Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thank you, Claudine Hellmuth!

I just had to write a special thank-you to collage artist Claudine Hellmuth for posting a very helpful link on her blog. She (and now I) and a lot of other artists are very concerned about two bills currently going through the House and Senate; they are known as the Orphan Works bills. Normally I avoid politics and hate discussing them or writing about them, but this issue affects all artists, photographers, illustrators, and even authors. We must band together to stop these bills, or many of us may be out of business.
These are the bill numbers: H.R. 5889 The Orphan Works Act of 2008 and S 2913 The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008. If they pass, we will literally lose all rights to our work that is published on the Internet. For instance, if you take a photo of your child and post it to your Web site or blog, this image can be taken and used for commercial purposes without your consent or any compensation to you. If you share online (through Flickr, for instance) a painting you made or a photo of some jewelry you've designed, you lose intellectual rights to your photo and it can be used for commercial gain by some big fat corporation.
In fact, in order to protect your work you will have to register it with a private agency and pay for this service yourself. How fair is that?
This is a serious issue and I hope that everyone who reads this will take action. Find more helpful information about this issue here:
Then please sign this petition! The goal is 20,000 signatures, and so far they only have 481, including mine.
I'm thankful to Claudine Hellmuth for alerting me to this issue, and for making it easy (it takes less than a minute) to sign an e-mail petition through From there I found links to my state Senators and wrote personal e-mails to both Boxer and Feinstein, asking them to oppose these bills. Again, it took very little time or effort on my part, and I was glad to do it.
I often find myself wishing I could do more to make positive contributions to society, but with my busy life as a working artist I find it difficult to find the time. Now that I've found, I will be getting more actively involved in making my voice heard. I promise that my blog will not be excessively devoted to politics in the future (I hate politics), but every now and then an issue comes up that directly affects my readers. If you are an artist, this issue profoundly affects you. I hope that you will take action, as I have done--it will make your day.
Thanks for hearing me out!


MoonRae said...

THANK YOU Sharilyn for posting the direct links. It's time us artists step up to the plate and start defending what few rights we have left, as artists and Americans

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