Life, Universe & ... · January 7, 2007

Orphan Works Act 2006 may allow legal stealing of someone else’s work

This article recently posted by my friend Mahesh in his blog Splat, expresses grave concerns over this shocking bill called Orphan Works Act (2006) that might actually allow US citizens to legally steal copyrighted works by others around the world.

The bill which was introduced on May 22nd, 2006 in the House of Representatives, US …

seeks to amend the Title 17 of United States Code that would allow for remedies in case the copyright owner cannot be found. The particular code gives the people the rights over their intellectual works.

If the implications are correct, this means it’ll grant indemnity to all US citizens for stealing works from artists, musicians and the likes by shielding themselves with this clause. All they’ve to do is claim that the creator couldn’t be found and hence it’s an orphaned work. Thus the Act will allow people to use these orphaned work for commercial purposes and they may not be sued later by the rightful copyright holders !!
The conclusion reached by Mahesh after some serious research states that …

the act would defy the intellectual property of all artists who are not US citizens, as they have no means of registering their works at the US Copyright Office. Entities in US would be able to make use of works made by non-US citizens for commercial purposes and not pay these copyright holders – and yet they would not be seen as criminals by the US law.?

Now this is some serious issue to muse on. What are your opinions on this ?

Via Orphan Works Act 2006 – Steal non-US works legally