I had gone and signed the petition at the IPA site about the Orphan Works Bill. So did many other graphic artists! I was on my Assemblage list this morning on yahoo and a reader had posted an email response that she had received from Senator Obama regarding the Bill. It was such a contrast to the 2 emails that I received from my New York State Senators, Clinton and Schumer!
Clinton and Schumer sent me the usual generic reply email, with nothing specific that addressed the Orphan Works issue. Obama sent an email that discussed the bill and his position! I am posting all 3 email replies here, for anyone that may want to see what Obama says in his. The part that astounds me is that Clinton and Obama are both working senators at this point in time and also working hard in an election, and in this little test, Obama won. He and/or his staff are on the ball. That's what I like to see. I am not really certain of his own personal position regarding the bill, and he quotes info that is common knowledge in the email, so the content is not too striking... But the fact that the email actually was about the subject really hit me.
Thank you for your e-mail. It is very important to me to know the issues
that are of concern to you. A growing number of my constituents are now
choosing to communicate with me via e-mail. I hope you will understand
that, because of the volume and range of e-mails I receive, it can take
some time to send a response that specifically addresses the subject
raised in your message. I do, however, want to let you know immediately
that your message has been received. Hearing from you and others through
e-mail helps me to quickly learn the views and interests of New Yorkers
and others, which is very helpful to me in my work in the United States
Senate. I hope you will continue to monitor my work through my website
at http://clinton.senate.gov, and I welcome hearing from you.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
hank you for your e-mail. Each and every piece of correspondence I receive is important because it allows me to better understand the New Yorkers I serve in the United States Senate.
As you can imagine, my office receives a great number of messages every day regarding a variety of issues – this is particularly true of e-mails. It makes me proud to know that my constituents take an active role in our government by corresponding with me, and I look forward to responding to your concerns in greater detail. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that your e-mail has been received, and to ask for your patience until I send you a more detailed response.
Again, thank you for writing. Please feel free to visit my website http://schumer.senate.gov to follow my work in the Senate and to learn more about the services my office can provide to you.
[schumer failed to sign the email]
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the Orphan Works Act of 2008.
You raise some important concerns.
As you know, the term "orphan works" refers to copyrighted works whose owners are
difficult or impossible to find. The U.S. Copyright Office has expressed concerns about the
uncertainty surrounding the ownership of orphan works, and this view has been reiterated
by both copyright owners and users, including artists and libraries. I have heard from
many constituents who believe that this uncertainty discourages subsequent creators and
users from incorporating orphan works into new creative efforts, or from making these
works available to the public.
At the same time, you raise some important concerns regarding the potential implications
of orphan works legislation on the photography and visual image industries, including
many of my constituents who are photographers, illustrators, and graphic artists. It is
often exceedingly difficult to find the copyright owner of a visual image, generally because
the name of the image's creator is not on copies of the work distributed to the public.
Thus, there is a real danger that the works of some of these artists might be inaccurately
labeled orphan works.
As you know, this danger exists whether or not new legislation addressing orphan works
is passed. However, I do understand your concerns regarding the new compensation
mechanism proposed for orphan works use.
The Copyright Office has proposed that in most cases, including all commercial uses, the
user of an orphan work would be obligated to pay the copyright owner "reasonable
compensation" for the use prior to the time the owner resurfaces. Also, the user will
generally be unable to continue making use of the work after the owner asserts his
copyright. The problem is that litigation costs associated with asserting this right to
"reasonable compensation" may be prohibitively expensive for many copyright holders.
This critical point should be taken into account in ongoing discussions over orphan works
S. 2913 was introduced on April 24, 2008 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It was referred
to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. A companion measure in the House of
Representatives, H.R. 5889, was approved by voice vote on May 8, 2008, by the
Subcommittee on the Internet and Intellectual Property. While I do not serve on the panel
considering the Orphan Works Act, you can be sure I will remember your concerns should
this bill come before the Senate floor.
Again, thank you for contacting me regarding this important issue. Please stay in touch.
United States Senator