I’d like to ask our readers to help our
cartoonists with an urgent problem. We are asking you to send an email on behalf
of the cartoonists. The Senate just passed the "Orphan
Works Bill," quickly, behind closed doors and without a
vote, through a controversial practice known as "hotlining."
The bill rewrites the copyright law in ways that are devastating
to cartoonists, artists, writers, photographers and songwriters.
The two artists organizations I’m active
in, the National Cartoonists Society
and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and dozens
of other trade organizations, are
urging their members to write to their congressmen at this hour,
because there is a risk that the House will pass the Senate version
of the bill, again without debate and without a vote, by adding
it to a larger budget or bailout bill at the end of the current
session, in the next few hours.
The Orphan Works bill is being pushed by
Google, which plans to catalogue millions of images and doesn’t
want to deal with the rights of copyright holders. The bill
will make it easy for anyone to reprint copyrighted work, without
the permission of the copyright holder, and artists will find
that it is difficult or impossible to control where their work
is reprinted. The bill also imposes new costs and procedures
on artists, all to benefit Google.
I’d like to ask everyone who reads my blog,
or subscribes to my newsletter, to do the cartoonists a favor
by emailing their congressman and asking him or her to oppose
the Orphan Works Bill now, by visiting this web site, which helps you to
send an automatic email to your congressman. It is quick and
easy to send this email, and it would be much appreciated by
the desperate cartoonists.
To learn more about the Orphan Works Bill,
I’ve never asked my readers for help before.
I’d really appreciate your help now.