The Stock Asylum Provides "Orphan Works" Section

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"Orphan works" legislation proposed by the U. S. Copyright Office could significantly affect the businesses of photographers, illustrators and other visual artists. The Stock Asylum's new section should make it easy for these creative individuals to stay informed as the legislation moves through the U. S. Congress.

In an effort to help everyone in the creative industries better understand proposed "orphan works" legislation, The Stock Asylum has uploded a new section that brings together all relevant information about this important copyright issue.

The section includes the text of the proposal (which was recently sent to Congress by by the U. S. Copyright Office), links to professional organizations that have issued opinions about the proposal, a link to the Copyright Office's "Report on Orphan Works," all recent Stock Asylum articles about orphan works and contact information for U.S. Senators and Representatives who are serving on committees that will consider this proposal.

The Stock Asylum will keep the page up-to-date as this controversial legislation works its way through the U. S. Congress.

"The orphan works proposal could affect the businesses of all visual artists for years to come," said Stock Asylum Managing Editor Ron Rovtar. "Because this proposal is apparently being pushed through the U.S. Congress with a great deal of haste, we felt there existed a need for a central web page that contains all pertinent information about this issue. "

Organizations representing visual artists have mobilized quickly to fight the orphan works legislation. The proposal would let publishers, museums and even advertisers freely use copyrighted materials when the copyright owner is unknown or cannot be found. Such materials have been dubbed "orphan works" by the Copyright Office.

Though no federal legislation has been formally introduced, it appears almost certain that it will be. The House of Representatives has already held a hearing on the proposal and there are indications that this could move through Congress very quickly, possibly before summer.

Photographers, illustrators and other visual artists are especially concerned because their work is commonly used without attribution, making it very easy for subsequent users to declare images "orphans" under the proposal.

There also are worries about vague language concerning the amount of effort that must be put into searching for copyright owners and provisions that could make it difficult or impossible for copyright owners to collect proper usage fees when the owners surface later. The new section is at:


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Ron Rovtar