In Copyright, Copyright Act, H.R. 5889, Orphan Works, S. 2913

On June 12, three leading textile trade associations announced their support for the Orphan Works bill.

Writing in Textile World, James A. Morrissey writes: “The legislation, which has cleared a House subcommittee, is supported by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, the National Textile Association (NTA) and the Decorative Fabrics Association.”

Funny, that’s a 180 degree flip-flop from their House testimony of March 13, 2008. That day a spokesperson from the textile industry testified “on behalf of the hundreds of American companies” who are members of the same three trade groups. She denounced the bill, calling it “unconscionable for Congress to try to impose millions of dollars of costs on individual companies, many of which are small businesses…”

“The proposed orphan work legislation is not a solution to the ‘orphan works’ problem,” she testified. “Instead, it is a blueprint for a radically new copyright law. The inability to distinguish between abandoned copyrights and those whose owners are simply hard to find…is the Catch-22 of the Orphan Works project. This legislation would orphan millions of valuable copyrights that cannot otherwise be distinguished from true orphaned works – and that would open the door to commercial theft on an unprecedented scale.”

Strong testimony. So what happened? Did the bill improve?
No, Congress just agreed to exempt textiles from the bill.
So now Congress gets their endorsement.

Definition: When is cultural theft on an unprecedented scale not a problem?
Answer: When you’ve been cut out of the problem.

We hope legislators will judge the merit of such endorsements accordingly.

One last irony: the “strong testimony” quoted above was not original to the textile industry spokesperson. It was appropriated verbatim from Brad Holland’s 2006 Senate testimony and used without attribution or citation. You can read the original here:

Don’t Let Congress Orphan Your Work
You can urge Congress to oppose these bills by linking here to a special letter.
Tell Your Senators and Representatives to Oppose the Orphan Works Act at:

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

Send us an email and we'll get back to you asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search