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copyright

Protest the Orphan Works Bills

You think your design work gets stolen now? Wait ’til infringement becomes the law of the land. The Orphan Works Act defines an “orphan work” as any copyrighted work whose author any infringer says he is unable to locate with what the infringer himself decides has been a “reasonably diligent search.” In a radical departure from existing copyright law and business practice, the U.S. Copyright Office has proposed that Congress grant such infringers freedom to ignore the rights of the author and use the work for any purpose, including commercial usage.

The Orphan Works Bills will remove copyright from our works and works we’ve done on behalf of clients. If the bills pass, work that you copyrighted simply by publishing it will no longer be protected. To try to protect it, you will have to retroactively file copyright paperwork for everything you’ve published in all the years you’ve been working. Client projects, too. Salient summary:

The Orphan Works Act defines an “orphan work” as any copyrighted work whose author any infringer says he is unable to locate with what the infringer himself decides has been a “reasonably diligent search.” In a radical departure from existing copyright law and business practice, the U.S. Copyright Office has proposed that Congress grant such infringers freedom to ignore the rights of the author and use the work for any purpose, including commercial usage.

“Orphaned” works will be made legally available for use by commercial interests, even when the copyright holder is alive, in business, and licensing the work.

You think your work gets stolen now? Wait ’til infringement becomes the law of the land.

Fight back. For U.S. artists and writers, this site makes it easy to communicate with members of Congress. And I mean sign-your-name-and-click-send-easy. The site also provides help for international artists and colleagues overseas.

[tags]copyright, orphaned works[/tags]

By Jeffrey Zeldman

“King of Web Standards”—Bloomberg Businessweek.

Hi! I’m a principal designer at Automattic, Inc. Also: Publisher and founder, A List Apart “for people who make websites.” Publisher and co-founder, A Book Apart—brief books for people who design, write, and code. Co-founder and co-host, An Event Apart UX & front-end conference. Faculty, MFA Interaction Design, School of Visual Arts, NYC. Host, The Big Web Show. Have written two books, notably ”Designing With Web Standards,“ currently in its 3rd Edition, and, on last count, translated into 15 languages and used as a text in 85 universities.