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Harvesting Orphans

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 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.

Read more: Imprint | Harvesting Orphans http://imprint.printmag.com/?p=44011&preview=true#ixzz0uRD3myxi