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As some of you, I'm sure, are aware, a great deal has recently been made over the proposed Bill for a Solution to the Orphan Works problem.

First of all, as a quick explanation for those of you who don't know, Orphan Works are basically works of any art (from any media, film, music or just art like that prominently found on this website) that no longer seem to have a copyright holder. This could be because either, the copyright holder is now deceased, has willingly given up copyright, or can simply not be found. The problem comes from the latter source of Orphan Works, when no copyright holder can be found.

You see, when you can't find the copyright holder of a certain piece of work, it's difficult to reproduce, use it or otherwise since you don't have permission from said copyright holder. Until now it has been thought that if that is the case, the piece of work should be left alone, and this has caused a number of works (very old films, for instance) to not be seen by current generations, or be lost from use.

A better explanation can be found here.

The Orphan Works bill seeks to fix this problem.

The Bill can be found here (PDF file).

In essence, how it would work, is that, if someone wanted to use a certain piece of work (artwork, music, film, etc) for any reason and no copyright holder was clear after a reasonable search, that piece of work  would be deemed an Orphan Work and free to use without fear of copyright problems.

Now, many people seem to think that this is a way of allowing people to steal your work legally. One main source of this idea is this blog by Mark Simon, worth a read, if only to see the fears that seem to be holding people such as ourselves because of this Bill.

Now, the first thing you need to realise about that Blog page, is that no where on it is a link to the Bill, only Simon's interpretation of it. This to me, is like reading a book report instead of a book, yes, you will get an idea of the book, but a book report is 1, written by one person, with one point of view and 2, won't cover everything. It is for that reason, I gave you a link to the Bill above, read it yourself, come to your own conclusion.

Even still, after reading it myself, I still needed some things clarified about it, and I figured, who better to go to than James Boyle, co creator of the Bill. He is one of the authors of the Bill and one of the people who submitted it to the Copyright Office.

What you'll find below is my Email to Boyle, along with his response. Unfortunately, Boyle has requested that his email not be posted here, so what I will give is a basic summary. I won't comment on what he said, I feel it speaks for itself so I urge you to come to your own conclusions.

Dear James Boyle

I am a young artist working out of the UK, specialising in digitally created art and concept work. I recently came across your Analysis and Proposal detailing the problem with Orphan Works in the United States, submitted to the copyright office in March 2005.

Now, for reasons I don't rightly know, this has been brought up now and caused some controversy among artists such as myself who have art stored for presentation on the internet. If you are not aware of this, I shall point you to one web log entry by Mark Simon, found here who fears that if such a law was passed, work created by people such as myself or him would be in danger of legally being used by others without our permission.

Instead of jumping on a bandwagon and declaring war on yourself or this proposal, I decided to do a little research into this first which is what brought me to your proposal and, ultimately to yourself.

I have read the majority of the proposal (the PDF found on your website), specifically the part detailing what is actually proposed in order to solve the problem of Orphan Works and their usage by users and I do have a few questions, merely clarifications on a few issues.

1. How exactly would this law, if passed, effect work created by artists, past and future who are still living and perfectly able to identify themselves as copyright owners of their work. Many, like myself have created work in the recent past and have done nothing more, in the knowledge that such work would already be automatically copyrighted to them at the moment of its creation. Were someone else to use said work without the artists permission, that would be considered as theft and the original copyright holder would be within his or her rights to request removal of said work or request credit where credit's due. Should this bill be passed, would we astists now need to register our work for it to be copyrighted under our name? And would we need to do that for all past creations?

2. If the above is the case and my work now needs to be registered for copyright, should I fail to do that and my work be deemed Orphan Work, free to use and it indeed does become used without my pemission, would I still have the right to call copyright on said work and have it removed/ask for credit, or do I lose all copyright claim to the work once it has been deemed Orphan Work?

3. As you say, the UK and other countries already have laws dealing with such things as Orphan Works. How will this bill effect international work?

