View Full Version : Important to all artists

Pat Isaac
04-17-2008, 06:33 PM
Hi everyone, I just received an email about this and then noticed a link in the soft pastel forum so I am passing it on to you all. Please read.


04-17-2008, 06:59 PM
:confused: Hi everyone, I just received an email about this and then noticed a link in the soft pastel forum so I am passing it on to you all. Please read.


Pat--Just arrived in Savannah and thought I would see what is up. I took a few minutes to scan through some of this, but it seems that someone with a legal background or at least some understanding of the legal issues needs to prepare a summary of the core issues since there are many conflicting posts, many reacationary, knee jerk reactions, and not much concise and readable objective analyses of the issue. We really need to understand what it is we are marshalling opposition to or support for before climbing on a soap box, IMHO.

I would be interested in how you perceive this issue? I tend to be leery of the sky is falling issues since I've never seen government move that swiftly and efficiently. Is there someone that really understands the core issues that can frame them in a way that can be easily digested by most artists. Copyright in the digital age is even more complex than before and it is something even experts sometimes can't agree on.


04-17-2008, 09:09 PM
Hi Pat: Lady Rando posted a good post on the issue, here: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6730027&postcount=11

If the material is accurate, it does appear this is something that artists need to oppose.

Pat Isaac
04-18-2008, 07:34 AM
Thanks, Annie. I saw that one also under this same article that I received in an email today. There are a lot of comments to the article and a lot of reading here. Some of the comments are interesting and Lady Rando's article was one of the comments under this main article.
At this point in time I have to read more, but am not sure that it is something I need to worry about.


04-18-2008, 11:24 AM
Hi. If this is true I have an idea that might just work to protect everything at once. Put all your images in an ebook with some text explaining each image. Ie "Collected works of Pat Isaac" or "Professor Bill, A Retrospective." As far as I know, written works still have an automatic copyright. In any event, you can still apply for one single copyright for a book of collected works all at once rather than applying and registering each separate image. It doesnt sound like it will pass anyway. I can't imagine Disney will have to copyright every separate illustrated image of Snow White ever created in order to protect her from being prostituted to sell Viagra or Rogaine. I didn't listen to the entire interview but it didn't sound like this law would apply to manuscripts / literature. Is there a legal artist here on wc that can offer an opinion on this?

04-18-2008, 11:26 AM
On second thought, I can start selling Isaac glicees at our local art fairs. :evil:;)

04-18-2008, 12:20 PM
Pat: It appears to be a badly written law because, as I understand it, although the creator of a work would still have rights, he/she would have to find the instances of infringement in order to act, and even then, would have to spend the time and money seeking legal redress from the infringer. Thus, it seriously weakens artists control over their own works.

Chris: The earlier efforts to pass something similar failed, but according to the illustration society folks, this time it's anticipated that it will pass. Your idea regarding collected works sounds good. I wonder if WC could establish itself as a repository, with every work here automatically becoming registered.

There's a link in the Legal section of the Art Business Forum, but mostly it just refers back to the thread in Cafe Guerbois - I didn't see any legal comment. I haven't completely checked out the links at the Illustration Society's website, but it looks like they've done a lot of work on the issue, so I wouldn't be surprised to find a legal opinion there. http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/

Pat Isaac
04-18-2008, 04:26 PM
It does seem very confusing and not clearly stated in the articles that I have read. I'll check out some more.
Isaac giclees..:eek: no, no, Chris...:evil:


04-18-2008, 08:49 PM
For anyone who may want to take action to oppose this potential law, here's a link to a website that streamlines the process of contacting your representatives: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

When you visit the site, you can type in your zip code in the box in the upper right that says "Find Your Representatives" (don't use the Google box above it). At the next page, click on the link that says, "Federal" and you'll be taken to a page where you can write one letter and send it to all of your representatives in Congress. You can choose between an email letter or printed letter which will be sent for free, or what they call an "Extra Impact" letter for a small fee.

Pat Isaac
04-19-2008, 07:22 AM
Thanks, Annie for the link. Interesting to peruse that site.


