- lack of interest in or concern
Yesterday, I was on Capitol Hill. I wasn't there to discuss Orphan Works, but it sure came up. I was at a breakfast with a Senator, and in there were 22 members of the American Library Association on hand. Here's what their website shows they were coming to DC for:
National Library Legislative Day 2008On their webpage, they list links for their talking points on Copyright, which you can read and download here. Topping their list of issues is....you guessed it, Orphan Works. Here's their Congressional Visit packet.
On May 13 & 14, 2008, hundreds of librarians and library supporters of all kinds are coming to Washington, DC, for an event like no other: National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). And you can come, too!
NLLD is a two-day event in which people who care about libraries participate in advocacy and issue training sessions, interact with Capitol Hill insiders, and visit Congressional member offices to ask Congress to pass legislation that supports libraries.
National Library Legislative Day is sponsored by the American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the District of Columbia Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association.
As a member of the leadership of the ALA talked to the Senator, her 21 other constituents listened - intently, and nodded their heads at all the right times. So did the 100 or so other constituents from across the state, listen in - democracy in action, they probably thought. This was the first and thus only issue that was addressed (as it was discussed for some time), and the Senator's legislative counsel came to talk further once the Senator left. Talking points were delivered by the ALA, and the message from the libraries was clear - strike the "dark archive" clause of the House version (among other things). They were organized, they had their message ready.
(Complete post, after the Jump)
Where were the photographers? Nowhere to be found. Not that they were expected, they've never come before. There's been no organized effort to get creatives to swarm the hill, and do what's called a "Hill-climb" (so named, because people are typically walking up the slope to the Capitol from below the building). That's not to say the idea hasn't been floated. I know that others have tried to organize these, yes, including PPA and ASMP. But, apathy abounds amongst photographers when it comes to visiting DC for this purpose.
It seems that photographers can't see the strategic benefits of making this outreach. All photographers see is the $1k in expense to come to DC, and the lost day of work back home, and don't recognize that every other professional business has this type of effort underway to ensure that the legislation that has an impact on their livelihoods they have a voice in shaping.
This is necessary to be done annually, if not more frequently, so that when issues come up down the line, you have an open dialog. Executive staff at all the organizations can only do so much. It's the constituents - the actual voters - that need to come to DC and make their positions known to their elected officials. Yes, cards, letters, and e-mails can help, but whether it's:
- Orphan Works (Senate version S.2913, House version H.R. 5889)
- The PRO IP Act of 2007 (H.R. 4279)
- Tax deductibility of healthcare for small business (House version H.R. 2132, and Senate version S. 99)
- The Artists Deduction Bill - The tax deductibility of artists works at full value rather than materials only (Senate version S. 548, House version H.R. 1524
Get engaged. Make a difference. And yes, co-ordinate with your organizations. There will be many fights ahead. You can either join in the fight for your own best interests, or suffer the consequences of ignoring the issues while the other side of the debate gets what they're pushing for.
- Orphan Works - A Unique Set of "Myths" and "Facts", (6/2/08)
- Orphan Works and Licensing Exclusivity, (5/23/08)
- What Are the Odds? The Orphan Works Likelihood of Passage, (5/16/08)
- Apathy Gets You NoWhere, (5/15/08)
- Orphan Works - Senate Markup (5/9/08)
- Orphan Works - HIstory in the Making, (5/7/08)
- Speedlinks - Orphan Works Edition, (5/6/08)
- Orphan Works 2008 - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, (5/1/08)
- Orphan Works Act = Thieves Charter? (4/29/08)
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