Friday, October 3, 2008

Open Letter to the House of Representatives.

I'm writing you for your desperately needed help as a constituent, and as a creative professional eeking out a living in the US, primarily as an illustrator of children's books, urging you to PLEASE do what you can to prevent HR 5889 from going onto the House calendar for a vote, and even more importantly to NOT adopt the proposed Senate version of the bill, which was passed in relative secrecy one week ago.

The Senate bill on this subject, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act, makes egregious changes to existing copyright law, some of which go so far as to trample articles of international treaties on the subject. I'm urging you to not allow the adoption of the Senate version of this bill in the House.

The Orphan Works legislation as it is currently written—and particularly in it's Senate form—would put a terrible burden on those of us working as small business owners, earning lower- to middleclass incomes licensing copyrights for our diligent, highly specialized and personal work in the educational, advertising, fine arts and publishing sectors.

These bills would overhaul the protections intrinsic in our society's understanding of intellectual property that allow our work to even exist, and must be CAREFULLY considered for the potential harm they would do to our nation's entrepreneurs and artists for the benefit of small time infringers and large corporate interests.

While their professed intent is to protect and free up our nation's rich visual culture, they would in fact do irreparable harm to the rights and livelihoods of those who create and contribute to that culture, even going so far as to provide a deterrent from continuing to create and build on that artistic heritage.

Please do not allow this legislation to squeak by in its current form, not while the nation's eyes are averted by other crises, crises that–like our current economic issue–stem from allowing the self serving and material interests of a few to run roughshod over some of the principles and individuals that make our country great.

Adam Gustavson


Dear ________,

I am writing you today regarding my opposition to H.R. 5889, the Orphan Works Act of
2008. This legislation, if passed as written, will have devastating
consequences for millions of copyright holders. On Friday, the Senate
passed their version of the Orphan Works bill, and my worst fears will
be realized if the House follows suit.

I am totally outraged that now˜


when we were led to believe that the bill would not be passed by the
110th Congress NOW is when Congress is trying to re-write our
copyright laws.

I am joining in with of a loosely formed alliance of 75 organizations representing
over 500,000 artists, photographers, musicians and writers˜AND WE WANT
OUR VOICES HEARD. Please do NOT allow this bill to pass now˜ and do NOT
adopt the Senate version of the bill. This radical change to copyright
law is not in the best interests of our country ESPECIALLY given the
economic crisis we are facing. In the upcoming election this will be a
vote-deciding issue for me and many artists in our nation. We need to have a
voice in crafting appropriate Orphan Works legislation which will not
devastate multiple industries, and despite what you may have been told
we have not been given that opportunity. Please help us make that
happen˜in the 111th Congress.

I look forward to your reply.


Your name


Sarah said...


I just wrote to Donald Payne (my rep).

Theater of Ideas said...

I hadn't heard about this. What's in this legislation, exactly?