Harvesting Orphans

 

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The title of this post, “Harvesting Orphans” is taken from a current article by Brad Holland in The Journal of Biocommunication (JBC).
Yes, you read that correctly: Biocommunication. The image above has
nothing directly to do with “Harvesting Orphans” (although with a little
imagination a connection can be found),  but it is taken from the same
journal, which is devoted to the sensitive theme of Artists Rights. About now, you may be asking why a publication devoted to biocommunication (and incorporating The Journal of Biological Photography) is publishing a whole issue on intellectual property. Read this editorial and this snippet by editor Gary Schnitz:

“Perhaps no topics in recent years have so solidified the
creative community against what some have been termed “abuses” by
publishing companies and others.”

Here is what Mr. Schnitz told me: “The scholarly articles by Brad
Holland and Bruce Lehman are particularly noteworthy, as they help
explain and identify the anti-copyright forces and special interest
groups behind the recent Orphan Works legislation. In addition, Cynthia
Turner’s article is one of the most complete and detailed manuscripts on
Copyright that I have ever read.”

Holland and Turner have long committed themselves to Artists’ Rights
issues. Together they have gathered wide-spread support within the
creative community against Orphan Works legislation. To date over 75
organizations oppose Orphan Works legislation, representing over half a
million author/creators.

And in case you’re new to the orphan works issue, here’s a brief primer:

“Orphan Works legislation would summarily reverse the
automatic copyright protection currently afforded to authors by the
United States Copyright Act of 1976. This Orphan Works Amendment would
effectively remove penalties for an infringement if the infringer had
made what is termed a “reasonably diligent search” for the creator
within yet-to-be-created commercial databases. In this article the
author argues that the bill’s sponsors have not produced evidence that
such a change to the law is either necessary or desirable.”

The Journal of Biocommunication
is online only, but because of the importance of these issues to
artists, illustrators, photographers, authors, and musicians, the
publisher has made JBC Issue 36-1 available to the public without a
subscription. You can download all these articles as PDFs here. And for an opposing view go here.

 


About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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