by Carolyn Edlund
There is recent news out about copyright infringement, and none of it is good. But, the upside is that there is something you can do about it. You will need to take action now.
First, and most grievous, is proposed legislation being sent to the U.S. Congress which would change the Copyright Act, and everything you thought you knew about owning the rights to your own art. This legislation wreaks havoc for artists of all types who depend on the right to own and hold their copyrights, and it benefits infringers. Suing for infringement would become almost impossible, both financially and logistically.
Artist Will Terry has posted a really informational (and frankly, scary) interview on YouTube with illustrator Brad Holland, who is an expert on the history of copyright laws and details of this latest proposed law. The interview is long, clocking in at over an hour, but well worth viewing. Here’s the link.
Or, for a quicker read about this crucial issue, visit Brad Holland’s blog and read the post here.
I’ve listed below a quote from Holland’s article with highlights of this troubling new proposed law:
Here are the basic facts:
“The Next Great Copyright Act” would replace all existing copyright law.
It would void our Constitutional right to the exclusive control of our work.
It would “privilege” the public’s right to use our work.
It would “pressure” you to register your life’s work with commercial registries.
It would “orphan” unregistered work.
It would make orphaned work available for commercial infringement by “good faith” infringers.
It would allow others to alter your work and copyright those “derivative works” in their own names.
It would affect all visual art: drawings, paintings, sketches, photos, etc.; past, present and future; published and unpublished; domestic and foreign.
This is very time-sensitive! Please note that you must submit your message to the U.S. Copyright Office by July 23, 2015 in order to be heard. Consider writing an email now, and spread the word to everyone you know to get them involved in the effort to take down this disastrous legislation that will hurt every artist.
UPDATE: This deadline has been extended! Below please read an excerpt from the notice from the U.S. Copyright Office. Click this link to read the entire message.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
U.S. Copyright Office
[Docket No. 2015-01]
Extension of Reply Comment Period: Copyright Protection for
Certain Visual Works
AGENCY: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.
ACTION: Extension of reply comment period.
SUMMARY: The Copyright Office is extending the period to submit public
reply comments regarding its April 24, 2015 Notice of Inquiry
requesting comments on how certain visual works, particularly
photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations, are monetized,
enforced, and registered under the Copyright Act.
DATE: Reply comments are due October 1, 2015.
Many thanks to Cherish Flieder and Joan Beiriger, licensed artists and leaders in their industry who have been working hard to bring everyone’s attention to the matter. I’m happy to help spread the news.
More on the infringement front..
A petition has been circulated by Change.org to shut down Wallpart.com, which has been stealing photos of artists’ work without their knowledge or consent, and profiting by selling posters of those images to the public.
Photographer Chris Thombs is fighting back on social media in an attempt to stop this abuse. His photo (above) makes a clear statement. Find the petition here. The comment section of the petition alone is rife with complaints from artists who have been infringed and want to fight this abuse. I was happy to sign it, and you might want to do so as well.
Please share this post with friends and your following to encourage others to fight copyright infringement and the harm it causes to artists.