04-19-2008, 03:39 PM
I wanted to clarify that my previous post was not to be taken as to diminish the importance of this issue, but I think we need to have someone with fimiliarity with legal issues of copyright weigh in with some basic english analysis of what exactly is being proposed and what effects it would have. Our reference image library, this connects images with contributors and documents the source of the image; in addition, digital imagess all contain exif data (metadata) that can be examined, edited to include authors, dates, etc. Perhaps creating digital images of your art and posting in the RIL would be an easy way to document works. Would not signed works or art circumvent the problem since the creator is named on the work? As I understand copywrite, one does not need to "register" for this protection as in the past. Creative works are protected . Annie, who bears responsibility now for raising the issue of infringement??? I don't know anyone other than trade organizations that vigorously monitor copyright infringement. Probably the greatest bullodog in that area was the late Jack Valenti, a former aid to LBJ, that for years was exective director of the Association of Motion Picture and Recording Artistis.

Isn't there a forum here at WC that focuses on business and copyright legal issues? Those folks should have a better handle on this than many of the bloggers (not meant as derogatory, but action is best taken on solid facts than emotional appeals that may be well intentioned but not well informed).

These are issues where it is often hard to separate the wheat from the chaffe since they evoke the spectrum of responses I've seen here from it is not big deal to this is the end of the world.

Does this make sense?

04-19-2008, 03:52 PM
Here is a link to the American Library Association that contains links to what the history of the problem is, what is happening in congress, copyright office, etc. that may be useful in sorting out what is and is not happening:


04-19-2008, 04:00 PM
The following is an excert from the ALA site given in the previous post. This outlines the recommendations of the Copyright Office. More links and infor available at ALA site:

Copyright Office Issues Report

3 Feb
The Copyright Office submitted its Report on Orphan Works to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 31, 2006. All of the documents relating to the study (http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/) are available on their Web site.
The Report makes recommendations for changes to the Copyright Act to address this problem and to facilitate the “productive and beneficial use” of orphan works. The recommendations are fairly close to what the library community proposed: limiting remedies for infringement for a user who performed a "good faith, reasonably diligent search" to locate the owner of a work, but did not succeed.
For noncommercial uses, there are no damages if the user ceases the infringement expeditiously after the owner reemerges. For commercial uses, and for noncommercial uses that continue, the users must pay "reasonable compensation."
Injunctive relief is also available, unless the user is has commenced making a derivative work that contains the user's own expression. In essence, if the user has made a substantial investment in reliance on the orphan status, the user can continue the use, but must pay reasonable compensation.
http://lita.org/img/Wash_Off/top.gif (http://lita.org/ala/washoff/woissues/copyrightb/orphanworks/orphanworks.cfm#top)

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (http://www.ala.org/)50 E. Huron Chicago, IL 60611 Call Us Toll Free 1-800-545-2433

©var theDate = new Date(); document.write(theDate.getFullYear()); 2008 American Library Association. Copyright Statement (http://www.ala.org/ala/home/copyright.htm) View our Privacy Policy (http://www.ala.org/ala/home/privacystatement.htm). For questions or comments about the Web site, complete the Feedback Form (http://www.ala.org/cfapps/feedback/default.cfm).FAQ (http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=alafaq&template=/cfapps/faq/faq.cfm) Member and Customer Service (http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Sitemap) Events Calendar (http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Events)

Pat Isaac
04-19-2008, 04:42 PM
Thanks, Bill for all that info. I had seen some of that on the bills in Congress site. Just haven't finished reading it all.
Having fun???


04-19-2008, 05:23 PM
Thanks, Bill for all that info. I had seen some of that on the bills in Congress site. Just haven't finished reading it all.
Having fun???


Having a ball, and haven't even reached Jerry's yet. I'm not sure my heart will be able to take it!

I really feel my enthusiasm rising again and think a break was just what the doctor ordered for my doldrums. As you can see from some of my posts, seriousness is fadings and my more usuall insanity is back on the rise!

And thinking of you I have a few new gull pictures for you when I get back. Imagine that will "buoy" your spirits and get your OP's "flying" or I'm not a "Laughing Gull".

Signing off from near Bluffton, one target of the "War of Northern Aggression" as its callled down here.

Pat Isaac
04-19-2008, 05:29 PM
Glad you are having great time, Bill....:eek: more gulls....


