Ok, before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, I took a look at the bill... Sergio`s assesment of what you will own and not own is not correct.
What the proposed act says is that if, after a diligent search, a person (who under the current law would be considered an infringer) cannot find the rightful owner of a copyright that they may file a notice of use with the Copyright Office and, giving as much attribution as they can find, they may use the copyrighted work for any purpose, including commercial ones.
Congress also proposes making a database for graphic, pictoral and sculptural work to enable those copyright holders to be found by potential infringers. They don`t specify whether there would be a charge for entering your work in the database though...
However, if you were to find that your work was being infringed, you can bring an action against the infringer (they`re looking at a dispute arbitration system for smaller businesses and copyright holders to make it less of a burden on the rightful copyright holder) and they have to pay you for the use of your copyrighted work.
True, the law would certainly be a pain for copyright holders. But to me, all that this means for most copyrighted works is that you have to make sure that you put copyright notice on all of your work and make sure you can be easily found from the information that you include.
If you want to take a look at the Orphan Works Act of 2008 (H.R. 5889), you can find it here
. By the way, this bill has been kicking around for several years in different forms. For whatever it`s worth has never passed. If it really bugs you, take a look at who sponsored the bill and make sure they`re not re-elected in the fall....
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