Looking forward to your answer.
Yours
Neil Joshi


**

Summary of his response:
1. Registering material for copyright will not be mandatory.
2. This bill wouldn't even apply to recent works, but would specify types and ages.
3. Rules on what constitutes a "reasonable search" for a copyright holder would be laid down, for which proof must be provided before a piece of work is deemd Orphan Work.
4. If a piece of work, deemed orphan work, is used, and then the original copyright holder appears and asks for it to be taken down, the user would be obliged.
5. The original copyright holder never loses copyright or control over their work.


I feel this article should be an excersise in not trusting the first source that you see on an issue. If you read a blog page or news article about something this controversial, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that they must be right (or indeed, wrong), but instead do your own digging and research, find the truth for yourself.
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:iconbehaviormodification:
Yes, it IS real and it is still being pushed through congress.

An 'artist' on da wrote a News article that basicly made most of, if not all of, da including the mods very passive and 'non caring' about this issue.

If you want to know why me and many other artists and PROFESSIONAL GROUPS OF ARTISTS are fighting this bill then all the information you need is here: [link]

So now it has basicly come out that yes indeed, there is a anti copyright commity trying to make it so that you'd have to register your art to protect it even though it would not be required it is still unspokenly required, and guess who suffers either way? THE ARTIST.

Maybe the lazy non-caring attitude that da seems to have about this issue is because they are hoping to start up a database registry and make a small fortune since not everyone wants to pay for a subscription. I do know that if you try to start a thread on the subject it is immediately closed.

Write your congressmen and get involved because YOUR art is important: [link]

Learn how this bill effects YOU: [link]

And to make it hard for people to use your stuff USE WATERMARKS LIKE CRAZY.
Reply
:iconlisamsage:
lisamsage Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2008
The problem is the text of the actual bill does NOT define an 'orphan' work. It does not specify if it's old or new or foreign. It's been available online for months. Don't take my word for it read it.

[link]
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:iconpatgoltz:
PatGoltz Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2008  Professional General Artist
It would not be accurate to say you have full control of your work. You have the RIGHT to full control, but if someone else uses it and refuses to relinquish it, you still have to assert that right.
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Which is the same situation we have now.
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:iconpatgoltz:
PatGoltz Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008  Professional General Artist
Exactly.
Reply
:iconparrots-and-more:
parrots-and-more Featured By Owner May 7, 2008
I understand what the Bill means now after you made it clearer with this article. Thank you. ^-^
Reply
:icondeadroses914:
Deadroses914 Featured By Owner May 5, 2008
Thanks for clearing this thing up. I was hesitant to put my name on the petition before because it didn't seem like there was enough information verifying the insanity. I'm really glad you cleared this up.
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:iconsiskat:
SisKat Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2008
Thanks for clearing this up for me I was so afaired that my art work would be used against my will. Thank you.
Hugz,
Kathy
Reply
:iconfaryuu:
Faryuu Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2008   Filmographer
This seems like a rather stupid bill.

People who are lazy and don't respect copyrights to begin with could just be using the art, music or whatever without even making an effort to find the person that holds the copyright.

This would later result in more people presuming its ok to right click and save an image and use it without the live, unknowing owner's consent and permission.

We already have a problem with art theft, even here on dA.

People use the excuse that they made it, blah blah blah, and they get banned.

But with the passing of the bill, those sorts of people could use the excuse that they could not find the owner of the copy right, which would then make it more difficult to ban that particular person, or in a case of it being on another site, make it difficult for the person to take it down.



Which in the end results in unhappy artists, and crooks throughout the internet.


Also,

Starry Starry Night is still copyrighted to Van Goh, and he's dead, right?

The Alleluia thingger is still copyrighted to Handel and he's long past, right?



So, in 100 years, if this bill got passed, an epic artist that originated on dA could have their art being used, without being aknowledged for making the piece of art, right? It seems like that according to that bill....

Copyright to ANY artist, whether living or deceased, or unknown, belongs to that artists.

