Currently, copyright is granted the moment a work is created. This new Orphan Works legislation proposes a change in U.S. copyright that would (indirectly) require artists, illustrators, photographers, and any creative individual to actively maintain and defend their copyright by registering each and every work with privatized registrars. Failure to do so would leave everything you’ve ever created as an artist up for grabs by anyone who wanted to copy, reproduce, create derivative works of, or flat out steal your work since the act defines an “orphan work” as any work where the author is unidentifiable or unlocatable, and applies to both published and unpublished works, U.S. and foreign, regardless of age.
More information in the post including ways to contact your reps, an interview with Brad Holland about the issue as well as some other links. Please act on this if you're an artist.