And your little dog, too: Orphan Works 2008 Recap
Remember that Public Knowledge was the prosecuter in chief and handmaiden to Google’s interests on orphan works, shoulder to shoulder with the Copyright Office.
“• PK and its allies moved a copyright reform bill to the cusp of passage. The importance of this cannot be overstated. First, it is extremely hard to get any substantive legislation passed in Congress, period. Second, recent previous efforts to reform copyright laws over the past 5 years have never made it past a hearing. Particularly given the MPAA’s antipathy toward the bill, moving the bill this far was an accomplishment.
Actually that’s a nice acknowledgement of some of the groups of small business entrepreneurs who are screwed by the orphan works legislation, but it leaves out a whole bunch of others. In fact, it would be simpler to just say “all” artists have to change their “business models”.
This is almost the identical response of Google in a recent hearing before the Senate Internet Committee when leaders of the journalism profession and the news business pleaded with the Congress to grant them an antitrust exemption so they could “change their business models” and have a hope of dealing with Google.
A statement from the Association of Independent Music Publishers belies the glib statements of Public Knowlege about how much the aritst community “understands”:
“Two comparable bills which threaten to erode fundamental protections for copyright authors and owners, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 (S. 2913) and the Orphan Works Act of 2008 (H.R. 5889), were introduced on April 24, 2008 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) respectively. The bills encourage copyright infringement and objectionable uses across the full spectrum of protected artistic works.
This legislation is being introduced at a time of broad public and government awareness that creators of original works, and the copyright industries which bring their products to market, are in many instances struggling for survival against a backdrop of massive and unprecedented infringement.
The bills strip authors and owners of basic legal remedies to combat copyright infringement.
In particular, they limit otherwise available remedies for stemming infringement, such as recovery of attorney’s fees and statutory damages, and actually offer incentives to unauthorized users by insulating them from detection and accountability. Under the proposed legislation, if an author should learn of an infringing use, he would have to undertake a time consuming and expensive determination by a court as to whether or not the infringer took sufficient steps to locate the author and whether the compensation requested for the unauthorized use was reasonable.” (My emphasis.)
What’s changed since the AIMP issued this statement?
Only a global recesssion that is killing the music business which was already in a depression, and further defiance from the infringer community such as the Pirate Bay criminal convictions in Sweden.
Senator Leahy said in his recent speech to the World Copyright Summit:
Intellectual property is a major driver of the United States economy. I was able to be on a movie set recently and it gave me a firsthand view of…how many jobs are related to the industry….Congress must do its part to protect intellectual property, and to foster its growth.
That is why legislation to reform our patent system, protect the rights of creators, and enforce our copyright laws must be enacted and supported.Preventing the theft of intellectual property – your work – therefore remains a high priority of mine.
A few weeks ago, President Obama announced a new cybersecurity initiative. In doing so, the President noted some estimates that online intellectual property theft reached $1 trillion worldwide last year. That is unacceptable.
As we work to reinvigorate the American and global economies, we simply cannot afford to tolerate theft on this level. You are all creators and legitimate users of intellectual property. The theft of intellectual property hurts all of us, it costs jobs, and it impedes economic growth.More than ever, we need a comprehensive and coordinated IP strategy.”
Not one word about orphan works.
If the quote from Marybeth Peters is correct, it seems that as he was saying those words, Senator Leahy’s staff was working on a new version of the orphan works legislation that so many opposed last session.