This is actually not my writing, but a form letter sent out by the Illustrator's Partnership addressed to all those who oppose the Orphan Works bill. In any case, here it is, as written...

Subject: Update concerning the passage of s.2913 from the Illustrator's Partnership


Orphan Works: The Devil's Own Day

 Never Too Busy to Pass Special    

 Interest Legislation  9.28.08

As lawmakers struggled Friday to clean up the mess on Wall Street, 
sponsors of the Orphan Works Act passed more special interest 
legislation. Their bill would force copyright holders to subsidize 
giant copyright databases run by giant internet firms.

Like the companies now needing billion dollar bailouts, these 
copyright registries - which would theoretically contain the entire 
copyright wealth of the US - would presumably be "too big to fail." 
Yet it's our wealth, not theirs, the scheme would risk.

Small business owners didn't ask for this legislation. We don't want it
and we don't need it. Our opposition numbers have been growing daily. 
So Friday, the bill's sponsors reached for the hotline.

What is Hotlining?

Critics of hotlining say "that lawmakers are essentially signing off 
on legislation neither they nor their staff have ever read."

"In order for a bill to be hotlined, the Senate Majority Leader and 
Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a 
roll-call vote. The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement 
using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a 
specified amount of time to object - in some cases as little as 15 
minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed."

- Roll Call, Sept 17, 2007

In other words, a Senate bill can pass by "unanimous consent" even if 
some Senators don't know about it.

The Devil's Own Day

Senators Leahy and Hatch hotlined the Orphan Works Act twice last 
summer. Each time came at the end of a day, at the end of a week, near 
the end of a legislative session. Each time lawmakers were distracted 
by other issues and other plans. Each time artists rallied quickly and 
each time a Senator put a hold on the bill.

Friday the Senators found a new opportunity.

With lawmakers struggling to package a 700 billion dollar bailout to 
avert a worldwide economic meltdown, with the rest of the country 
focused on Presidential debates, with Washington in chaos and 
Congressional phone lines jammed, they hotlined an amended bill. On 
short notice, even the legislative aides we could reach by phone said 
they didn't have time to read it. And so, while we were rushing to get 
out a second email blast to artists, the bill passed by "unanimous 
consent"  - in other words, by default.

What better way to pass a bill that was drafted in secret than to pass 
it while nobody's looking?

Since Friday, artists have been conducting bitter post mortems on their
blogs. That's understandable, but it's not time yet.

"When Sherman arrived at Grant's headquarters later that evening, he 
found the general - broken sword and all - chewing on a soggy cigar in 
the rain, which had begun soaking the battlefield.

'Well, Grant,' Sherman said to his friend, 'we've had the devil's own 
day, haven't we?'

'Yes,' replied Grant, 'lick 'em tomorrow, though.'"

The Senate passed their bill Friday, but the House hasn't. There's 
still time to write, phone and fax your congressional representatives. 
Tell them not to let the House Judiciary Committee fold their bill and 
adopt the Senate's.

Tell Congress to protect the private property of small businesses. Lick
'em tomorrow.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

Quote from "The Devil's Own Day," by Christopher Allen, January 2000 
America's Civil War Magazine


Tell the House Judiciary Committee not to adopt the Senate version.

We've supplied a special letter for this purpose:

Please post or forward this message immediately to any interested party.



For ongoing developments visit the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan 
Works Blog:

Over 70 creator organizations are united in opposing this bill in its 
current form. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, 
musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will 
harm their small businesses. Read the list: