Monday, September 29, 2008
I thought perhaps our politicians might just be busy with the collapse of our banking and mortgage system – but I was wrong. When ever you hear them talking about how busy they’re working, it’s a sham because they always find the time to take advantage of situations like this to give themselves cover -- and we lose either more of our hard earned money or more of our rights.
While everyone is busy watching them reach into our pockets to pay for their mismanagement of our banks, they’re busy trying to pick our pockets with their other hand! (For those of you that didn’t believe this would happen, go back to sleep.)
Here’s a letter from the Illustrator’s Partnership of America. Read it, and make the appropriate calls and write the appropriate letters. Remember; be respectful.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ILLUSTRATORS ' PARTNERSHIP OF AMERICA Orphan Works: The Devil's Own Day Never Too Busy to Pass Special Interest Legislation 9.28.08
As lawmakers struggled Friday to clean up the mess on Wall Street, sponsors of the Orphan Works Act passed more special interest legislation. Their bill would force copyright holders to subsidize giant copyright databases run by giant internet firms. Like the companies now needing billion dollar bailouts, these copyright registries - which would theoretically contain the entire copyright wealth of the US - would presumably be "too big to fail." Yet it's our wealth, not theirs, the scheme would risk. Small business owners didn't ask for this legislation. We don't want it and we don't need it. Our opposition numbers have been growing daily. So Friday, the bill's sponsors reached for the hotline. What is Hotlining? Critics of hotlining say "that lawmakers are essentially signing off on legislation neither they nor their staff have ever read." "In order for a bill to be hotlined, the Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a roll-call vote. The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a specified amount of time to object - in some cases as little as 15 minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed." - Roll Call, Sept 17, 2007 In other words, a Senate bill can pass by "unanimous consent" even if some Senators don't know about it. The Devil's Own Day Senators Leahy and Hatch hotlined the Orphan Works Act twice last summer. Each time came at the end of a day, at the end of a week, near the end of a legislative session. Each time lawmakers were distracted by other issues and other plans. Each time artists rallied quickly and each time a Senator put a hold on the bill.
Friday the Senators found a new opportunity.
With lawmakers struggling to package a 700 billion dollar bailout to avert a worldwide economic meltdown, with the rest of the country focused on Presidential debates, with Washington in chaos and Congressional phone lines jammed, they hotlined an amended bill. On short notice, even the legislative aides we could reach by phone said they didn't have time to read it. And so, while we were rushing to get out a second email blast to artists, the bill passed by "unanimous consent" - in other words, by default.
What better way to pass a bill that was drafted in secret than to pass it while nobody's looking?
Since Friday, artists have been conducting bitter post mortems on their blogs. That's understandable, but it's not time yet.
The Senate passed their bill Friday, but the House hasn't. There's still time to write, phone and fax your congressional representatives. Tell them not to let the House Judiciary Committee fold their bill and adopt the Senate's. - Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership
TAKE ACTION: EMAIL CONGRESS TONIGHT Tell the House Judiciary Committee not to adopt the Senate version. We've supplied a special letter for this purpose: http://capwiz.com/illustratorspartnership/issues/alert/?alertid=11980321 Please post or forward this message immediately to any interested party. ________________________________________________________________________________________ For ongoing developments visit the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works Blog: http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/
Over 70 creator organizations are united in opposing this bill in its current form. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses. Read the list: http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00273 The Capwiz site is open to professional creators and any member of the image-making public. Sample letters have been provided. International artists will find a special link, with a sample letter and instructions as to whom to write. If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Place "Add Name" in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area.