Whether you're for it, or against it, there's nothing like learning about the process that goes into lawmaking. Usually, you'd likely turn a blind eye to how things happen, but this is going to affect you, so I encourage you to take a look. The House bill that was introduced is going to be debated today in what's called a "Markup session", at 2pm Eastern time. The House Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to amend and re-write the Orphan Works bill, and, at the end of the day, the Chairman, Howard Berman will either take an informal tally, or have a formal vote, on the bill. If he doesn't think he has the votes to move the bill forward, without a big fight, he'll likely table the bill, and it will do what's called "die in committee." In an election year, people tend to save their political might for bills that will make them look good in their home districts, and easy fights are far better to move through than those where there are opposing parties. The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the American Library Association favors the Senate Bill over the House Bill, and "...is urging its membership to contact their senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress and press them to support the Senate version of a bill, S 2913, that would make it easier for people to exploit orphan works...A comparable bill in the House of Representatives, HR 5889, is flawed, the library group states, because it includes a “dark archive” provision that would require people to notify the U.S. Copyright Office of their intention to use an orphan work." Check out the ALA Action Alert by clicking here.
Here's a short (but informative) FAQ on how a bill becomes law - click here. To check out the Schoolhouse Rock story on how a bill becomes law, for a brief 3-minutes of nostalgia, click here.
Here's a more in-depth piece, worth reading, that explains, in part:
MARK UP: After public hearings have been held the committee meets to discuss, revise and vote on the bill. A committee can defeat a bill, hold up action on a bill for weeks, amend it beyond recognition, or speed its way through the legislative process. The vast majority of the more than 10,000 bill that are introduced in Congress each year die in committee for lack of support.When we contacted the committee earlier today, as there was not a "view live webcast" button for this session of the committee, we were assured that there would be a webcast, since the markup was taking place in the full hearing room. If, for some reason, it's not there by around noon or 1pm, I encourage you to call 202-225-3951, and ask why you can't view the webcast of the markup. If no one calls, they won't bother if they weren't going to broadcast it. If many people call, when they weren't going to, they may well change their minds. Check this link for the details.
It's been said that you never want to see how sausage is made. So too, is it often times painful to see how legislation is made. So, take a gander at the proverbial "sausage factory" that takes place on Capitol Hill. It'll be an eye opening experience, whether you're for or against it.
How this bill ends up will be historical if it is reported out of committee, and historical in that it will serve as a basis for next session's version. Either way, it's history in the making.
- 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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