04-19-2008, 09:42 PM
Bill: I had first thought much as you do about the issue, but changed my mind when I read Lady Rando's post (in the Cafe Guerbois forum), which is a copy of an article from the Illustrator's Partnership. Did you read it? I linked directly to it, but maybe the best thing is for me to copy it here, as it addresses several of the good issues that you raise.


Orphan Works: No Myth

We’ve seen “Six Misconceptions About Orphan Works” circulating on the Internet. It’s a well-reasoned piece, but has one problem. The author cites current copyright law to “debunk” concerns about an amendment that would change the law she cites.

How would the proposed amendment change the law? We’ll get to that and other questions in a minute. But first, let’s answer the broader charge that news of an Orphan Works bill is just “an internet myth.”

Q: There is no Orphan Works bill before Congress – one was introduced in 2006, but it was never voted on.
A: Correct. The last bill died in Congress because of intense opposition from illustrators, photographers, fine artists, and textile designers. The Illustrators' Partnership testified against it in both the House and Senate. http://www.illustratorspartnership.o...archterm=00203

Q: So if the bill is dead, why warn everybody about it now?
A: Because a new bill is due out momentarily. According to Andrew Noyes of the National Journal:

“Legislation aimed at reworking a portion of U.S. copyright law dealing with ‘orphan works’... will likely be a priority for the panel headed by House Judiciary Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Howard Berman, D-Calif., in the spring...

“American Library Association copyright specialist Carrie Russell said her members are ‘excited about having orphan works legislation’ move this session,’” adding: “the House effort is ‘so close to being a done deal that we're on the edge of our seats.’" -Intellectual Property -Progress Seen on Developing 'Orphan Works' Legislation, by Andrew Noyes © National Journal Group, Inc. 02-21-2008

Q: But if there isn’t a new bill yet, how can we know what’s going to be in it?
A: Our information indicates the new bill will be basically the same as the old one. According to the Copyright Clearance Center:
“Subcommittee chairman Howard Berman made it quite clear that he intends to introduce new orphan works legislation shortly... It is likely the new bill will look very similar to The Orphan Works Act of 2006.”http://oncopyright.copyright.com/200...-radar-screen/

Q: But if it’s due out shortly, why not wait until it’s been introduced before we oppose it?
A: To quote from the Copyright Clearance Center:
“Since this is an election year, and re-election campaigns will be in full swing by late summer, new orphan works legislation will probably be fast-tracked to reach the floor of the House by mid-May”. http://oncopyright.copyright.com/200...-radar-screen/
Since that would give us only a month to notify artists, we decided to start now.

Q: Do we have any direct corroboration for these press reports?
A: Since the last bill died, we’ve met with:

- Chairman Berman
- Attorneys from the Copyright Office
- Representatives of the House and Senate Subcommittees
- A lobbyist for Getty and Corbis. (Getty and Corbis oppose the bill, but are negotiating for favorable concessions.)

Q: Where did we get the idea that the Copyright Office wants to impose for-profit registries?
A: That proposal has been there from the beginning. Two examples (with emphasis added), the first from page 106 of the Copyright Office’s 2006 Orphan Works Report:

“[W]e believe that registries are critically important, if not indispensable, to addressing the orphan works problem...It is our view that such registries are better developed in the private sector..." http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/orphan-report.pdf

And on January 29 2007, twenty visual arts groups met in Washington D.C. with attorneys from the Copyright Office. The attorneys stated that the Copyright Office would not create these “indispensable” registries because it would be “too expensive.” So I asked the Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs:

Holland: If a user can’t find a registered work at the Copyright Office, hasn’t the Copyright Office facilitated the creation of an orphaned work?
Carson: Copyright owners will have to register their images with private registries.
Holland: But what if I exercise my exclusive right of copyright and choose not to register?
Carson: If you want to go ahead and create an orphan work, be my guest!
- From my notes of the meeting

This exchange suggests that if Copyright Office proposals become law:

- Unregistered work will be considered a potential orphan from the moment you create it.
- In the U.S., copyright will no longer be the exclusive right of the copyright holder.

Q: What does it mean to say your copyright is an “exclusive right”?
A: Under existing law, “[a] copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or license his work…Under current law, works are covered whether or not a copyright notice is attached and whether or not the work is registered (emphasis added).”

