>Orphan Works Act

>Hi, everyone, from sunny, hot Columbus, Ohio where Cis and I are attending The National Needlearts Association market. Yes, we get to fondle all the new yarn, gaze in amazement at the beautiful canvases, shake hands with the rock stars of the industry, and walk miles upon miles throughout the market. We’re having a great (albeit exhausting) time, but you will have an even better time when the new products start arriving!

Today, though, I want to talk about a very important problem for our industry (as well as for artists, authors, photographers, etc.). It’s the Orphan Acts Bill that is currently in discussion in the United States Legislature. The Orphan Acts Bill, in a very condensed version, will require that anyone who produces a copyrighted item must register the copyright with the US government for a fee (currently, all you have to do on a knitting pattern, for instance, is write on the pattern that it is copyrighted to you). In addition, copyrighted material will have to be included in a database. which will also probably require a fee for inclusion. Then if someone wants to use your material, they must search the database(s) to see if there is a copyright and if they can’t find the material on the database(s), they can then call it an “orphan work” and use your item in any way they see fit — even to the point of stealing the whole work! This can be disastrous in our industry for pattern designers, canvas designers, etc., because of the cost of registering and then including the patterns on the databases. Some designers simply won’t do it at the risk of losing their designs to unethical people. Others might give up on designing because the cost and time is too prohibitive.

What can you do to help? Please go to the Orphan Works Opposition Headquarters and use their links to contact your Senators and Congress people now!

Thank you!

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