Monday, July 20, 2015

Proposed Copyright Law Explained


Illustrator and artists'-rights activist Brad Holland explains the details of the proposed new copyright law. According to Holland, if this is passed, it would undermine the rights of artists in the age of the internet (link to YouTube video).

Here's a written article about the same topic by Brad Holland
Submit your letter here.
Sample letters.
Thanks, Will Terry, Bryn Barnard, and everyone else who mentioned this

17 comments:

D said...

I'm kind of surprised to see you take this position. Look at your own title bar: It contains a clip of an old advertisement saying "Be an Artist". Who originally drew that advertisement? It would be hard to find out. But you didn't harm anyone by using it in a collage for your own work. And if the creator did find out and ask you to change it for whatever reason, you'd have no problem with that. That's an example of an orphan work-- old stuff that has lost attribution information that people might find interesting to use as a component of their own new creative work. I would like it if Google Book Search contained more of these old illustrations. It can be good source material. In my opinion it's not really in competition with or taking anything away from producing artists. I could be wrong.

James Gurney said...

D, I'm not taking a position; I'm just sharing information. As far as the collage item you mentioned, I believe it was created early enough to be covered under public domain. But that's the existing law; I'm trying to wrap my head around the new proposals, and I'm just sharing this info with my readers.

Marian B said...

How many years before a work becomes public domain? I seem to recall that it's 70 years, but that may well be wrong.

Doug

James Gurney said...

Marian, anything pre-1923 is in the public domain, which means you can do what you want with it. There are also exclusions for fair use (such as educational, non-commercial use), original derivative works, and satire.

Jennifer Branch said...

Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't realized it had come up again.
It's annoying when people steal work now, but at least with the current law we have the right to complain. It's going to change everything if artists don't have the rights to their own work unless it's filed. Also, what if someone else copyrights the artist's work first? That rather takes away my current method of low dpi images only on my website. Since who files first is how inventions will be copyrighted that's a logical step.
It's not an environment fostering creativity now, for certain.

Jenna Berry said...
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rotm81 said...

This is disgusting and must be stopped. It's bad enough that the Mickey Mouse copyright extensions were allowed. Google certainly doesn't follow it's own mantra of "Don't Be Evil."

(I'm certainly aware that the vehicles for this discussion (Google Blogs, YouTube) are Google products, but that's irrelevant.)

Tim Ezell said...
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Marian B said...

anything pre-1923 is in the public domain, which means you can do what you want with it. There are also exclusions for fair use (such as educational, non-commercial use), original derivative works, and satire.
______________________________________________________________

Thanks, James. So that's what 92 years? I had forgotten about exclusions that you mentioned.

Thanks

Doug

Tim Ezell said...

What about VARA? I'm more of a fine artist rather than an illustrator but today artists MUST have work on the internet to be seen. I've done some work for magazines and licensed work for use on the sets of television shows. What about expanding VARA to cover illustration and to cover the internet as well?


Here is a link to the text to VARA.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/106A

Chris James said...

"Also, what if someone else copyrights the artist's work first? That rather takes away my current method of low dpi images only on my website."

I may have heard wrong, but so long as it's altered in any minor way, a person can use the work as their own. So if someone else copyrights your work, take that work and change the hues a little bit and you can "get it back" so to speak.

Why someone would want to copyright a low quality version of an image is beyond me, unless they are trying to troll the image maker. In digital terms, the resolution of an image is as important as its color scheme, composition, drawing, etc. If this goes through, everyone should have nothing but low res, watermarked files in their online portfolio. A real art director or person with similar judgment should still be able to tell an artist's ability from a small, low res image, according to the principle of "The big look."

keith said...

http://graphicpolicy.com/2015/07/20/dont-believe-the-hyperbole-theres-no-orphan-works-law-before-congress/

Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp said...

Yes, James, please look at this link, which states that this is actually a false claim, that what is happening is basically a proposal for possible solutions by the US Copyright office, not pending legislation in Congress.

http://graphicpolicy.com/2015/07/20/dont-believe-the-hyperbole-theres-no-orphan-works-law-before-congress/

Jenna Berry said...
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Unknown said...

I think there would be less panic about stuff like this if our legislators (and their detractors) did not all appear to be paid by the syllable.

Half the news stories that get relentlessly forwarded and endlessly raged about boil down to somebody somewhere writing a 200 page report that perhaps five people actually read.

This is why whole nations end up following crazy demagogues with a penchant for simply, catchy sloagans. There isn't time enough in the day to parse what normally spews from the keyboards of bureaucrats.

I think politicians should be forced to hand write their own reports with a crayon on a single index card. This would encourage both brevity and creativity.

Gavin said...

I haven't listened to the whole video, and got a bit distracted, but I'm sure he said these copyright proposals have already passed in the UK back in 2008, which I do not believe to be true. As far as I know the only proposal to UK copyright law in 2008 was to allow the copying of music from a CD to a computer.

Neha Gupta said...
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