Congress is considering legalizing copyright infringement (this will affect anyone who creates visual content, especially those who post art and photos online). The Copyright Office has asked for letters regarding visual art in this legislation.
Please consider writing a letter to The Copyright Office. There's an easy online form here: http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/comment-form
Let them know if you think it's important that you're in control of how and by whom your art or photos are used, and that you don't want others to profit without your knowledge or consent.
Here are some basic facts (from The Illustrator's Partnership):
* "The Next Great Copyright Act" would replace all existing copyright law.
* It would void our Constitutional right to the exclusive control of our work.
* It would "privilege" the public's right to use our work.
* It would "pressure" you to register your work with commercial registries.
* It would "orphan" unregistered work.
* It would make orphaned work available for commercial infringement by "good faith" infringers.
* It would allow others to alter your work and copyright these "derivative works" in their own names.
* It would affect all visual art: drawings, paintings, sketches, photos, etc.; past, present and future; published and unpublished; domestic and foreign.
The demand for copyright "reform" has come from large Internet firms and the legal scholars allied with them. Their business models involve supplying the public with access to other people's copyrighted work. Their problem has been how to do this legally and without paying artists.
The "reforms" they've proposed would allow them to stock their databases with our pictures. This would happen either by forcing us to hand over our images to them as registered works, or by harvesting unregistered works as orphans and copyrighting them in their own names as "derivative works."
The Copyright Office acknowledges that this will cause special problems for visual artists but concludes that we should still be subject to orphan works law.
Want to know more? Check out this post from The Illustrator's Partnership:
Thank you for your help!