topic. The [American Society of Media Photographers](http://www.asmp.org/news/spec2008/orphan_update.php) admit that this is something that is desired by the "general public" (obligatory reminder that the United States is a DEMOCRACY). Reforms should be made to insure that a healthy culture, necessary for our jobs, is able to thrive. Articles like Simon's (poorly researched, uncited, demagogical, etc.) do not approach the subject realistically, and help to strengthen the puerile assumption that our narrow wants should trump the public good that our founding fathers had in mind. Try taking a [look at this](http://lessig.org/blog/2007/02/copyright_policy_orphan_works.html) (scroll down for video) for a good review of the subject with Laurence Lessig's take on an alternative to the 2006 bill. Personally, I think his view is pretty much right on. A mixed mode of total protection for a time, followed by an opt-in system, would allow artists to be profitable, and ensure that nothing is wasted, culturally. Thus, we shouldn't be putting our energy into defeating any Orphanage bill that comes along, but making sure that the one that is passed is in everyone's best interest.


I’m curious to know how many readers of this forum receive income from copyrighted material?

I don’t. I can’t say I even know anyone who receive’s income from copyrighted material.

I’ve worked for a lot of people who do though.

  well I do from time to time....or all the time dependong on how you look at it.
  As an illustrator I own copyright on every image I produce and I license my images to clients such as the bbc/Amex/Ministry of sound etc. On a few occations I do album covers, typicaly I would license the image for Europe usage only (for example) and at a later date they may want to go global with it....in which case if they want to use my image they have to pay me more money.

But if youre talking about royaltys, then no I dont, but I know quite a few childrens authors/illustartors who do.

Edit…although, I cannot imagine anyone using any of my work without permission, simply because its already been printed/used by a much larger company then myself…Who in there right mind would rip of the Amex image I did, for all they know Amax owns the copyright?..not to mention the massive can of worms it would open


**Canada is a signatory to the Berne Convention.

In Canada you dont have to register your works. It helps if there is a legal dispute but is not necessary to claim copyright protection.
I havent tried the Orphaned Works Bureau, although there was an issue raised a few years ago concerning the use of copyright material (photocopying texts etc) for schools and whether that violated copyright.
I cant remember how it was resolved or it has been yet.