Artist's Alert! - Copyright Law for Visual Artists Under Attack

Posted August 22 2015


Congress is working on a new copyright law.  It could drastically reduce your rights to protect anything you create.

The new proposal would mean that NONE of your art work would be protected without your paying for and filing detailed filings for each and every piece of art.  It is referred to as "Orphan Works".  

Steps to take:

1)  Watch this webcast. (You will learn what you need to know about this issue.)

ABOVE: Podcast by Children's Book Illustrator Will Terry, "Everything You Know About Copyright Is About To Change":


2)   BEFORE September 15 - Write a letter to the Copyright Office. using this form.

 (Do it NOW, before you forget)

3)  Read more about this Act done by American Society of Illustrators Partnership. 

  • Description of the issue
  • Key issues
  • Sample Letters

This will be an opportunity for you to either endorse those comments you agree with or object to those you don't. Or if you missed the first deadline, this will be a second chance to weigh in.

We hope everyone will review as many of these letters as possible and consider responding.

Please post or forward this artist alert to any interested party. 



The Copyright Office has posted the responses to its Visual Arts Notice of Inquiry:

They say they "received a large volume of initial comments," and unlike previous letters, which they always posted individually, these have been posted in Adobe PDF Portfolio view.

The Copyright Office recommends you download the files rather than viewing in a browser. 

Go to the link above and you'll see 7 pdfs. The first, captioned "Direct Initial Comments" contains 358 letters that the Copyright Office regards as directly responsive to the 5 questions they posed about current copyright law. The other letters are available in one of the 6 pdfs titled "General Initial Comments," and contain 2,244 letters.

Download the pdfs and open them. Be patient: this could take several minutes. An error message may pop up: ignore it and proceed.

When the file opens, it may appear to contain only one letter. Go to the menu at the upper left of the pdf portfolio file and click on "Files." This will open a column with hundreds of names along the left hand side of the window.

The letters are listed alphabetically by the author's first name or organization name. If the letter you're looking for is not in the "Direct" comments pdf, look for it alphabetically in one of the remaining 6.


Read the Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry and Extension of Comment Period.

Read the 2015 Orphan Works and Mass Digitization Report.