Because of the concerns raised by the textile industry, the bill may not come out of the House Judiciary Committee before Congress recesses for the summer.

The Orphan Works Act will not leave the Judiciary Committee before fall. That’s the news from Ms. Corinne Kevorkian, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of F. Schumacher & Co., one of our allies in the fight against the Orphan Works Act:

“On July 20, the Decorative Fabrics Association, the National Textile Association and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition sent [a] letter in opposition of the Orphan Works Act to the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee.

“We have since heard from members of [Representatives] Coble and Inglis’ staff that, because of the concerns raised by the textile industry, the bill is not coming out of the House Judiciary Committee before Congress recesses for the summer, which is good news.

“In the meantime, DFA and NTA continue to have discussions with staff members in Senators Specter’s, Hatch and Leahy’s offices in order to put the marker down in the Senate that this proposed legislation has serious problems. NTA and DFA will also try to schedule meetings with staff members of the full HJC [House Judiciary Committee].”

Textile companies joined this fight shortly after June 20th, when we met with greeting card companies and others at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. It was they who brought this bill to the attention of the textile and manufacturing industries and all groups met by conference call on July 11th to discuss strategies for opposing HR5439.

Our congratulations to the textile manufacturers for getting the word out to these critical Congressmen. In their letter, the organizations said this:

“Unfortunately, HR5439 poses a significant new and unanticipated risk to the textile and home furnishing sector. Under the bill, commercial or non-commercial infringement of any visual art, past, present, and future, regardless of age, country of origin, published or unpublished, is permissible whenever the rights holder cannot be identified or located. Because the U.S. Copyright Office does not have a searchable database for visual designs (and no such searchable database otherwise exists) the rights holder of many creative designs will go unidentified — even in cases where the rights holder would have clearly sought to protect its legitimate rights or where such designs were previously or are currently exploited by the rights holder.”

This development points up the need to keep writing our Congressional representatives with clear and reasoned arguments for defeating or seriously amending the Orphan Works Act.

Our groups continue to work towards amending or killing this poorly conceived legislation.

— The Board of the Illustrator’s Partnership

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