Sunday, July 19, 2015

Artists Alert: From the Illustrators Partnership -- The Return of Orphan Works

Originally distributed July 16, 2015 by the Illustrators Partnership of America (IPA). The following has been provided by IPA.

Part 2: Artists' Letters   


Two weeks ago, we warned that Congress is drafting a new US Copyright Act.

© 2015 Don Arday.
The new recommendations would resurrect the failed Orphan Works Act of 2008. But there are new proposals that go far beyond Orphan Works.

The Copyright Office says that these artists' issues are also "ripe" for legislation: copyright small claims, resale royalties, and other forms of secondary licensing which most artists have never heard of.

Many of you have already written. We hope many more will do the same.

The Deadline is TOMORROW THURSDAY: July 23, 2015

American artists can submit their letters online here.
Non-U.S. artists can email their letters to the attention of:

Catherine Rowland
Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights
U.S. Copyright Office
Read the Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry.

Please Write the Copyright Office

Because of our past opposition to orphan works legislation, the Copyright Office has issued a special Notice of Inquiry on Visual Works. In it, they acknowledge that visual artists face special problems in the marketplace and they've asked artists to respond to five questions:

1) What are the most significant challenges related to monetizing and/or licensing photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations?

2) What are the most significant enforcement challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?

3) What are the most significant registration challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?

4) What are the most significant challenges or frustrations for those who wish to make legal use of photographs, graphic art works, and/or illustrations?

5) What other issues or challenges should the Office be aware of regarding photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations under the Copyright Act?

And we might suggest a 6th question of our own: 

6) What are the most significant challenges artists would face if these new copyright proposals become law?

Examples of Letters

Since most artists have never written to lawmakers before, many of you have asked us for sample letters.It is important that the Copyright Office receive unique letters.

Eight artists have provided their letters to inspire you to write. The letters are poignant examples written respectfully by artists telling their own unique story about their experience and concerns:

Letter 1: "I'm writing to stress that for me, and for artists like me, copyright law is not an abstract legal issue. Our copyrights are our assets. Licensing them is how we make our livings." Read more.

Letter 2: "As a freelance illustrator, I need to maintain revenue streams in order to make a living for my family. The resale of my past images is part of my day to day way of doing business." Read more.
Letter 3:  "My art is reasonably well known since it has served the advertising, editorial, public relations and historical documentation needs of the aerospace industry, publications, the military services and air and space museums for 68 years." Read more.
Letter 4: "I am writing to you as an award winning professional illustrator of over 40 years whose work has appeared in many major publications, books and advertisements, both nationally and internationally." Read more.
Letter 5: "I have been a professional medical illustrator since 1975, and self-employed since 1981. During the course of my career, I have created thousands of illustrations..." Read more.
Letter 6: "Copyright is the basis of my income and ability to support my business. It is the only way I have to protect the accuracy and integrity of my work, and to negotiate an appropriate fee for re-licensing." Read more.
Letter 7: "My specialty area is fetal development and women's health illustration...The protection of these images is of utmost importance to my livelihood, and I have struggled to fight the rampant piracy of them, especially by political groups." Read more.
Letter 8: "I am writing to ask that you create policy to protect visual authors and their exclusive rights, and support a sustainable environment for professional authorship. Read more. 

Remember no one is asking you to write a legal brief. Copyright law is a business law, and the lawyers writing these laws know little or nothing about our business.   

Let's explain to them how the laws they're writing will affect us.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner 
  for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership