I found about this ludicrous proposed law on Red Bubble and wanted to let everyone else know what they can do about it! If you have not heard about the Orphan Works Act, then you should research it and speak out before it is too late (especially if you are an artist, writer, and/or musician)! No, this Act is not about displaced children or found animals. It revolves around works of art (including fine art, photography, writing, music, etc.) that are not registered with newly proposed agencies. ANY work not registered would be considered in the public domain. This is a dangerous concept and just goes to show how greedy and capitalistic our society, government, and big businesses have become.

According to GoPetition.com:

“If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we’ve created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run (by the friends and cronies of the U.S. government) registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won’t successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free.

In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!”

We would be forced into a world where big business can bully us and use whatever they wanted and not be penalized for it. And, this law not only affects artists, writers, and musicians. It also affect the everyday consumer! If you are planning to get your the photographs of your cousin’s wedding developed at a Wal-Mart or other big box retailer, then you better be prepared to get every image copyrighted or you may just end up seeing them on Wal-Mart’s billboards! Gone would be the days of having rights the minute you create something. Now, if you don’t pay to protect it, then it is like no one created the image and it is up for grabs! Who wants to live in this kind of world other than greedy politicians and businesses? And, it does not surprise me that this has all happened under the Bush administration. Who were the idiots that voted for him and thought he would do us some good? Well, seems like the joke’s on YOU!

In an April 10th article in Animation World Magazine, award-winning animation producer/director and speaker, Mark Simon, writes:

“It is currently against international law to coerce people to register their work for copyright because there are so many inherent problems with it. But because big business can push through laws in the United States, our country is about to break with the rest of the world, again, and take your rights away.

With the tens of millions of photos and pieces of artwork created each year, the bounty for forcing everyone to pay a registration fee would be enormous. We lose our rights and our creations, and someone else makes money at our expense.

This includes every sketch, painting, photo, sculpture, drawing, video, song and every other type of creative endeavor. All of it is at risk!

If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we’ve created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run (by the friends and cronies of the U.S. government) registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won’t successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free.”

So, what can you do about it? Well educate yourself on the issues, write to your congress men and women, and sign as many petitions as your can. To get your started, check out this petition, which I have already signed: Say “NO!” to the Orphan Works Act on GoPetition.com

Also, be sure to check out these resources for more information:

You can also find more information about the Orphan Works Act on Red Bubble:

Note: This update originally appeared in the BCD Red Bubble Journal.

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