Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today's Orphan Works Report

The British Journal of Photography is urging its readers to oppose the U.S. orphan works bill:

"The proposed legislation would legalise the use of such images if an attempt has been made to trace the owner. Critics - ie, pretty much anyone who trades on their own copyright ownership - say the proposals will kill international accords and encourage widespread theft. What's more, to protect your images, you will be forced to register them with private, profit-run databases."

The last bit is, as I've noted before, untrue: registration would not be mandatory under the new law.

I also think it to some extent overstates the level of opposition to the legislation. As this story in the River Cities' Reader points out, the American Society of Media Photographers, for example, supports the House version of the bill (admittedly on a lesser-evil theory: "Passage of an orphan-works bill is nearly inevitable, [its president] claimed, and ASMP feels this is its best opportunity to get a version that's friendly to artists").