Monday, May 19, 2008

Say NO to Orphan Works

There is an undertaking currently going on in Washington, DC that will seriously undermine professional photographers ability to earn money and to control the use of our images. It is a called the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works act of 2008. The bill was originally introduced to make it easier for people who had images and could not find the photographer to lay claim to the images and use as they see fit. Museums, universities, and libraries, baffled by current "Fair Use" exemptions in the current copyright laws have been afraid to use things in their archives for fear of being sued eventually by the photographer or copyright holder.
This is a very complicated issue to run through on my blog for it's mixed readers. However, if you are a professional photographer or artist the new bill will greatly effect how we control our images, will devalue our work, and most importantly puts the onus on the creative, not the people stealing your work to prove they violated your copyright. Unfortunately, having your images registered (which EVERY creative should be doing) will not totally protect you.

I urge all of you to please educate yourself on this pending legislation and to write letters to your Senators opposing this bill.
You can learn more about Orphan Works HERE.

Photographers who belong to professional organizations such as ASMP, APA, SAA, EP and PPoA should contact their organizational website for sample letters and best way to contact their representatives. If you don't belong to an organization, this will still effect you, so please act today!

Photo Quote of the Day: "You don't take a photograph, you make it"-Ansel Adams

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