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October 7th, 2008

Google wants to steal art

It’s clear that this legislation is an effort on the part of Google and other large internet properties to obviate the consequences of their behaviors, intentional or otherwise. Instead of a fair solution, they opt to push for one that allows themselves and any others complete license to use anything they find, anywhere, at will:


Orphan Works: The Big Internet Factor


On October 2, several professional organizations sent a letter to every member of Congress, calling attention to the role of big internet companies in orphan works legislation. Here’s an excerpt:

“We believe these bills mask an effort by Big Internet companies to profit by undermining existing global intellectual property rights protections…

“The lobbying efforts to promote this legislation pit small entrepreneurs and artists of all kinds against some of the largest and most well-financed Internet powerhouses in America…

“We find it deeply disturbing that the U.S. Copyright Office has so clearly and unambiguously advocated legislation that will privilege large commercial interests such as Google at the expense of creators and the countless small businesses that serve, and are dependent on the creative community.

“We find this even more troubling in light of Google’s substantial contribution to the Library of Congress at a time when the Copyright Office was preparing its Orphan Works recommendations — and at a time when Google had acknowledged to the SEC that its financial well-being is dependent on a business model that has already engendered multiple lawsuits for copyright infringement totaling billions of dollars.

“Google and other large database, advertising and search engine companies clearly have a major financial stake in the weakening of copyright law through new legislation. The Orphan Works Acts, if enacted in either of its current forms, would solve the problem that has vexed so many start-up internet companies: how to make money by giving away free content. By opening the door to potentially billions of “permitted” infringements of protected copyrights, this legislation would allow Big Internet to create an entirely new business model, by licensing content they don’t have to pay for – through the digitizing, archiving and monetizing of the intellectual property of ordinary citizens.”

To read the full letter go to:

Then please read on in this post to take action!

The letter is signed by representatives of:

The Illustrators’ Partnership of America
The Advertising Photographers of America
The Artists Foundation
The National Writers Union
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
The National Cartoonists Society

* * * * * *

Over 79 organizations oppose this bill, representing over half a million creators.

U.S. Creators and the image-making public can email Congress through the Capwiz site: 2 minutes is all it takes to tell the U.S. Congress to uphold copyright protection for the world’s artists.

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS please fax these 4 U.S. State Agencies and appeal to your home representatives for intervention.

CALL CONGRESS: 1-800-828-0498. Tell the U.S. Capitol Switchboard Operator “I would like to leave a message for Congressperson __________ that I oppose the Orphan Works Act.” The switchboard operator will patch you through to the lawmaker’s office and often take a message which also gets passed on to the lawmaker. Once you’re put through tell your Representative the message again.

If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list, email us at: Place “Add Name” in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.

Please post or forward this message to any interested party.

Posted by Todd in Orphaned Works

1 Comment »

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 at 11:40 pm and is filed under Orphaned Works. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Google wants to steal art”

  1. Dawid Michalczyk says:

    Hello Todd,

    Google’s lack of respect for copyright has widespread implications. As one of the most known companies in the world their behavior dramatically devalues peoples perception of copyright laws. It’s not just pictures but digital content in general (text, video, music, etc). The general thinking is “If Google can get away with it, so should I”.

    Such behavior breeds a new generation of individuals and companies that freely profit from stolen content. How many online galleries are out there which display popular artists artwork without the copyright holder’s agreement? Such sites are typically wrapped in ads or some other mechanism which directly or indirectly brings them profits.

    I had my images stolen online many times, but the worst is when somebody is actually illegally selling your work. And there is little one can do about it.

    I actually wrote a post on
    How to minimize image theft online. Which is useful for those who want to protect their work from being illegally exploited.

    Anyway, great you have a blog! I subscribed to your feed and look forward to reading your posts.