The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008

I have been strangely silent on the Orphan Works Act–the piece of legislation that passed the Senate by unanimous consent (!–not even a record to know how your Senator voted). I have not been silent with my Congressman and Senator. I have voiced my opposition to the Act to both of them.

As a former U.S. Senate staffperson, I know there are many subtleties in a piece of legislation and many changes made when it makes it to a joint committee (House and Senate members combined) to work out differences. I just haven’t felt knowledgeable enough to carry the standard for this issue. I’m glad others have done so. I’ve heard from lots and lots of you and I’m mostly writing to leave a space for your comments.

As I understand it, the House has its own version, but is also considering the Senate version. If you are so inclined, now is the time to (1) voice your opposition to both to your Congressman, (2) voice your opposition to one version, or (3) voice your support. You can find information and take action here.

I must also study the second bill that passed the Senate AND then immediately passed the House right after the Orphan Works Act: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act of 2008, which I’m just guessing (without having done any research) was written and passed to appease those opposed to OWA. If you have a good resource on this and how it plays with the whole story, please leave a link in the comments below. I think it’s important to know what kind of effect this might have if and when OWA becomes law.

It has been incredibly interesting to watch how this issue has
galvanized artists. I hope the spirit isn’t lost and that you continue to work together on issues of major import. In particular, I’d like to
see artists become strong advocates for improved health care–something that affects most working artists in America today.

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1 comment to The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008

  • Dawn

    Looking at the information available on the enforcement of intellectual property act, I’d say it’s got little to do with the small time artist and everything to do with the big name record companies and the RIAA. I’ve not analysed the actual act in detail but based on it’s stated reason for existing and it’s support group, it looks like it is intended to do is to increase the already over the top payouts to the big companies in cases like people pirating music.