Q: Why does this exclusive right matter?
A: Two big reasons:

- Creative control and ownership: No one can use or change your work without your permission.
- Value: In the marketplace the ability to sell exclusive rights to a client triples the value of your work.

Q: So how would the Orphan Works proposals endanger that right?
A: It would allow anyone who can’t find you (or who removes your name from your work and says he can’t) to infringe your work. Since infringements can occur anytime, anywhere in the world, they could be countless but you might never find them.

Q: So?
A: So:
- Under this bill, you would never again be able to assure a client that your work hasn’t been – or won’t be – infringed. Therefore
- You would never again be able to guarantee a client an exclusive right to license your work. This means
- Your entire inventory of work would be devalued by at least 2/3 from the moment this bill is signed into law.

Q: But the “orphan works problem” isn't just something dreamed up by evil corporations to steal your vacation photographs. It's an actual problem faced by academics, librarians, and others.
A: In drafting the 1976 Copyright Act, Congress weighed the issue of older works whose owners can’t be located. They concluded that the problem it created for users was outweighed by the benefits of harmonizing U.S. copyright law with international copyright law.

“A point that has concerned some educational groups arose from the possibility that, since a large majority (now about 85 percent) of all copyrighted works are not renewed, a life-plus-50 year term would tie up a substantial body of material that is probably of no commercial interest but that would be more readily available for scholarly use if free of copyright restrictions...

“[i]t is important to realize that the [1976] bill would not restrain scholars from using any work as source material or from making ‘fair use’ of it; the restrictions would extend only to the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copies of the work, its public performance, or some other use that would actually infringe the copyright owner’s exclusive rights (emphasis added).” SOURCE: H.R. Rep. No. 94-1476, at 136 (1976) - Quoted on pages 15 –16 and 41 - 44 of the 2006 Orphan Works Report http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/orphan-report.pdf

Q: But the backers of the Orphan Works bill say it would merely amend the law to solve the problem of old work whose owners can’t be found.
A: It would solve the problem alright! But it would do so by making a potential orphan of any work by any artist, living or dead. This would be like trying to solve the crime problem by making everything legal.

Q: How would it orphan “any work by any artist, living or dead”?
A: As we testified before the Senate subcommittee in 2006: “The inability to distinguish between abandoned copyrights and those whose owners are simply hard to find is the Catch 22 of the Orphan Works project.

“Put simply, if a picture is unmarked, it’s impossible to source or date it. Therefore this amendment would orphan millions of valuable copyrights that cannot otherwise be distinguished from true orphaned works - and that would open the door to cultural theft on an unprecedented scale.” http://www.illustratorspartnership.o...archterm=00203

Q: But the Copyright Office says the infringer would first have to make a “reasonably diligent search” to find the copyright holder.
A: Yes, but last time, this opened a Pandora’s Box of problems. No one was able to draft a foolproof definition of a “reasonably diligent search” (remember that the infringer would have a serious financial incentive not to find you). So the Copyright Office proposed registries.

Q: Why registries?
A: Because a search of registries would allow the infringer to legally claim he had made a “reasonably diligent search.”

Q: And the problem with that is?
A: You can’t find a picture in a registry if it’s not there. Any picture – published or unpublished, professional or personal – that hasn’t been registered could therefore be orphaned by a successful orphan works defense - even if the artist was alive and otherwise managing his copyrights.

Q: But if you do become aware of an infringement, you can always claim a “reasonable fee” from the user.
A: Another Pandora’s Box because:

- Infringements can occur anytime anywhere in the world; therefore
- You would have to search every publication, every website, everywhere - on a regular basis - to see if anything you’ve ever done has been infringed.
- This would be an impossible task - but
- Even if you did find an infringement, you’d still have to
- Locate the infringer and get him to respond; and
- While the infringer would only have to make a “reasonably diligent search” to find you,
-You would have to make an absolutely successful search to find him.
- Then, if you were able to track him down and get him to respond, you’d have to
- Settle for whatever he was willing or able to pay you; or
- Take him to Federal Court; but remember
- If the court accepts the infringer’s claim that he made a reasonably diligent effort to find you,
- You’d get no more than what he was willing or able to pay you in the first place; but
-You’d be out-of-pocket for legal expenses; and
- There’d be no limit to the amount of damages and legal fees the infringer could get from you in a countersuit.

