In Berne Convention, Copyright, Copyright Act, Orphan Works

The Senate hearings on Orphan Works have shown that artists and photographers are united in opposing this bad amendment. We went to Washington to say that this proposal is either poorly conceived or something other than what it appears to be: You don’t need to expose everybody’s work to abuse by anybody for any purpose in order to make abandoned work available to some people for proper use. You don’t maintain law and order by making everything legal.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, seems to get this. He asked the relevant questions of the Copyright Office, questions that will need to be asked again and again if this proposed amendment is to be tempered or defeated. We all owe our thanks to Senator Leahy and his staff for contacting IPA and giving artists the chance to be heard. His staff may not appreciate a lot of thank you letters clogging their fax machines, but some snail mail of appreciation might be a nice change of pace for them:

Senator Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Bldg
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Chairman Hatch ended the hearings by calling for more hearings. And he asked the Copyright Office to come back with a more precise definition of “good faith, reasonably diligent search.” That’s a start, but only a start.

We want to thank all of you for the many letters you’ve written to Washington. This effort is not over by a long shot, but artists have now had our voices heard from the outset — and heard at the highest level. Cynthia Turner and I may have had the privilege of delivering the message, but it wasn’t we who went to Washington last week; it was all of you.

-Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership

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