Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million
ellenmillion

On the Orphaned Works Act

It's important to realize - this is NOT a bill yet. It may not be. I've seen this posted everywhere now, and I really want to haul folks back and remind them to save their energy for a real fight. These articles are reactionary and have technical inaccuracies.

If you try to track back to the actual source of the rumor, you get nothing. ALL of the information links and sources are from before the bill was defeated in 2006. Anything more recent than that is wildly reactionary and rumor, or based on that information two years old.

It's a potentially awful thing, no denying, but it's NOT happening yet!

The awful thing I see coming from this is all the people who are getting scared to put their work online, and talking about hiding everything. The irony is that that makes their work MORE likely to orphan. (Orphaned work already exists - the deal with this bill is how it is treated and where the burden of proof is, and limitations on remedy.)

If you want to take this and do some good with it, use this as a reason for cracking down on people who use work without permission and credit. A bill that doesn't exist isn't as much of a problem as the people out there who - usually through ignorance - are CREATING orphaned work.

(x-posted a few places, because I'm honestly getting OMGed out over the issue...)

ETA: Some more digging did turn up recent news on the topic:
http://www.asmp.org/news/spec2008/vsp_testimony_13Mar2008.pdf

READ it... it is hopeful and fair. Allowing non-profit and educational use of orphaned work is a GOOD thing. That is what the bill was originally for anyway, and tightening the language so that legitimate use is protected is not the Great Evil that people are making it out to be. It is also dry and technically worded, not peppered with emotional outbursts. You would WANT something like this to go through, blindly trying to stop it based on the wording of a bill of two years ago is short-sighted and foolish.

In closing: WAIT FOR THE BILL. Then decide.

ETA: Full article on the results of my research coming on May 1.
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