Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm not an artist, but...

So I really want to thank a good friend of mine for bringing todays article to my attention. Thanks Rachel, you're always a good source of information for me.

So, as the title says, I don't feel that I'm an artist, but I have a lot of artist friends. They even get together on Friday nights to have "Art Night", a time to hang out, but also to encourage each other to continue to work on their art. So, reading this article did hit close to home. This is for them, this is for you. This is for everyone who doesn't think they are an artist, but are. This is for anyone who posts pictures of family vacations, posts on Deviant Art, or even doodles on a sketch book.

There is a law currently being attempted to be pushed through Congress. This bill would make it so that any piece of art that was not copyrighted would be considered "orphaned" and open to public domain. "But Hatter", you say, "That's how it already is. Good thing all my work is copyrighted as soon as I make it." Ah, my good friend, that brings us to the meat of the bill. This bill would require you to copyright with a registered agency ANY work of art that you have. If it isn't, if you didn't PAY for that copyright, you could easily see that picture of your family standing in front of the Grand Canyon show up in Wal-mart picture frames, used without your permission or payment to you in anyway, and no legal recourse. That art piece you threw up on Deviant Art to get an opinion on? Stolen as a cover for Time Magazine, and nothing you can do about it.

So, you might then say to me, "Okay, so what's the big deal, Hatter... that's the way of America, everything gets capitalized on sooner or later." Let me break down some of the more interesting points of the article. Let's say that you, as the average person, take 300 photos a year and upload it to Flickr. Let's say that you have to pay $5 per work to copyright it to a single agency. $1500 to keep those memories SAFE and YOURS. But what if there are three agencies set up? Or ten? Or a hundred. What if someone gets a hold of a piece of your work and files for copyright BEFORE you do... and your own work becomes illegal for you to use?

I know that some of you don't follow any of my links, but I implore, follow this one. Read the whole thing. Protect your rights and your art. If you aren't furious, you should be.


Wren Draco said...

I keep hearing people freaking out about this, and then other people counter-freaking-out that the bill doesn't actually exist anymore, that it died quietly in 2006. o_O In fact, a quick google search shows me news articles freaking out about it in 2008, but all the actual, official government paperwork on it is dated 2006. >_>

Capt. Jean-Luc Pikachu said...


Anonymous said...

I'm kind of tempted to try what they present in that counterpoint.
Then again, this kind of thing is why I mostly post fanart on the internet. If I really care about a piece, it doesn't go up on dA.

Elly said...

The counterpoint is very well written. It's been funny watching DA's reactions in the last day to this bill. Some of my favorite artists, the ones whose works get stolen not only by other artists but also by magazines for ads and bands for album covers (and much, much more), are saying the same things as JLP's counterpoint chick. Which is not to say that they necessarily support the bill, but that it seems that a heck of a lot of artists are freaking out and taking it out of context.

One thing I'd like to say here, though, is that I'm finding it funny how, in a country where the music and movies industries go to great lengths to protect their copyright, and the laws of our land support their efforts, how ANY thinking, informed person could somehow jump to the conclusion that the copyright for artists is going out the windot. I think that if any of us were musicians or film makers, we'd be freaked out about how easy it is to steal our works, just as artist are. However, I believe that US law will always err on the side of making sure that the creator of a work will always have rights to that work--even when they probably shouldn't.

Anyway, that's my thought.