By: Steven Heller | July 23, 2010
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 hasnothing directly to do with “Harvesting Orphans” (although with a littleimagination a connection can be found), but it is taken from the samejournal, 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 thecreative community against what some have been termed “abuses” bypublishing companies and others.”
Here is what Mr. Schnitz told me: “The scholarly articles by BradHolland and Bruce Lehman are particularly noteworthy, as they helpexplain and identify the anti-copyright forces and special interestgroups behind the recent Orphan Works legislation. In addition, CynthiaTurner’s article is one of the most complete and detailed manuscripts onCopyright that I have ever read.”
Holland and Turner have long committed themselves to Artists’ Rightsissues. Together they have gathered wide-spread support within thecreative community against Orphan Works legislation. To date over 75organizations oppose Orphan Works legislation, representing over half amillion author/creators.
And in case you’re new to the orphan works issue, here’s a brief primer:
“Orphan Works legislation would summarily reverse theautomatic copyright protection currently afforded to authors by theUnited States Copyright Act of 1976. This Orphan Works Amendment wouldeffectively remove penalties for an infringement if the infringer hadmade what is termed a “reasonably diligent search” for the creatorwithin yet-to-be-created commercial databases. In this article theauthor argues that the bill’s sponsors have not produced evidence thatsuch a change to the law is either necessary or desirable.”
The Journal of Biocommunicationis online only, but because of the importance of these issues toartists, illustrators, photographers, authors, and musicians, thepublisher has made JBC Issue 36-1 available to the public without asubscription. You can download all these articles as PDFs here. And for an opposing view go here.