Funk & Weber Designs

Orphan Works…Again

Have you called or e-mailed your Congressperson? Have you done both? Can you do it again?

This affects all of us.


Have you ever uploaded a picture to a Web site? How about to Flickr? When you upload an image to Flickr and many other photo-sharing sites, the “metadata”–i.e., identifying information–is stripped from the image to make the file as small as possible. Stripping the identifying info makes that picture an orphan. Are you willing to pay to register all your uploaded photos with a database?

Recently, a division of Heineken in Ireland was busted for using photos from Flickr in an ad campaign. A photo editor thought they were free for the taking.

Would you even know if someone or some company used one of your photos? What if it was a person or company whose business went against your personal beliefs? What if it was your photo on a cigarette ad?

Take a look at the picture below the Question of the Week on this Web site.

The Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education seems like a reputable organization and site, and even one we might choose to support. They did not ask permission to use that photo, and they have not paid Mike anything to use that photo. They simply took it from the Web. They do give a photo credit, but it’s incorrect, and it’s not even a link.

It is illegal.

And it happens more than any of us know.

Any image you have uploaded to the Web is vulnerable. Orphan Works legislation seriously damages the rights you currently have to protect your images.

Someone e-mailed to ask who it is that is pushing for this legislation. Two strong supporters are Google and Microsoft.

Please call and e-mail your Representatives today.

Categories: Funk & Weber Designs

3 replies »

  1. I e-mailed Tom Udall (my rep) last weekend. Today, I actually got a fairly lengthy response from him. He seemed to understand the concerns and disinclined to support the bill. His response indicated that the bill was sent to committee and that no new action has been made on it.

  2. I noticed that Jo at Dinky Dyes has a copyright statement on the homepage of her webpage. I wonder if that’s a good idea for all designers. It won’t help you know when someone steals, but it does remove the “ignorance” defense.

  3. Heaps of thanks upon you, Becca, for taking action!

    The latest word is that Congress is in recess and no action was taken. Our front line remains wary, though, because we’ve received faulty information in the past.

    I’ll keep you posted–whether you like it or not!

    And, yes, I could certainly improve the copyright notice on my Web site.