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Old 04-26-2008, 08:49 PM   #1
nekokami
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Orphaned Works legislation

Both U.S. House and Senate are considering bills to allow use of "Orphaned Works" if an appropriately diligent search is conducted before use. What does that mean? It seems the term "diligent" is not well defined, at least according to many in the art community, who are worried about their works being co-opted by commercial interests: http://illustratorspartnership.org/index.php

Text creators may be in a better situation than visual artists, as it's currently much easier to find text through a search online and identify the original author, and anti-plagiarism tools like "TurnItIn" can make this even easier. But it may be a good idea for those of us who care about issues of copyright to pay attention to these bills. They could have broad implications for how text enters the public domain in the U.S., if they eventually pass in some form.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:04 PM   #2
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Thanks for pointing this out, nekokami! I know that Canada has legislation that deals with this, it'd be nice if we had something here in the U.S. too.
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:19 AM   #3
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nekokami, would this mean that commercial interests could take media otherwise considered "public domain" and re-incorporate it into a copywrited form?

Or am I completely missing the issue?
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnageddon View Post
nekokami, would this mean that commercial interests could take media otherwise considered "public domain" and re-incorporate it into a copywrited form?

Or am I completely missing the issue?
They can already do that with public domain content. It might be the case that they could do this with orphaned works as well, after a "diligent search," whatever that turns out to mean. But if the creator shows up later, they would have to pay a statutory fee, at least, and possibly more if they couldn't show that they had tried hard enough to locate the original creator.

I can't say I understand all the implications this bill might have, but I thought it might be worth discussing here.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:59 AM   #5
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excuse my ignorance, but what is an "orphaned" work ?
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:34 PM   #6
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Here's a good writeup on the proposed bills.
http://maradydd.livejournal.com/374886.html
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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excuse my ignorance, but what is an "orphaned" work ?
Basically something that may still be technically subject to copyright, but the holder can't be located.
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:48 PM   #8
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Basically something that may still be technically subject to copyright, but the holder can't be located.
thanks for the answer. interesting reading, igor.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:47 PM   #9
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Basically what this legislation means is that as a photographer, unless I register each and every one of my images with a copyright organisation (and pay a fee), my images would be considered an orphaned work. The legislation effectively removes the current status of my owning copyright without the need to register the work.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Basically what this legislation means is that as a photographer, unless I register each and every one of my images with a copyright organisation (and pay a fee), my images would be considered an orphaned work. The legislation effectively removes the current status of my owning copyright without the need to register the work.
i could be wrong, but in the article igor linked to, i'm pretty sure they say exactly the opposite is true. igor's article is a reply to another article, which says a lot of things like that which would be very worrisome, if they were true, however apparently they are not. disclaimer : i don't actually know anything about this, i only just read the article. but i recommend you read it as well ; the author seems rather level-headed, and clearly knows more about this than i do.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:02 PM   #11
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Basically what this legislation means is that as a photographer, unless I register each and every one of my images with a copyright organisation (and pay a fee), my images would be considered an orphaned work. The legislation effectively removes the current status of my owning copyright without the need to register the work.
Please do read the link I posted above. I wish people stopped spreading FUD like this.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sianon View Post
Basically what this legislation means is that as a photographer, unless I register each and every one of my images with a copyright organisation (and pay a fee), my images would be considered an orphaned work. The legislation effectively removes the current status of my owning copyright without the need to register the work.
That's not entirely true. You don't have to register each individual image.You can also register a collection like "Collected works of sianon, 2005 to 2008, X number of peices". This is one fee for the entire collection.
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:51 AM   #13
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There is no fee at all. Copyright doesn't require registration, and wouldn't under this proposed law, either, as far as I can see. To avoid having your works orphaned, simply be sure that anywhere you post them, you also post your contact info. If you make prints, put your contact info on the back or something. Don't most photographers do this anyway?

Nowhere in the proposed law does it say that artists would have to pay to register their work. My bet is that Google will have a similar-image search function available within the next couple of years, and that indexing will be free (as usual) and searches will be paid for by advertisement, though there might be paid ad-free versions.
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