Thanks for the link. I have bookmarked it. However, Patterson is not quite correct. While there is no 2008 legislation written at this point, there have been hearings and lobbying to start to get legislation rushed through this session before June.
In 2008 new legislation is being prepared to take away rights from creators. It uses the trojan horse name of Orphan Rights and pretends to be about helping libraries and scholars, but the real intent is to help companies avoid paying living photographers and artists proper fees for their work. It is a resurrected form of HR 5439 (May 2006)
and HR 6052 (Sep. 2006)
that were killed by concerted action by creators of visual material.
The American Society of Media Photographers and the Illustrators Partnership of America are both tracking this legislation:
http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/ … term=00185
Here is a 48 minute MP3 interview with illustrator Brad Holland:
The new proposal is to require creators to register their creations at all of an unlimited number of new works registries, in addition to the Copyright Office. Companies seeking to use an image would be able to inquire at a couple of obscure registries and then claim due diligence if they did not find the work registered there. They would then be free to use the image for multiple uses for thousand and millions of copies. The burden would be on the artist to notice the infringement, absolutely find the company (searching in a couple of places would not count), then notify them, and go to court if necessary. After all that and paying for their own lawyers' fees, they would only be able to charge whatever usage fee the infringer (not the artist) felt was good.
There is no need for this legislation since libraries and scholars and high school students can use images in reports and papers under the fair use laws that already exist.
Follow the money. Google, Microsoft, Corbis (owned by Bill Gates), and Getty are lobbying for this. Many other big money interests stand to benefit from this. Large companies like Disney that create images can afford to register in many places and have a legal staff. Medium sized companies and unscrupulous art directors would slip money under the table or buy shady people free lunches to get them to strip watermarks and EXIF info from images to post on websites and forums where they could be claimed as "orphan works".
This is a rights grab against individual photographers and artists and small companies.
Please track this issue and get involved.
Professor Peter Jaszi.
by Meredith L. Patterson.