Orphans return

The Intellectual Property Watch blog (www.ip-watch.org) reports the US Register of Copyright, Marybeth Peters, telling it that a new law to allow the use of "orphaned works" would be introduced in Congress by 22 June.

It hadn't happened by 25 June: but the NUJ is geared up to oppose any re-run of last year's proposal. That would have left use of orphaned works illegal, but made it almost impossible for any author who showed up saying "I am the parent" to claim damages against a user who had followed guidelines - as yet unspecified - on searching for them. As impossible, in fact, as it is for the author of a fully-parented work to get damages if they haven't spent the money to register their work with Marybeth.

The NUJ is also opposing a proposal by UK civil servants to deal with orphaned works in the same way that abandoned bank accounts are handled - they end up belonging to the state. Revenant authors wouldn't get anything. ("Authors" in copyright law includes photographers and illustrators.) In this we have the support of the whole of the British Copyright Council, which brings together all authors' and publishers' interests.

No legislation including the word "orphan" had been introduced to the US Congress by 27 July. Check the Thomas database.
[Site map] Last modified: 27 Jul 2009 - © 2009 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editors of the time
Send comments to the editors: editor@londonfreelance.org