Heck, copyrighting the art to ANONYMOUS is better than having your piece floating around the net in 1 million different places.
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So... you didn't read the article? It's been said plainly that someone would have to provide adequate proof that an artist couldn't be found before a piece could be used without permission, someone simply saying "Oh, I couldn't find them" wouldn't suffice as an adequate search and even if they could do that, should the artist come forward and say they hold copyright, they have full right to order that the other party ceases to use said work and even sue for damages, just like they're able to now.
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:iconmirana:
mirana Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
It might be worth your while to actually research copyright in your country so you are inform correctly.

In the US, a creator (and his/her family) currently has 75 yrs of copyright protection. After that the work is deemed public domain (unless you trademark said work, a la Mickey Mouse).

Van Gogh's relatives do not own a copyright on Starry Night. It's more accurate to say that MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) owns the original work of which they can photograph. They then own the copyright on that photograph and control the way in which that image is used.
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:iconfaryuu:
Faryuu Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2008   Filmographer
Ah... see...


Then, after 75 years, they have to renew the copyrights?
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:iconmirana:
mirana Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
No. 75 yrs after your death, anyone can use your work. It becomes "public domain" and has no copyright.
Reply
:iconfaryuu:
Faryuu Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2008   Filmographer
It should be copyrighted to that person forever, because you can't undo the fact;
that person created that piece of art.
Reply
:iconmirana:
mirana Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
It's not about who did the work, it's about who can use it. Anyway, do a search on copyright yourself. If you plan on being a career artist at some point it will be important to know these facts.
Reply
:iconfaryuu:
Faryuu Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2008   Filmographer
Will do. But I don't plan on having a career in art. It's more of a hobby than a future career.

Thanks for the help :)
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:iconmirana:
mirana Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Clarification: 75 yrs of protection after the death of the creator.
Reply
:iconwinged1:
winged1 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Student Digital Artist
[link]
I don't know if it will link you properly, but if so it's a picture of a grim reaper tattoo. This particular tattoo, that of a profile of a tribal-style grim reaper, is one of the most often stolen works I've seen. It's everywhere, from myspace profiles to professional printing sites. A lot of people so far have tried to search for the owner without success, and apparently he once had a deviantart profile. Would this be an example of an Orphan Work?
If so, with this act in place, should the owner attempt to enforce his rightful ownership on this work, would he have any chance of success?
Yeah, I'm one of the many who read the blog before this article, and have stirred up a few of my artistic friends over it. I really am hoping to put this whole thing into proper perspective and not be so paranoid. Thanks for putting time into your research and in-depth presentation of your findings.
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The short answer is... yes, this is a prime example of orphanwork.

But, should the original artist come forward with proof that he/she did the original design, then they'd have every right to claim copyright on it and take full control over it.

Of course, if he once had a deviantart profile, it'd be easier for him since his deviation of this would have a date of submission.
Reply
:iconwinged1:
winged1 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Student Digital Artist
Ah, excellent. I think I can breathe a sigh of relief now. Of course, that's what I get for pursuing an opinion without knowing the fact. Thank you so much for the clarification.
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:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem.
Reply
:iconwinged1:
winged1 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Student Digital Artist
[link]
the old one didn't work, hopefully this will
Reply
:iconpunitha:
Punitha Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
Well, that puts me at rest. Well, actually, I didn't even know what I was getting so worked up about.
But now that I think about it, I have some questions, which I'm hoping someone can answer for me:
1. But when you say "after a reasonable search" what would be called reasonable?
2. There's been some hype about having to pay to still hold the copyright, is this true?
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:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. A resonable search. This isn't set in stone, but it would include proof that you have checked the copyright register, have attempted to find the copyright holder (using better means than a simple google search), an attempt to get in touch with the copyright holder, or someone who might know how to contact them (so if you found an image on a website, you'd talk to the website admin/owner) and so on. Again, not set in stone, but none too easy to fake either.