Q: But what if you do sue an infringer and win? Then can’t the court award you full costs, including a reasonable attorney’s fee?
A: In theory, yes. But here’s how a full-time litigator, advising us in 2006, said it would happen in real life:

“Under current law, infringement cases follow two scenarios:

“Scenario One: If a copyright owner has registered his copyright, he can get statutory damages and attorneys fees. As a result, it is relatively easy to find a contingency fee lawyer to take these cases. (That’s because the copyright owner doesn't have to pay the lawyer; the infringer does). In addition, the copyright owner usually finds that he gets more in settlement than he pays in legal fees, if he decides to hire an hourly-rate lawyer.

“Scenario Two: If a copyright owner has NOT registered his copyright, he can only get actual damages. In these cases, it is usually impossible to find a contingency fee lawyer [because in these cases, the copyright owner will have to pay - and may not be able to]. Moreover, it is often not wise for the copyright owner to litigate these cases anyway, because the settlement value is so small.

“Under the orphan works legislation, ALL infringement scenarios are, as a practical matter, Scenario Two.”

Q: But the Copyright Office says that infringers who act in good faith need “certainty” that they won’t be penalized for using an “orphaned” work:

“Most [commenters to the Orphan Works Study] agreed that statutory damages and attorneys fees should not be available [to copyright owners] because those remedies create the most uncertainty in the minds of users (emphasis added).” - Page 7/Orphan Works Report http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/orphan-report.pdf

A: Maybe so, but under this bill
-You would never have certainty because you’d never know if, when or where your work has been infringed.
- Yet the infringer would be guaranteed the kind of certainty the law would deny you.

Q: The Copyright Office says that user certainty is “essential to encouraging the use of the [orphaned] work.” -Page 7/Orphan Works Report
A: The issue of certainty for the user/infringer is the lynchpin of the whole Orphan Works issue, so let’s take it step-by-step:

1. Congress can’t pass a law to make you register your work or put copyright symbols on it because these formalities would violate the obligations and commitments of the United States under the international Berne Copyright Convention:

Berne/Article 5(2) “The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality (emphasis added).” http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/5.html

2. So because Congress can’t impose formalities on you, the Copyright Office crafted a recommendation that would expose your work to infringement if you didn’t impose formalities on yourself.

3. They say this “limitation on remedies” is necessary to guarantee “certainty” to the good faith infringer of your work.

4. But uncertainty is the only mechanism the law gives you to protect your work from thieves.

5. There is no Copyright Bureau of Investigation; no Copyright Police Force.

6. You are responsible for policing your own copyrights – and penalties for infringement are the only weapon the law gives you.

7. Fact: most creative work is never registered with the Copyright Office and most infringers know it. So

8. If an infringer wants to rip off your work, he can guess that a.) you may never find out about it; and b.) it probably wasn’t registered anyway.

9. He may guess correctly but – he can’t be sure – and this uncertainty is your key safeguard against unjust infringement, because

10. If an bad actor guesses wrong, he’ll be liable under current law for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, plus attorneys fees.

11. This is a powerful incentive for a thief not to risk stealing our work.

12. So it turns out that in the real world, uncertainty in the mind of a bad actor is the only weapon you have to protect your copyright. Remove that uncertainty and you remove the only realistic safeguard the law provides.

Let’s say that again: Without uncertainty, thieves can reasonably gamble that their thefts may never be detected, the work they steal won’t be registered, the owners of the stolen property will never find them and – if once in a while they do get caught – they can simply say the property had no name on it when they found it and dare you to sue them. From that point on, the risk will be all yours.

The Dog that Didn’t Bark In 2006, visual artists banded together and flooded Congressional offices with faxes protesting the harm the Orphan Works Act would do to professional artists.

Lost in the swamp of debate over “reasonable searches” and “reasonable fees,” no one stopped to think that the bill had been written so broadly that the inclusion of unpublished work would expose even personal and private work - such as sketches, diaries, family photos, home videos, etc. to infringement. This issue was the dog that didn’t bark. The January 29 2007 exchange with the attorney from the Copyright Office finally woke the dog:

Carson: Copyright owners will have to register their images with private registries.
Holland: But what if I exercise my exclusive right of copyright and choose not to register?
Carson: If you want to go ahead and create an orphan work, be my guest!

