A blog about scientific and medical visualization and all that’s involved.

Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

Orphan Works Act Follow Up

Posted by Janet on May 11, 2008

Dena Matthews, partner, illustrator, and animator of LifeHouse Productions, has drafted an letter to be passed along to anyone who are to be affected by the Orphan Works Act. Her letter indicates that ANYONE, not just visual artists, can be affected negatively by this. Please read her letter below and forward it to anyone you know.


Dear friends and artists,

I encourage you to support all American artists by voicing opposition to the Orphan Works Acts that are being fast-tracked through Congress. It’s important that you act now – because Congress (both House and Senate) could be voting on this legislation this month.

Here is a brief summary of the problem.

* The Orphan Works Acts, if enacted would change copyright law in such a way that it would be too costly (time and money) to make a living as a visual artist. There would be less of a need for new art because all one’s existing and new work would be open for others to use for free. Today we call those people- who use art without asking- infringers, those who steal art for their own profit.

* The Orphan Works Acts would affect visual artists who do not make a living from their art (create just for the joy of it). Someone, an infringer, would be able to use your art anywhere they like to make a buck and potentially in ways you would object.

* The Orphan Works Acts would also affect anyone who takes snapshot photos and shares them through email or on the web. Your personal family memories could be used by unscrupulous people or in ways you may object – again just to make a buck. The Orphan Works Acts also opens up privacy issues- by allowing others to distribute and sell pictures of your family members and friends.

The Copyright Act of 1976 was created to allow artists to profit from their work thereby encouraging artists to create- a priceless gift that we presently are able to give to the world.

There may be a desire for libraries, museums, etc to acquire truly orphaned works – those in which the author will never be located. Most visual artists would support this cause for the greater good. But these Orphan Works Acts being pushed through congress are written so broadly, they do not take into account the devastating impact they will have on living and available (who can be located) artists.

Please ask your congressmen to vote in opposition to this act- in both house and senate.

Here’s a link to a web tool that allows you to do so effortlessly:
Select the letter that best represents you and edit it as you see fit. Then click to submit – and your letter will be sent immediately electronically to all your congressmen.

Please forward and crosspost widely.

Thank you,
Dena Matthews


LifeHouse Productions
Specializing in 3D medical animation

ph: 860.432.9177



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Copyright and the Orphan Works Bill

Posted by Janet on May 10, 2008

I have not yet talked about the business aspect of an illustrator, but perhaps I should, seeing how it is actually a huge part of what we do behind the scene. We all enjoy the drawing part a little too much, and sometimes that’s all we want to do. But when this is what you do for a living, you must learn how to play by the rules.

The current copyright law states that a work is yours from the moment you create it. It sounds crazy, because it means that you don’t have to do anything other than creating something for the work to be “protected” under copyright law. It’s a little bit easier to reinforce your rights by putting a copyright symbol and a date next to your signature, and you can enforce your rights by actually registering the work, but the bottom line is, if you make it, it’s yours. So a lot of times when the illustrator is making a living, he/she is not selling the actual work, but the right to use a piece of work under specific conditions.

Now, the Orphan Works Act of 2008 wants to take away that right by declaring any work an “orphan” if the creator or copyright owner cannot be found. It will allow anyone to use your work without permission or payment as long as they have done a “search” and are unable to find the creator or copyright owner. In other words, it devalues our works and this is bad. Very bad. Here is a YouTube version of Mark Simon’s interview with Brad Holland of the Illustrator’s Partnership about the Orphan Works bill and how it affects illustrators.

Additional resources:
-A full version of the interview can be downloaded here.
Orphan Works resource page from the Illustrators’ Partnership website.
Legislative Action Center.

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