The Graphics Artist Guild was one of the earliest participants to engage the Copyright Office and both houses of Congress for the purpose of positively influencing Orphan Works legislation on behalf of artists of all kinds.

The Guild hired an intellectual property attorney and lobbyist, Megan Gray, in the fall of 2006 to reinforce the Guild’s presence on Capitol Hill.  Ms. Gray held dozens of meetings with lawmakers and other stakeholders, and she wrote the white papers listed below throughout 2007.  These briefs were distributed to lawmakers and served to promote artist interests with regard to Orphan Works legislation.

Please take a moment to review the discussions the Guild pursued with legislators and other government officials.


Summary – “Orphan Works” Legislation    Orphan Works legislative overview


This short overview is one of the most ardently written papers Ms. Gray issued to dissuade support for Orphan Works legislation. 


Copyright Legislation and American Textile Competitiveness


The discussion presented in this paper emphasizes the need for strong copyright protection in the textile industry’s plan to remain competitive despite the massive export surge from China and the importance of textile exports to the American economy.  It’s significant that the Useful Articles clause was later stricken from the Senate version of Orphan Works.


The Graphic Art Industry and U.S. Economic Growth   Graphic Arts Industry Summary


In this paper, Ms. Gray presents the graphic arts industry’s economic importance in a clear and enlightening way.  The role of graphic arts to the growth of other businesses actually exceeds the industry’s direct contribution of $8 billion to U.S. Gross Domestic Product, because good design helps to sell other products.


The Kidnapping of Orphans and the Implications for Visual Arts Kidnapping of Orphans and Implications for Visual Arts


Ms. Gray delineates the cascading effect of insufficient copyright protection across multiple industries and applications in this straightforward and compelling essay.  She also draws the distinction between a real “orphan” that lacks any commercial value and other work.  This is one of the many ways the Guild attempted to persuade lawmakers to exclude all commercial applications from Orphan Works legislation.


Deposits of Visual Art at the Copyright Office  Visual Arts Deposits at CO


This paper makes the case for delaying the effective date of the legislation until an image-searchable database is made available to the public through the Copyright Office.  Contrasting the Copyright Office’s mandate from its inception to their technological limitations of today emphasizes the need to modernize the protection for creative works of all kinds.


Options for Orphan Works Legislation   Orphan Works Solutions

A bulleted list of the options lawmakers should consider as they “markup” Orphan Works legislation.  The Senate version did not include as many of the most preferable options, but the House version could incorporate more of the alternatives.

Summary - Notice of Use Provision  PDF

This white paper in Q & A format explains the details of the Notice of Use provision in H.R. 5889 Orphan Works legislation.  A practical and authoritative explanation that artists find useful.