An Orphan Work is a copyright registered movie. However, when one tries to find the owner of the copyright it is next to or completely impossible to find them. There are many different reasons an Orphan Work is created: The actual person who holds the rights has died and not transferred the copyright or The company who registered the copyright is defunct or some other reason. Anyway, it is a big problem and Congress has tried to fix it twice. And failed, twice. Some experts say up to 90% of all copyrighted work is an orphan work. That is a big problem and goes against what the copyright law is supposed to stand for.
I researched each and every movie that I sold on my three websites. Every indication I saw told me they were orphan works. I would have discussed this with the Prosecutor, had I ever been given the chance, but on the second day of the “Investigation” I was told to Plead Guilty and they didn’t want to talk about anything else. So I got a lawyer and waited, hoping that they would figure it out for themselves. That was four years ago. Now it is true, that had I could have pleaded guilty back then, it would have been a lot of less of a charge. Maybe no jail time. But because it’s copyright and there has NEVER been a case like this. Yes, I said Never. I couldn’t do it. Just goes against everything that I’m about. Plus I thought the DOJ had it wrong. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of web-sites selling these exact same titles on DVD. Titles that have NEVER had an authorized DVD release.
So after years of trying to get me to plead guilty and stacking on new charges, the Dept of Justice and Homeland Security tried a new approach. They started going after the people close to me. I’m not going to say her name here, but she has been mentioned in the BDN article. I tried to help her, but when I found out she had already pleaded guilty, it was too late. Ever heard the phrase, “In too deep”? I sure was.
It is the only thing I regret about this whole mess. If I could go back in time and change it, I would. She is a good person and doesn’t deserve this. This is supposed to be MY FIGHT. Only.
Next time, I will talk about Fair Use, which was my other defense during the trial. Thanks for Reading.