Space Ramblings

Another disingenuous Orphan Works Argument

For the real deal on the Orphan Works Act this is still one of the best places to start to offset the lies coming from the anti copyright people.

Jerry Brito, a D.C. lawyer who has been aggressively agitating for the Orphan Works Act which is set to turn artist copyrights over to the big corporations for a song, brought to you by Congressman Howard Berman, the media companies’ best friend, here attacks the Stock Artists Alliance and uncovers an evil artists’ conspiracy.

Just wait for it.

The Stock Artists Alliance demonstrated the problem of letting companies seize artwork online and exploit it by calling it an Orphan Work if they can claim to have done a search without finding an owner, by showing that image searches produce photos and images whose provenance can’t be tracked and images that are composite images created from a variety of older images.

Of course Jerry Britto offers a simple solution.

If I found a photo on a website and I wanted to use it and the filename wasn’t helpful and there was no metadata, I would not throw my hands up in the air. I would quite simply contact the owner of the website where I found the picture. This person might be the copyright owner or at least will be able to tell me where they got the picture providing me my first lead in a reasonable search.

You have to wonder which era he’s living in. The most common places people find images are indexes like Google’s Image Search which really doesn’t even require a website visit. An image can then be promoted, emailed, passed along and redistributed. And expecting some 14 year old on MySpace to be able to provide you with copyright information or original ownership is absurd. And I’m sure Jerry knows it.

But the key here is “Reasonable Search” which means fulfilling legal requirements, racking up billable time, while screwing the artist. But see according to Jerry it’s the artists who are evil and really plotting against honest corporations who just randomly lift and use other people’s images for commercial purposes.

Second, the fact that works are uncredited is a problem. However, one the causes of that problem is that authors/owners today feel free to release those works without attribution knowing that they will retain their full rights and that they will be able to pop out, sue, and collect heavy damages from an unsuspecting user who couldn’t find them to ask for permission. So, in many cases, authors/owners don’t bother putting attribution on their works. An orphan works law would help remedy this by giving author/owners an incentive to mark their works and to make sure they stay marked.

So clearly if we just legalized car theft, we could encourage car owners to take better precautions. Perfect.

Lucky Jerry Britto uncovered that evil artists conspiracy to fail to fully protect their images from being appropriated in order to wait around until some company uses them and then sue. Of course artists have no actual way of knowing that their work is being used, unless they somehow stumble across it, which damages Jerry’s “Evil Artists Stalking Innocent Image Stealing Corporations” theory, from which they can only be saved by legalizing stealing from the artists in the first place.

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