2. Not true, you'll still hold copyright on your work, as you always have, as soon as you create it. Paying for registration simply gives you more of an edge if you need to sue someone for damages or otherwise, but, as long as you created the piece and can prove it, you will have full control over your work, whether you pay for registration or not.
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:iconjerseybrat:
jerseybrat Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
Thanks for all the work and information.
Reply
:iconrookie-101:
Rookie-101 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I am really greatful that you digged into this. Hopefully people won't spaz so much now, but I doubt any would care to read. But I shall provide a link to this in my journal cause I have several friends that are spazzing over this so hopefully they will come here and read and won't be worked up about it any longer.
Reply
:iconkurenaiairen:
kurenaiairen Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I myself was one who deemed war upon this bill. However after reading your email with the creator i have come to the conclusion i jumped the gun. I am still afraid that my works, most of which are not even on here, would be up for grabs by anyone. I will continue to research this topic in hopes of figuring out the entire plan fully. Thank you for setting me straight.
Reply
:iconshinobitron:
Shinobitron Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Well that clarifies alot. I feel better now then I did after reading that original blog comment.
Reply
:iconchipmunk13:
chipmunk13 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Well said, thanks for the clarification on that. :) Hopefully at least some of the people who've been losing their heads over this whole Orphan Works Bill will read this and calm down a bit.
Reply
:icontaknettik:
taKnettiK Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
The Orphan Works bill will make every bodies work orphan unless you pay and register every single piece of work you have ever done, doing, will do. And even that won't cover you properly if you find someone else using your work without permission.
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did you even read my article? Or even the Bill? There is no need to register your work, as soon as you do a piece of work it is copyrighted to you, no matter if you register it or not, you have full control over your work.

And everyones work isn't automatically orphaned, if you read my article you'd find that if someone wanted to make your work an orphaned work they'd have to submit it along with proof that they tried to find you using reasonable means.

And if you find someone using your work without permission, you still have full rights to request they stop using your work and even take them to court, proving you own copyright.

This bill doesn't make things nearly as hopeless as you seem to make it out to be, which suggests to me that you didn't read my article or indeed anyone elses that seems to refute your claims, for which there are many.
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:icongamskee:
Gamskee Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
Glad this is here. I'm a little pissed that someone made such a big fuss and got a lot of people fired up only to find out that there worries seem to be founded in fiction and hysteria. Still, I will take a look at the bill once it comes out, to make sure it doesn't have any riders or other bogus attachments that could lead to grand scale theft.
Reply
:iconflashkid105:
FlashKid105 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
Thanks for doing this, man. I'll be linking this in my journal
Reply
:iconmeredithdillman:
MeredithDillman Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I still have my own concerns about it but I'm glad you did something most productive than arguing on the internet like the rest of us. It does clear up some things.

The thing is, our lawmakers are supposed to work for us, but they don't know our concerns if we don't tell them.
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:icontreuvontrapp:
TreuVonTrapp Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008   Writer
THANK YOU!

i've been so confused! I am very releived now, that you've gone to the source. Again, thanks!
Reply
:icondispozition:
Dispozition Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks a lot for doing this. It's actually cleared it up so much :D

Just one thing though, the third question you asked Boyle, he didn't answer. You still have any idea on whether or not it would affect overseas works, like you in the UK or someone like me in Australia?
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, I didn't get an answer about that, so I can't be too sure, but general consensus is that it will and it won't.

In other words, if this proposal comes to pass, and someone in the US trieds to make your work an orphaned work (because they can't find you, they wouldn't know you came from overseas), then they'd work through that legislature, (but you'd still have full rights to claim your work back were they successful, obviously if they can find you, they'd cease trying to make it an orphaned work and simply ask you permission to use your work... if they're honest).
Were you to try to do the same with a piece of work you found, I'm thinking you'd have to adhere to whatever laws your country has in place (if any) concerning orphaned work.

