Here are some points of contention with this legislation:
- The high cost of digitizing and registering work with commercial databases will make compliance impossible for most artists.
- This will cause billions of unregistered works to fall into the public domain.
- To make money, commercial databases will have to promote and facilitate infringement.
- Infringer-friendly databases will compete with artists for clients.
This is the response letter I received from Ben Chandler's office after completing the online letter campaign earlier this summer to voice my opposition to the Orphan Works Act.
August 13, 2008
Dear Mr. Gilpin:
Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding H.R. 5889, the Orphan Works Act of 2008. As your representative in Congress, I think the most important part of my job is to understand your concerns so I can better represent the Sixth District in our nation's capital.
As you may know, the U.S. Copyright Office conducted a study in 2006 to identify the problems that have incurred with orphan works. Orphan works are defined as works which have owners who are difficult or even impossible to locate. This can often lead to unintentional infringement by subsequent artists and creators. As with most sensitive intellectual property issues, some of these situations can be addressed by existing copyright law, but many cannot.
H.R. 5889 was introduced on April 24, 2008 and provides compensation for owners harmed by deliberate infringements while also limiting the penalties for infringers who were diligent in their efforts to locate the copyright owner. This bill is currently awaiting consideration by the House Committee on the Judiciary.
While there are good reasons to reform our intellectual property laws, I also believe this bill, as written, may have unintended consequences for artists that would infringe upon their intellectual property rights. I will continue to closely monitor this issue as it moves through the House and will keep your thoughts in mind.
I appreciate the time you have taken to contact me about this matter. I hope you will stay in touch and contact my Lexington or Washington office if I can be of any further assistance.
Member of Congress
I certainly hope that this letter indicates his OPPOSITION to the coming house bill!
The backers of this legislation SNUCK their Senate version of the bill through with a tactic called Hotlining - where the Senators are rushed to vote and don't even read the bill they are voting on!!!