Brenda Pinnick shared on her blog that Illustrator’s Partnership has posted an extensive update on the state of the Orphan Works legislation in Congress that is being widely opposed by artists’ groups. (For more on the history of this legislation and why it should be of interest to scrapbookers, see the links at the bottom of this entry.)
Basically, the bill’s Senate sponsors used the chaos over the economic rescue legislation last Friday as political cover to use a sneaky, undemocratic process called “hotlining” to get the legislation passed in the Senate with no debate, with a minimum 15 minutes notice to Senators’ staff, and without a roll call vote. If no Senator objects within the window after the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders decide to use the procedure for a bill and alert Senate offices via special phone lines, the bill is considered passed by “unanimous consent”. As you can imagine, during the scrambling over negotiations for the failed rescue bill on Friday, Senate staffers didn’t have time to even read the bill in the response time, let alone decide if they wanted to object to it.
As IP said in their entry “What better way to pass a bill that was drafted in secret than to pass it while nobody’s looking?”
Now is the time to contact your Congressperson again about Orphan Works if you are against this legislation! This issue is not over! Let your Representative know that you do NOT like the Senate version of this bill and that you don’t want the House version (which is still sitting in committee and is preferred by artists’ organization) killed just because the Senate version has already passed that chamber.