Sunday, December 21, 2008
Those of you, who are well acquainted with many of the articles on my blog, know that I am definitely one not to let “Big Brother” take possession of our lives, work, craft, art, etc. I spent a good part of 2008 writing about the “Orphan Act”, which was finally passed on September 27, 2008. This law, which as of August 2008, was shelved after 2x being rejected in Congress; only to find that in Sept., The Senate and the House of Representatives quietly, amidst all the protests, signed a Bill which allowed the “Orphan Act” to become a law. For those of you who are not familiar with this Act, it basically, states that any work of art, publication, photograph, that you may put on the internet, will become public domain, unless each artist buy the copyright for their own work. It calls for the rights of anyone to steal the ideas, thoughts, emotional feelings that an artist brings to his work. If such an impropriety can be allowed to desecrate the ideals of today's artists, what can we expect for our tomorrows, and where does that leave the many craftsmen whose own work is an extension of themselves. Many here at Etsy, signed petitions attempting to block this from passing, since it would affect many of the artists we have here. Although it was shelved in August, the reasoning for it’s finally being passed, which the Government doesn’t make known, was to take advantage of the current crisis in Congress, and save big businesses, by trying to raise $700 Billion. Congress used this opportunity to bail out “business too big to fail” by very quietly passing “The Orphan Works Act” Legislation. Their reasoning is that it would force “us” (artists, photographers, crafters, illustrators, musician, songwriters, etc.) who use the internet as a marketing tool, to buy into Congress’s copyright. One of my many articles regarding the “Orphan Act”: http://sarastexturecrafts.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-copyright-issues-for-all-us.html
Well here we go again, just last month President Bush signed into law, the “Consumer Product Safety Improvement Product Safety Act”, also referred to as “CPSIA”. This law will take effect on February 10, 2009. Once again, we are met with the many restrictions the Government is placing on all articles, such as toys, clothing, pacifiers, jewelry, etc., which would be sold to children under the age of 12. The law will also regulate the manufacture of baby bouncers, walkers, and jumpers by March 13, 2009, and for all other children’s products by June 14, 2009.Unanimously passed in both the Senate and the House, it will allow Federal and State Governments to monitor and enforce all such products to meet the restrictions it will be placing on all consumer goods, whether made in this country or imported from overseas. Yes, it may sound like a practical and safety way for the Government to protect our young children from the poisonous content of lead which is found in many products, (the largest of which are imported from China); but once you break down all it’s provisions, it will be the small business will be mainly effected. Etsy, for one, which only sells handmade items, has many shops which make clothing, toys, teething rings, jewelry, knitted caps and gloves, just to name a few of the shops geared for small children. Since each individual item and the contents needed to produce that one item, i.e. dyes for handmade clothing or wools; paints for toys, etc, will need to be tested at a considerable cost to each of these small shops. I have been reading the many different threads on Etsy from concerned shop owners whose whole business will be affected and may possibly have to close due to the high costs being passed on these “handcrafted” items.
According to the “CPSIA’s” guidelines, the cost of testing each item could run anywhere from $300 and up. While failing to do so, the Government could enact penalties up to $100,000 per violation, with an overall cap on penalties will increase to $15 million. Lead content must be reduced to 0.06 by February 2009, and lowered even to 0.009 by August 2009. Also affected will be any product which contains Phthalates, a chemical compound used as a plastic softener used in certain products. It is reported to be a possible cause of reproductive or developmental problems because it mimics a natural hormone. Congress needs to allow an exemption for the testing of each and every individual product as long as they hold certification that the materials they use have already met their legal standards. Without this, the burden of testing products will destroy tens of thousands of small businesses, many of which are right here on Etsy. With the economy as it is now, causing so many to lose their jobs, “CPSIA” will totally bankrupt us a society, and put many of those whose shops are a showcase of “handmade” articles, an already dying breed of American culture. Don’t let “Big Brother” turn our country into a “communist culture” where everything and everyone is mandated by the rules of an overzealous Government.
What can you do? Click on the link below and sign the petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html
Write your senators, congress people, everyone...share this...get the word out.