Currently before Congress stands the new Orphan Works Bill. If passed, this bill will adversely affect visual artists, as it would drastically affect copyright laws.
Right now, anything you create is protected by copyright, whether you register it or not (although if you don’t register it, you cannot later claim copyright infringement.) Under this new legislation, nothing you create would be protected unless you commercially register it. You would have to pay to own rights to anything you create, commercially or just for your own pleasure, so that other people cannot steal your work.
The idea behind the Orphan Works Bill is to “free up old work” from copyright owners who have passed away (currently copyright laws last through the owners lifetime, plus 70 years.) But what if you’re still alive and making new work? You basically get screwed. In a sense, it will “orphan” anything you have ever created. Unless you want to digitize all your work, or pay big bucks to register your creativity, you’ll want to check out more on this legislation. A good clearinghouse of info can be found HERE.
~ Article by Juxtapose Art & Culture Magazine – click HERE to view.