Think of the Orphans!

The Senate has just passed its version of the proposed Orphan Works Bill, which has the potential to completely upset the way in which copyrights are handled.  Jeff Trexler on the Newsarama blog has a good description of the specifics.  But as for the basics it all but removes the current protections on creative works that grant copyright unless the rights holder opts out.

The new system would create a database of copyright information that rights holders would have to pay to register with.  THe rights holder would still have their rights technically without signing on, but the penalty they would gain from any infringers wouldn’t necessarily be enough to cover their legal fees.  Needless to say those working in the arts are not happy with this (Colleen Doran has a particularly good write-up).

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