This radical expansion of the public domain makes this legislation much more than an issue of copyright infringement. Its unintended consequences would amount to a violation of private property and potentially, of privacy itself.

In a 2005 paper submitted to the Copyright Office, legal scholars Jane Ginsburg and Paul Goldstein warned that Orphan Works legislation must precisely define the scope of its mandate or fail to uphold our country’s commitment to international law and copyright-related treaties:

“[T]he diversity of [orphan works] responses highlights the fundamental importance of precisely defining the category of ‘orphan’ works. The broader the category, or the lower the bar to making the requisite showing of due diligence, the greater the risk of inconsistency with our international obligations to uphold authors’ exclusive rights under copyright. Compliance with Berne/TRIPs is required by more than punctilio; these rules embody an international consensus of national norms that in turn rest on long experience with balancing the rights of authors and their various beneficiaries, and the public. Thus, in urging compliance with these technical-appearing rules, we are also urging compliance with longstanding practices that have passed the test of time (emphasis added).” -Item 1/page 1 Orphan Works Reply Comments http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/comm...-Goldstein.pdf

It may sound absurd to argue that the unintended consequences of this legislation will raise privacy issues. But the absurdity arises from the Copyright Office’s inversion of basic copyright law. On page 14 of the Orphan Works Report, the authors write:

“If our recommendation resolves users’ concerns in a satisfactory way, it will likely be a comprehensive solution to the orphan works situation (emphasis added).” http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/orphan-report.pdf

Yet any law that permits users to commercialize the private property of others cannot be “comprehensive” if it “prejudices the legitimate interests of the copyright holders.” See Article 13/The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/...t_agm3_e.htm#1

This includes unpublished work and personal expressions as well as works intended for commercial use. Authors’ rights are exclusive. Public interest cannot compel anyone – artist or private citizen – to publish his or her work. So by what right of eminent domain can Congress assert a sweeping right to let others publish it for them?

The Copyright Office has stated that they’ll regard their recommendation as “satisfactory” if it makes millions of copyrights, no matter how valuable, available to users, no matter how worthy, under a system that would introduce permanent uncertainty into the markets of professional creators and into the lives of ordinary citizens. By placing the wants of users over the rights of rightsholders, the Copyright Office would invert the simple logic of copyright law, which in 2006, one artist expressed very clearly this way:

"If you find a creative work, you may not know who created it, but you know you didn’t.”

Despite 127 pages of the Orphan Works Report, you need only common sense to tell you this: The primary goal of copyright law is not to make creators’ work available to others. If it were, there’d be no need for copyright law at all: everything would be free for anyone to use. Copyright law exists primarily to protect the property rights of creators and secondarily, to extend the benefits of the creator’s work to the public. It does this by defining specific, limited exceptions to the creator’s exclusive license. In doing so, the law promotes the useful arts and provides certainty to users and creators alike. Invert the law and you invert the only way it can benefit society.

- Brad Holland © 2008 with additional research by Cynthia Turner, for the Illustrators’ Partnership

The author has given his permission to post or forward this article in its entirety to any interested party (Please note that some of the formatting didn't seem to copy over in the original post by Lady Rando. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6730027&postcount=11)

Sorry that it's so long, but the issue is important and this article seems to comprehensively explain it.

It appears to me that this is an area where the needs of librarians and the needs of artists are in conflict. But this proposal appears to address the needs of librarians but at the expense of artists. I think they need to go back to the drawing board and find a compromise solution.

04-20-2008, 08:35 PM
Thanks Annie. This does clarify some of the issues and make clearer the potential problems.

I think you are right, this needs more work. I'm finding it harder to understand what the problem being addressed is? I thought the whole thrust of recent copyright reform was to protect creative works and reduce the excess red tape of filing copyrights.

This whole thing seems more perplexing the more I hear about it. As an academic for over 30 years I NEVER had any problem using material under a "fair access" as it has worked for a long time.

Just seems like there's something fishy about this whole thing. I looked at the older bill and certainly don't see where all this for profit registry stuff is codified in the bills previously proposed.

