This was sent to me by the NPPA.  It sums up the bill and what we as photographers can do about it.


Dear NPPA members,

Late last month, a pair of bills exempting infringers of “orphan” creative works appeared in Congress, neither of which the NPPA supports. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the more onerous of those two bills, S. 2913, and it appears to be moving forward. NPPA leaders encourage all members to study this issue and take all reasonable steps to protect your copyrights. We call on all NPPA members to take a couple of minutes to either call or write your senators telling them your opinion about this proposed legislation. Passage of this bill would represent a serious erosion of our rights to control the use of our pictures, which is essential for both making a living and honoring agreements with subjects and clients. 

A pre-written and updated email specifically targeting the Senate Bill can be found at ( 

It is also extremely effective to contact your senators’ offices by phone and ask them to vote against this bill. You can quickly find your senators’ telephone numbers by going here ( entering your zip code on the left. When you call, tell the aide who answers your name, town, profession and the name of the bill you oppose. It may help to have a script like this:

My name is ____. I am a constituent who lives in (your town or city) and a professional photojournalist. I am asking the senator to please oppose passage of S. 2913, the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008. Those who wish to exploit my images through this bill fail to consider it would undermine my ability to continue making pictures important to helping voters understand our world. Please encourage the senator to examine more equitable and practical solutions for allowing limited, educational use of orphan works, such as a carefully defined expansion of fair use protections. (Optional: I previously emailed the senator concerning this, but I am now calling to emphasize the urgency of this risk.)

For more information about this bill, a similar measure (H.R. 5889) before the house, and orphan works in general, please see the NPPA reports and the links provided on those pages:

NPPA report on introduction of 2008 orphan works bills:

NPPA Position on 2008 Orphan Works Bills


There was also a great article written about it in the NY Times.

The article is here.