Sunday, July 12, 2015

Orphan Works - Sample letter to Copyright office

August 24, 2015: Initial comments have been posted sometimes the site is down for weekend maintenance

IMPORTANT: Please feel free to paraphrase my letter! :-)  But if we all send the same letter, our efforts will loose its effect. You don't need to be an artist for "The Next Great Copyright Act" to affect you.

click image to view larger

Hi everyone! Posting early this week because I thought if you are like me, your first few thoughts about writing a letter to the U.S. Copyright office might be filled with questions! Lots of chatter online about this topic. ALSO I wanted to show you my letter isn't grammatically correct or perfect. The idea is to be heard and to be heard in numbers. Save your letter, you may want to send it to your representatives later down the road. My thought is seeing someone's letter may make it easier for you to write. - Let me know if this was helpful :-)

Let me back up a bit.


This issue has come up a couple times in the past. There are people who know more about it than I do!
Joan Beiriger has a fantastic blog post that talks about this issue - click here.

I used this blog post to help me write my letter It talks about what you might want to say if you are an artist and if you are not an artist :-)

Scroll down, this link has several letter starter phrases

There are many posts about this, here are a couple more: And/or you might like this one

Video with Brad Holland talking about the copyright issues

Thoughts: I think it is important to mention that copyrights are our source of income. The other point I found important is that publishing doesn't devalue our work. I don't think you need to live in the United States to be concerned, we have a global economy.

Here are hightlights of what you might want to say from Brad Holland's Post (link above).
So when writing, please remember:
– It's important that you make your letter personal and truthful.
– Keep it professional and respectful.
– Explain that you're an artist and have been one for x number of years.
– Briefly list your educational background, publications, awards etc.
– Indicate the field(s) you work in.
– Explain clearly and forcefully that for you, copyright law is not an abstract legal issue, but the basis on which your business rests.
– Our copyrights are the products we license.
– This means that infringing our work is no different than stealing our money.
– It's important to our businesses that we remain able to determine voluntarily how and by whom our work is used.
– Stress that your work does NOT lose its value upon publication.
– Instead, everything you create becomes part of your business inventory.
– In the digital era, inventory is more valuable to artists than ever before."

Deadline is July 23rd, 2015

Submit it here - it was easy

I sent a PDF, The link above list the file types they will accept at the bottom of the gray box.
Note: a PDF will be searchable unless you convert the type to outlines. Not sure about your PDF?,  just save your letter as a Word doc, RTF or ASCII file format.

Thanks for your time! Let me know if seeing my not-so-perfect letter made it easier for you.


  1. Thanks for you and Joan Beringer sharing this info. I've been following copyright issues for years, including various reform talks. It's alarming how many artists don't know, or even have interest in learning about, copyrights and proposed new laws. It's important to know what laws affect our industry, and to take advantage of opportunities to shape laws so we don't lose important rights.

    1. Hey Miss Cindy! Welcome :-) Thank you for all you do and stopping by the blog <3

  2. Replies
    1. Wonderful! It will help those making the "decisions" be better informed.

  3. Sent a letter. Thank you.

    1. Welcome! Glad this post was of some help :-)

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  5. Hello Erma! Thanks for stopping by the blog :-D

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