My friend Claudine mentioned a bit on her blog and directs you to one of our industry's Copyright Legal types- both of which can help add insight to the issue... and Tim has even chimed in as well...which should immediately get your curiosity up as to why so many well known folks are making a mention....
Here are my thoughts.
Being a History buff and well versed in Constitutional "stuff" (thank you to my Parents and Grandparents) I think the distilled version about how I feel about the two bills being presented regarding Orphaned works is, "What a load of bunk!". Our Country is based on laws for the people and by the people. The intent of our Founding Fathers was to cut through the legal speak and unfair laws that excluded the public and make them active participants in the governmental processes of our Republic- how far we have come. These Bills will make obtaining a copyright and protecting your published works something akin to a forced fun test you are required to take in order to earn a living (and oh yeah, you have 1 day to study for it, it is in a foreign language and there are no study guides......)
Having been the victim of stolen intellectual property, let me tell you folks, it hurts to see others capitalize on your ideas. It is a hard thing to swallow knowing you are eating Ramen Noodles while they are jet setting in the Vineyards but, it happens. The object here is not to let it happen again. Artists lull themselves into thinking that there is a sense of community and that the existing laws will protect their work. How wrong we are to believe such niceties. Under this new legislation, pictures of my 4 year old daughter picking flowers innocently could be swiped by some unscrupulous individual to be used in ads for mail order brides or some creepy fetish site. You think I am exaggerating. Let me share with you a story.....
I posted a picture of a row of baby cows not too long ago (I am not posting them again because, this has become quite a mess).... these silly cows refused to let me take their picture and I ended up with a line of cow backsides. The picture was funny. The tagline (the few words I used to label my picture for my own personal reference on my computer) said cow butts.... having been a criminal justice student back in the day, you can only guess what type of site that picture ended up on. Because this is a family friendly site, it was on a site that was not family friendly- enough said, end of discussion.
The fact here is folks, we are at a pivotal time in history, a time where we are truly at a crossroads. The Freedoms we hold dear here in the United States are not the same Freedoms enjoyed by others around the planet. The internet is an amazing place with an array of voices and motives. How would you feel having your precious family pictures used against your will and at the whim of a company with more resources than you and an expensive legal team that knows how to manipulate the system to their favor, opening stealing your property, your intellectual property for their own personal gain?
Any person desiring to earn a living through their own creations must take action...not later....NOW. Click HERE to have your voice heard.