Friday, May 23, 2008

Copyright Legislation: Orphan Works of 2008

Following a post on Drawn about the Orphan Copyrights act, I started to do a bit more research about what this bill actually does before I started to stir up the frenzy. According to blogger Todd Verbeek, the bill would provide some legal paths for someone who wanted to use a copyrighted work but who was unable to locate the copyright holder. This would not mean that the work had fallen into public domain. If the copyright holder then wanted to take the matter to court, the person who wanted used the work would have to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that she “performed and documented a qualifying search, in good faith, for the owner” and couldn’t locate him. The contents of this bill are a revision of a bill from 2006 that had everyone's panties in a twist because it required copyright holders to renew rights to works in order to keep them protected under copyright law.

Copyright law is extremely complicated and this bill has a lot of elements that could make it better if a bit more complicated. If this is an issue of particular interest to you, and as a creator of unique works, I think it should be, do some research, read Verbeek's article and contact your local congressman to let them know your feelings.

1 comment:

Grace said...

I felt the same way about doing some research before adding to the firestorm. At The Artist's Magazine, we had an expert in art law write an article about the orphan works issue:
http://artistsblog.artistsnetwork.com/Everything+You+Need+To+Know+About+Orphan+Works.aspx