The ophan works bill

Pending Legislation to Have Negative Impact on Artists

The ophan works bill before congress looks like bad news for artists. This bill would make copyright protection contingent on having works registered with a commercial database. This “voluntary” registration would place an enormous burden on artists and make the act of infringing on an artist’s copyright much easier. It would require infringers to file a simple “notice of use” before they infringe.

The details of how copyright registries would work have not been given, but experience with image banks suggests the following: For unregistered work, infringers will use the registries to identify pictures that aren’t registered. Infringers will probably pay the registry a search fee, then market the “orphans” like clip art. For registered work, the registries will act as a kind of stock house: Users will go to them for one-stop shopping to clear rights to your pictures. The registry will probably charge the artist a commission when they do. 

Now would be a good time to write Congress to oppose this legislation. For more information see:��