One of the problems that seems to me more apparent is the seeming antipathy of the copyright office to protecting creative interests. The bill itselft may not be as much of a threat as to its regulatory promulgation by the agency of jusrisdiction. What you posted seems to suggest that the Copyright Office has been "bespoiled" as have so many govt agencies in the past few years with an attitude of arrogance and loss of sense of their raisone d'ette.

04-21-2008, 12:36 PM
What this will do is limit our sharing of images of our work and draw a curtain around art on the internet. I for one will begin making my work useless to copy by limiting the size of the images on the internet and using other means to make it useless to reproduce. That of course will also limit our ability to see it and appreciate each other's works.

Damn bill! Woops! I meant the bill not Bill! LOL ;)

Pat Isaac
04-21-2008, 03:43 PM
I tend to think that most artists limit their work size for that very reason. I know I do. Some artists I know make it impossible for someone to drag a picture off their site. Not sure how they do that, must be a special program within the site.


04-21-2008, 06:38 PM
Dragging the picture is not the issue. It is a simple Java script that you can put on your webpages, but there are run arounds that. The only way is to have a large copyright sign in the image not as a layer and no resolution above 72dpi and no larger size than 400pix. Even with that they can still make a post card out of it!

Best is to keep your better work off the net simply!

Pat Isaac
04-21-2008, 06:46 PM
Yeah, that's true, but mine is there and I'll keep it there for now. Postcards are different than a large giclee repro. Don't know about the java script. What is that?


04-21-2008, 07:32 PM
Best is to keep your better work off the net simply!

Zan: Actually, the best thing is to do everything possible to keep this proposal from ever becoming law.

I wonder if WetCanvas could organize a petition, and encourage the artists here to sign it. I think there's a site someplace that's set up for people to organize petitions which can be signed online (the signatories are hidden), but I'm afraid I don't have a link. I'm not certain whether WC's software has anything in it that would allow it to be done internally, but if it did, that would be the best approach.

Pat, do you think there is sufficient opposition to the proposal here that WetCanvas might consider a petition? With so many artists posting here, the likelihood is that there would be many signatories, which would have a greater impact than if many of us contact our representatives individually.

I generally try to stay away from political talk here at WC, but this is a different matter, as it has the potential to negatively impact all of the artists posting here.

04-21-2008, 10:02 PM
Hi Pat,

Putting this script on your webpage on top before the html starts will kill copying functions:

<script type="text/javascript">
* Disable select-text script- © Dynamic Drive (www.dynamicdrive.com (http://www.dynamicdrive.com))
* This notice MUST stay intact for legal use
* Visit http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code
<script type="text/javascript">
//form tags to omit in NS6+:
var omitformtags=["input", "textarea", "select"]


function disableselect(e){
if (omitformtags.indexOf(e.target.tagName.toLowerCase())==-1)
return false

function reEnable(){
return true

if (typeof document.onselectstart!="undefined")
document.onselectstart=new Function ("return false")


but here is the problem: If I hover over your picture I know what the file name is. Then I can type the file name after the url with any subfiles and I will get the image of the painting without controls!

Annie you are right the best thing is to kill this bill, but the reality is that bill or no bill, the net is full of theives who have no problem taking your hard work and making a buck out of it!

04-21-2008, 10:32 PM
Well, Zan, since you're apparently an expert in javascript coding, perhaps you need to get to work on that nifty little program, to be embedded by the artist in all web-posted images, that will immediately crash the computer of any potential little thieves who try to steal artwork. :evil: Or better yet, a program that will automatically alert the authorities to the theft, with the culprit's ISP and net address neatly returned. :)

You could make millions! :D

Pat Isaac
04-22-2008, 08:00 AM
Thanks for all that code, Zan. I am not too sure how to use it as I built my web page from a template provided by my Mac server. I will save it, however. I agree with Annie, get to work on a nifty little program.
I'm not sure what you propose is legal around here, Annie, but I will check.