Really, it's kind of up in the air and I'm no lawyer so I don't know too much about this, but since the internet pretty much brings people from different countries with different laws together, it's tough to regulate and thus, certain laws will work around, or with that.
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:icontanyasimonesimpson:
TanyaSimoneSimpson Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
Finally! Someone a) getting actual information before talking about this and b) talking sense!
Reply
:iconomd:
omd Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
The “Orphan Works” Legislation presented to the Copyright Subcomittee on March 13, 2008 - in other words, it's recent people, not 2006
http://news.deviantart.com/article/46605/

This is an article posted directly on the U.S. Copyright Office website on March 13th, 2008. I've heard the debates going back and forth from our admins and everyone in between, but reserved my own opinion until I did the research myself. I suggest everyone read this article if they are concerned. NO this is not the angry article from the now infamous artist. NO this is not an article stating that the issue is a hearsay. This is an actual article from the Copyright office itself, documenting the hearing about the "Orphan Works" issue.

I suggest everyone read it, because it concerns us, directly. Read it and determine for yourself instead of listening to anyone else's opinions and then following them. Think for yourself.
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:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the info. :) My article was only ever meant to spark thought using facts and not sway people one way or another on this issue, making them sheep, so I understand and apprcieate what you're doing.

Good work.
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:iconomd:
omd Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
my pleasure and i completely understood and appreciated what you posted as well. i just couldn't stand that a lot of the people here are just butt-kissing those in power here so i wanted people to think for themselves.
Reply
:iconjunoknight:
junoknight Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:clap: Good one, chap. I really appreciate your efforts in this.
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:icondarkestwind08:
DarkestWind08 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
I appreciate that you posted this.
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:iconjezebe11e:
jezebe11e Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
Way to stomp the FUD! :thumbsup:

Thanks for posting this. I hope a great many people will read this and learn to get all the facts before they go whinging on like idiots about something. :)
Reply
:icongossamer-light:
gossamer-light Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008   Digital Artist
I do have a question. I am going a little off topic because, well, I already knew all this to begin with and spent all week rolling my eyes on it.

I respect that, in the USA, you do not have to register your work. I do respect that, in the USA, you do have to mandatory file your work (mandatory filing not being registering).

In reading the last three weeks on copyright in the USA, I have found it clear that, to seek legal remedy in court your work must be registered. Registration is required to sue for damages etc.

The corollary of this is, unregistered works cannot be brought to trial. Thus, I ask, how does a person enforce their rights on unregistered works? Seems to me, without the ability to sue you would be just a yapping dog. This leading me to believe that as artists we should simply lump the 45 dollar cost and register everything as a matter of course.

Just asking, as Ive not found an answer to this as yet.
Reply
:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is true, really, if your art is unregistered, you simply have the right to request that art that has been used without your permission be taken down/cease being used. You still have that right and you do have the right to issue them with a legal warning as well (not too sure how that works), but you cant get them to pay for legal costs if you do. Not unless your art is registered.

As ~Tikatu says, maradydd's artical has more details.
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:icongossamer-light:
gossamer-light Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008   Digital Artist
eurgh I have to have a livejournal to contact her >.<

Thank you. Though I didn't see where she discussed current standing of copyrights specifically (just the proposals and bills), she does do an honest piece of research.

Though, in the comments I found
[link]

She say's in her aricle "If your copyright is not registered, you may claim "actual damages and profits"" but the link says, no registration no court. So from that, I am not sure how anyone can get damage settled at all, because it is saying to me when I read it, with registration first you get court action. Hmm... it is a complicated tree it is!
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:iconjoshi38:
Joshi38 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Read this. [link]

If you scroll down some, it explains the very situation you're talking about. Read especially the paragraph that starts "Instead, we recommended a framework whereby a legitimate orphan works owner who resurfaces may bring an action for “reasonable compensation” against a qualifying user." onwards. ;)
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:icontikatu:
Tikatu Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
From what I've understood from what I've read on the subject (not an internet lawyer here) you can still sue for certain things even if your work is unregistered. However, you can sue for damages, lawyers fees, etc. if your work is registered.

Registering gives you more clout in the courtroom, should someone infringe on your copyright.

I think maradydd's article has more details; Joshi38 has a link to it.
Reply
:iconnyiana-sama:
Nyiana-sama Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
I do not see why people are getting in such a fuss about this. It's not art theft in any way. I actually like the idea of this. Besides other countries have it and they seem to be doing fine.

Honestly, people need to be open to change just a little more.
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