6ORPHAN WORKS BILL DIES IN COMMITTEE
September 28, 2006
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), sponsor of the Orphan Works bill (the Copyright Modernization Act of 2006, HR 6052) announced at a markup session earlier this week that he was withdrawing the bill from consideration. This markup session is likely to have been the last chance to move the bill forward in the current Congress. Smith said that he did not see any reasonable chance that the bill would be signed into law in the current Congress, but he also said that he plans to introduce another bill when the new Congress convenes next year.
Key leaders in a very broad based collation of visual artists organizations that have been fighting this legislation for most of the year were: Victor Pearlman of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), David Trust of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Steve Metalitz, a lobbyist working on behalf of the Picture Agency Council of America (PACA). A full list of all the organizations supporting this effort can be found at: http://www.asmp.org/orphanworks.
This announcement has given visual artists cause for rejoicing and a little breathing room, but it is not the end of the war. The bill in some form will certainly be back next year. ASMP president Clem Spalding said, "Our efforts have paid off! This is great news! Now, ASMP will continue to work with our allies in an effort to improve future Orphan Works legislation and diminish the potential liability and burden for visual artists." It is still possible that the bill could reappear in a late-fall, "lame duck" session after the election, but unlikely given the many more pressing issues that will need to be dealt with.
The coalition members plan to start drafting a new version of the bill, favorable to photographers and artists, for possible introduction in the next Congress.