Friday, October 3, 2008

Two laws that make a difference to virtual world creators and users

10/3 2:54pm UPDATE: Many thanks to annyka Bekkers for pointing out that U.S. lawmakers and special interest groups may still have their way with the Orphan Works Act. According to the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works blog, the House may scrap their own version and adopt the Senate’s.

Have your say and email your Representatives now.


Internet radio, which is often streamed by Residents of Second Life® on their lands, almost went the way of the Dodo bird, but on September 30th the Webcaster Settlement Act which allows Internet radio outlets like Pandora to negotiate lower, binding royalty payments with music providers, was approved by Congress. President Bush still has to sign it into law.

Meanwhile and on September 26, the U.S. Senate passed the "orphan works" copyright law, which addressed the creation of a database of copyrighted works to "make it easier for organizations and corporations to determine who owns the copyright of a particular work."

"Some of our most treasured personal and national artifacts are being left unused and unseen because information about their copyright ownership is unknown," said U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the author of the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act.

Thankfully, the House of Representatives did not approve it. Had it passed, the bill would have reduced liability for those who use copyrighted works and later claim that they could not find the rightful owner.


Annyka Bekkers said...

Orphan Works is NOT dead, despite what the Wired article said. The House dropped their own bill, but now want to substitute the Senate version and rush it through a vote while congress is all askew over the bailout negotiations.

If you're interested in this issue, Brad Holland has been running almost daily updates on it over at

Bettina Tizzy said...

annyka - Dreadful news but excellent link. I will update my blogpost.