by Deb Shaw, from the Illustrators Partnership
For more than a decade, there have been periodic attempts to “bring balance” to copyright policy and law. These efforts have been promoted by large corporations and tech companies, and are a euphemism for the goal of completely upending the premise of copyright law.
As the law now stands, each of us, as artists, own the copyright to our work, even if we do not register it with the copyright office. We created it; it is ours.
Rather than protecting us, the creator and artist, the copyright “reformers” want to make public access to creators’ work the law’s main function. They would require creators to register each and every work in which we wish to retain any commercial or personal interest.
Dr. Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, suddenly fired Maria Pallante, U.S. Register of Copyrights, at the end of last October, and is now soliciting advice on the “knowledge, skills and abilities” people think the new Register should have. It has been widely reported by credible sources that Dr. Hayden favors looser copyright laws.
Artists, musicians, writers and creators have fought to maintain strong copyright laws each time this has surfaced in the past, and have been successful so far. Now it’s time to make our voices heard again.
Dr. Hayden and the Library of Congress has posted a short survey (only 3 questions). The deadline for responses to the survey is tomorrow, January 31, 2017. It is important, as artists, to respond to this survey with a strong call to retain the full protections of copyright as provided for in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. If you do not have time to write, the Illustrators’ Partnership has provided suggestions for you to copy and paste.
Here are the links:
Library of Congress Survey: https://www.research.net/r/RegisterOfCopyrightsNR
Suggested answers from the Illustrators’ Partnership Orphan Works Blog to use as a template for your own answers or copy and paste: http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/2017/01/suggested-survey-responses-to-librarian.html
Information and links from the Illustrators’ Partnership, along with a template for a cover letter or answer to Question 4: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102063090742&ca=165b62cf-8257-43bb-8faf-4c9754abe631