Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oppose Orphan Works

Hi all. I thought this article at "Drawn!" might be of importance to many of us who post our art online. Please don't hesitate to take action as soon as possible. It only takes about five minutes.


ian russell said...

It's a legal minefield out there - the bastards always get away with it! It often surprises me to see professionals publish so much of their work on the internet. Certainly if I had to rely on my artistic expression to live I wouldn't dare have a blog unless I'm pragmatic about any unauthorized use as I wouldn't want to go through the courts to fight it out. A small web portfolio to advertise my ability and that would be that. You have to be careful.

There was someone who, a bit like yourself, Steve, had interviews and selected works of blogging artists and his whole blog was ripped off by some Chinese publishers and made into a book retailing at $100, including verbatim interviews! He must be spending a lot of time sorting that out now.

ian russell said...

the blog that was ripped off

baggelboy said...

Yes you have to careful.
What I've found is to keep my pictures small.
The width of any image I put online is a max of 300px and saved as a medium jpeg. That makes the image virtual unusable in anything other than a web page.

steve said...

Yeah, bastards is putting it lightly and I'm definitely not naive to this. I think it was the "Little Chimp Society" blog--an illustration blog, who was ripped off the way you described it Ian. part of me is like, screw 'em, I still have the original and I'll keep making my own art while these phonies do their thing, et part of me is thinking, we've got to fight these idiots. Sorry if I sound all negative here, but yeah baggelboy, I'm working on reducing the size of my files currently.

Jess said...

Oh, you're fucking kidding me. I can not believe that someone published a book like that. That is just... unbelievable.

I used to work in the intellectual property department at an engineering company who did R&D, and I learned that China basically doesn't give a shit about copyrighted works, so we didn't ever try to file patent applications there. We just did US, EU, Germany (which has a separate way to file), and Japan.

I think the deal with China is that they're going to do stuff like that regardless of what's happening with US patent/copyright law. So forget it-- there's really not much you can do except limit the sizes of your images available on the web, I think.

But this orphaned works bill is just bullshit. I read in this article that it's actually against international copyright law to coerce a creator into registering their works because it's such a logistic nightmare.

I took a scientific illustration certificate program from the UW, and we had a business skills class -- I was taught that it's a good idea to register your works every single month, and pay the fee, because then if someone rips you off you can sue for punitive damages. Otherwise you can only sue for direct losses, which means I think the burden is on the artist to prove the value of the works ripped off. I don't register my works, though... because it's a pain in the ass and I don't want to pay a fee every month. Ugh.

Anyway, this orphaned works thing is just a nightmare... I read somewhere that in order to use an orphan work, you have to prove that you did a search "in good faith", and the search must have been done through an approved database (this hypothetical database containing all registered works?)... I wish I could find that article.

I plan on writing my congresspeeps etc.. I'll post my letters here if anyone wants to see it. Likewise I would love to see what letters you guys are writing, if you do. Sometimes I feel like I'm not very good at persuasive writing, ha. (But I'll do it anyway.)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I've been off-line writing poetry and just got on and saw this. I did one of those click and send things because it looks like the vote is tomorrow. Better a click and send than nothing though. Aiee.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Using smaller images is a good idea.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

God, what a horror show!

I've seen some really astonishingly wonderful art available for stealing in large files on line. Too bad evil exists in the world! :-(