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July 01, 2006

College Art Association Announcement on Orphan Copyright

CAA has been working hard to get the US copyright law revised, to make it less risky and confusing for authors, artists, scholars, libraries, and museums to use "orphan" copyrighted works in publications and in artworks. These are works that are still in copyright but for which no copyright holder can be found. The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is now considering a bill, H.R. 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, to address this problem. In a nutshell, if a user of an "orphan work," does a diligent search to locate the copyright owner, and is unsuccessful, the risks of using that work are greatly reduced.

Please write to the Committee and to your own Congressional Representative
to urge enactment of H.R. 5439 during this Congress. To send a customized
message, click on this URL

You don't need to know the name or address of your Representative; just type
in your zipcode at the website and follow the instructions. A template
letter will appear, with additional talking points, which you can customize.
Please give specific examples!

Examples of other CAA members' problems with orphan copyrights can be found
(Scroll down to find
bulleted quotations from CAA members.)

Additional talking points for artists and art scholars:

~As an [art historian/artist], I use, or want to use, orphan works. [Give

~ H.R. 5439 will make it easier for me to use orphan works and will make a
major difference to my work. [Give examples.]

~Please don't water down H.R. 5439 or let changes be made to the current
wording. It is a balanced compromise.

~Please support the bill and ensure that it is passed in this Congress.

CAA has been closely involved crafting H.R. 5439 and supports the bill
strongly. The association actively supports artists and authors in asserting
and protecting their copyrights. We believe that this legislation offers no
risk to working, living artists, or their estates. It solves a terrible
problem that you all face every day, as scholars and artists.

Thank you very much!

Eve Sinaiko
College Art Association

Posted by cat at 08:38 PM