04-22-2008, 02:49 PM
I'm not sure what you propose is legal around here, Annie, but I will check.
Pat: Do you mean my proposal for a WC petition, or my proposal to Zan about a computer-crashing program? I'm hoping it was the former, because while I doubt a petition would be illegal, I do believe that the latter suggestion to Zan - the computer-crashing code idea - may indeed be illegal. At least it's illegal here in Washington state, although with this purpose perhaps there would be some sort of gray area. (I'm cursed with a sometimes too-dry/ironic sense of humor that frequently gets me in trouble - I should have added a "LOL" to the idea. Or perhaps we need a "tongue-in-cheek" smiley. :lol:)

The earlier idea though, for WC to see if it could become a legal repository if the law passed, might be a better approach. I'm obviously not an attorney, but I imagine WC could do so with no potential legal repercussions to itself, by including some disclaimers about the limits of it's own responsibility. It's probably something that could be integrated into the uploading of images, where people could check a box or something, or maybe it could be done automatically for all images. After all, anyone who had a legitimate reason for wanting to use a WC artist's image would always have the opportunity to contact the person here at WC, through either an email, or the PM system. At any rate, it's too soon to worry about that now - and, as I mentioned, it's far better to stop this from becoming law in the first place.

Pat Isaac
04-22-2008, 02:59 PM
Annie, I meant about your first proposal, but you are right don't pass the bill and I think I'll wait and see what happens before I rush into anything.


04-23-2008, 12:28 AM
Damn bill! Woops! I meant the bill not Bill! LOL ;)

:lol: :lol: :lol:
I had that comming, Zan. Wondered when you would respond?
Just ignore the idiot that keeps posting that stupid babble under my call sign/

I really think somehow Annie figured out how to post under my name just to make me look bad!!:lol: :lol: :lol: (Just kidding ANNIE, you are a doll! And a smart one at that!)

04-23-2008, 12:39 AM
[quote=AnnieA(I'm cursed with a sometimes too-dry/ironic sense of humor that frequently gets me in trouble - I should have added a "LOL" to the idea. Or perhaps we need a "tongue-in-cheek" smiley. :lol:)

Noooooooooo! You know I have never notice that ANNIE. You are so subtle about it that no one could ever tell had you not fessed up!!!:evil: :lol: :lol: :lol:

There are software packages that can encrypt a digital watermark to identify your digital images.

The problem is that there are very few completely foolproof methods of preventing someone that is determined from saving a copy of an image on the web. (:rolleyes: ). Now, the problem I see is that often people wish to save an image not for nefarious purposes but to look at and study. Are you really wanting to stop people from saving copies of images that they have no intention of using for purposes of infringing on your commercial rights??

My experience has been that, like early attempts at software antitheft mechanisms, they don't stop the determined thief, but hobble the ability of legitimate users with not intention of illegal use to operate.

04-25-2008, 10:41 AM
Hi Everyone,

Just a quick update on methods to avoid having your work become orphaned:
There is a way to include a ton of information on your photo (meta data).
Please read this for very helpful information especially section 2.3:

Also read these two very helpful and informative step by step articles on how and why to use Metadata.



Photographers have been using this method for years, but I have not heard of any artists doing so at all. I admit that I have used metadata information on my photos, but never took the leap to enter the same information on my paintings photos or my painting scans yet (I will now). Maybe because we are not as tech savvy as them folks!

You need to have a program such as Photoshop or any other program that allows you to place information on the file metadata. If you don't have one available here is a link to a free one:

This will not stop s theif of course, but it will support your claim to the work and will show that the work is not orphaned and it carries its information with it.

Pat Isaac
04-25-2008, 03:48 PM
Thanks for that info, Zan. I didn't even know I had that. It is under the Bridge in my photoshop. Haven't used the bridge much so was unaware of that feature.


04-25-2008, 04:07 PM
That's exactly it Pat. What really gets me is that I have been using it to take care of my photos for over a year, but never thought to use it for the art!
(left brain/right brain!!!)

04-25-2008, 08:17 PM
Hey...thanks for the idea, Zan! I think I have something similar in the software that Nikon provided with my camera, but like Pat had never thought of using it for copyright. I'll have to check...although it very well may be that a thief would pass over my relatively novice-level work anyway. :lol:

Maybe you could mention something about your idea in the other threads about the orphan works proposal; other professional artists would probably appreciate it.

04-25-2008, 08:40 PM
HI Annie,

Great idea to spread the word, but I don't know where else this thread has gone. Can I ask you folks who are more adapt at WC to do that? Just cut and paste I guess.