Over the weekend we received about a zillion links to this call to arms at Animation World Magazine decrying an upcoming amendment to the Orphan Works bill soon to come up for vote:
In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!
Why is this allowed to happen? APATHY and MONEY.
Artists have apathy and corporations have money.
We need to be heard in order to protect our incomes, our creations and our careers. GET OFF YOUR ASS!
Stirring words and we’re all for artists not losing control of their works. But is this really all that it seems? Apparently, not really, as no bill is actually up before Congress at this time. This link would seem to refute many of the scary calls for petitions and so on:
But Mark Simon apparently believes that enacting legislation to handle orphaned works in a way that protects people who legitimately try to find the original copyright holder, but can’t, will lead to the effective invalidation of copyright on ALL UNREGISTERED ART EVERYWHERE OMGZ CALL OUT THE CAVALRY. His article, which I linked above, is miserably poorly researched, jumps to completely illogical conclusions, and, most retardedly of all, implores artists to letterbomb Congress in protest of proposed legislation which does not actually exist. Someone please tell me where this guy is getting the crack he’s smoking, because I want to avoid that streetcorner and everything in a six-block radius, kthx.
We’re not ENTIRELY clear on which side of this is correct but the hysterical tone of Simon’s piece tipped us off right away.
MEANWHILE, non orphaned work can be stolen as the tale of indie rock band Crystal Castles appropriating the work of indie artist Trevor Brown shows.
mentioned before – a pair of stupid kids doing electronica stuff who decided they’d use my art for their first 7″ record cover without bothering to seek permission – the same image also stolen for “official” crystal castles t-shirts – their excuse and reasoning being: we found the image on an old flyer, with no credit, so we didnt know who it belonged to or who to ask we figured if we used it, the artist would eventually make him/herself known well, the artist did quickly learn about it and made himself known – then proceeded to waste months listening to their lame apologies and promises – but never got anything – not even a lousy copy of the record – all they did was belatedly stick a credit to me on their web site (ie myspace page) for the t-shirt design, as if that made everything hunky dory – the 7″ sold out fast but i asked them to stop selling the shirts
The art in question is based on a photograph of Madonna to which Brown added a swollen black eye, but even that doesn’t mean the right to profit from his work. Brown specializes in Lolita-style art of little girls with swollen shut black eyes and other very very disturbing and controversial imagery. But that doesn’t mean he should get ripped off. Meanwhile, we really like Crystal Castles. Chris Butcher has more.