Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Three A.M. Do You Know Where Your Art Is?

There is a very disturbing bit of legislation being reviewed by Congress that should bother every artist and creative type. The Orphan Works Act is going to make it much easier for people to use someone else's artwork, illustrations, etc. from online sources without paying the artist. Illustrator Tom Richmond does a great job of explaining the dangers of this law and what it will cost artists if it's passed. Check out his website for more information: http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/?p=56 Not to oversimplify the legislation, but basically if someone has made a "reasonable effort" to find the creator and isn't successful, the work is considered orphaned and is FREE to use in the public domain. That "reasonable effort" is open to interpretation, though, and could take on many different definitions based on how lazy or cheap the researcher is. Tom Richmond contemplates what would happen if the principle of the Orphan Works Act was applied to cars and other personal property. And he makes an excellent point. For more information on how creators are fighting this check out the Illustrator's Partnership website http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00185

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