I'm not a lawyer, but.....here's an explanation for why all photographers, especially poor photographers like us, should be against this bill:
In short, if this law is allowed to pass, all of us will be required to register every one of our thousands of photographs in a central government database, otherwise anyone who wants to steal our work can use it without our permission, and profit from it without paying us royalties, on the bogus claim that it was "orphaned," or by an unknown author. This law will apply to all works, in all countries, in spite of this law being a U.S. law and a U.S. law only. Sound familiar? As you might expect, this bill was "hotlined" through the Senate on Friday, meaning that it was approved without being voted on (an unconstitutional, but common practice), and now is in the House, with the word being that it will also be hotlined there. It is imperative for us to all take action to stop this law immediately.
There is an email form letter available here:
And it is also recommended that you phone the office of your representative on the Congressional 800 number: 1-800-828-0498
Remember that you need to contact your REPRESENTATIVE, not your Senator, as all of our Senators, nationwide, have been distracted by the banking crisis this weekend (meaning that this bill being hotlined is probably not a coincidence), and have allowed the hotlining to go ahead. If this effort fails, it could be necessary to contact President Bush. He's the Decider, he decides what is best, and what is best is for the Orphan Works Bill to be vetoed!!
Further information on this bill is available at www.congress.org, particularly who your representative is, in case you don't remember.
There's also a Facebook Group here:
and a Flickr Group here:
Strangely, there isn't an iPernity group yet, but since this is happening so fast there may not be time to build one, with the adequate membership and all. I strongly urge everyone, therefore, to act instead of talk. Use the links I've listed, and find more! We need to stop this bill any way that we can, otherwise we'll have to end our online photo exhibitions, or use ugly watermarks, which I really don't want to do, personally.