Sunday, 13 April 2008

Orphaned Works Legislation

I've always had trouble understanding legal jargon. Sit me down to read a legal document and I'm off on another plant within seconds. Just doesn't sink in. Doesn't interest me in the least. Even if it works to my advantage. I just have one of those brains I guess.

So, I'm going to post a link on The Orphaned Works Legislation for you to listen to. (here)

Please listen to this. Pop it on in the background as you do other work on the computer. Yes it takes a good 50 minutes, BUT it is very interesting. Especially if your an artist or know someone who is an artist. Actually, interesting isn't the word to use. SCARY would be more appropriate.

Basically what it is saying is that this law will effectively remove all rights of ownership to ANY artistic visual that you create.

So. For example, let's say that I doodle a picture of a tree. I post it up on my blog saying 'Look how clever I am'. Someone spots this and decides to us it for an add campaign for a kids cough syrup (yes a bit far fetched I know, but bare with me).

Suddenly someone is making money off my work. I decide to demand compensation for the company's use of MY artwork. However, under this new legislation it is no longer considered to be my artwork. It's been deemed Orphan. Why? Because I have not registered it with a privately run Register.

Now, at the moment there are no limits on how many registers there could be. There could be 5 or there could be 1000. AND may I add that these will be run by the private sector. So you may have 5000 images that you create a year. You will need to register EACH AND EVERY PIECE OF ART YOU CREATE. And if you really want to cover your butt it will be not once but possibly 1000 times. Yeah, like the starving artist can afford to do that.

SO. Back to the story at hand. All the Company needs to do at this stage is state that they 'had made a concerted effort to find the owner of the image'. They may have only searched 5 of the 1000 registries. However, because they could not find your image (because you could only afford to register at 3 of the 1000), all of a sudden your artwork is considered Orphaned.

Plus. What if they did find that particular piece of artwork registered. With so many other registries available they could easily pretend that they didn't find your work. Still claiming that it had been Orphaned.

As usual, the Artist is left high and dry without any form of compensation, despite having registered the artwork in the first place. Big Business is the winner of the day, because they can afford to be.

Anyway. I hope you see where I'm coming from with this blog today. It's certainly something the art community should be seriously looking into. So if this doesn't effect you please link it to someone you think may be interested.

Here are a few more links to get a more detailed overview on the situation:
OrphanWorks Blogspot

There are lots of good links within these articles as well as some Petition links.

Also, big thanks to Melissa Findley (or as we know her over at DA, Mercuralis ) for the use of her poster. She gives permission for it to be used on blogs, etc so we can spread the word.


Amarinda Jones said...

Oh hard! Sounds complicated. I did a coupel of units of law at uni and I swear I sweated bullets in order to pass those courses as they were fluent mumbo jumbo. Yeah, and being an artist is a minefield

LynTaylor said...

Yeah, it sucks big time. We could all be over-reacting of course. Let's hope we are.