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Graphic Artists Guild

2248 Broadway #1341
New York, NY 10024

Tel: (212) 791-3400

Advocacy Timeline

For 50 years, the Guild has advocated on behalf of our members – graphic designers, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, comic artists, web designers, and production artists – on Capitol Hill, as well as internationally through active membership in global umbrella organizations.


April, 2018 – The Graphic Artists Guild joined representatives from photography ASMP, APA, NAPPA, NANPA, and PPA in Congressional visits to build support for H.R. 3954, The CASE Act. The bill was introduced by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Tom Marino introduced in October 2017 and sought to create a copyright small claims tribunal.

image of CASE Act countdown graphic

Prior to the Congressional visit, the Guild conducted a count-down social media campaign. Emails and posts an educated on small copyright claims and solicited grassroots suport.

The 15th Edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, was published. The edition featured a greatly reworked chapter on Surface Pattern Design, and an expanded and updated chapter with professional, business, and legal resources. Illustrator and Guild member Ben Perini was commissioned to create the colorful cover art. Book designer and Guild member Dawn Mitchell handled the art direction.

May, 2018 – The Guild participated on a panel discussion, Doing Business Online, put on by the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York City Bar Association’s Art Law committee. The panel addressed the legal and business issues faced by artists working online.

Guild member William Morse created cartoons to use in our outreach efforts to stakesholders and members of Congress.

cartoon in support of The CASE Act

CASE Act cartoon © William P. Morse

Summer, 2018 – The Guild participated in at trade show and conferences: Creative Pro Week, ICON10, and AdobeMAX. At the Guild booth, board members handed out materials and spoke to attendees on copyrights, business best practices, and The CASE Act. We solicited photographs of designers, illustrators, and other creators holding up signs in support of the CASE Act. The photos were used in outreach to the creators’ Members of Congress.

September, 2018 – The Graphic Artists Guild signed on to an amicus brief authored by the Authors Guild in support of the petitioner in Fourth Estate vs., a case going before the Supreme Court. The amicus brief argued that the court should read the Copyright Act, Section 411(a), to mean that the date a registration is “made” is the date on which the complete application (with the deposit copy and fee) are deposited with the Copyright Office.

The Guild submitted a comment letter, joined by ASMP and ASCRL, in response to a Copyright Office Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on raising copyright registration fees. In our comments, the Guild pointed out that raising copyright registration fees as wages for graphic artists have been stagnant will deter registration. We also pointed out that raising the fee for a request for reconsideration will unduly burden graphic designers who, by the nature of the work they register, experience a higher incidence of having their registration applications challenged by the Copyright Office. We also requested that a group registration option comparable to that enjoyed by photographers be implemented for graphic artists.

Guild representative to the International Council of Design Yanique DaCosta presented on Guild advocacy efforts at the Council’s General Assembly in Beijing, China. She also participated in the Council’s 2018 Platform Meeting, at which member associations, educational institutions, and promotional bodies met to participate in discussions on the topic, “design is changing.”

October 2018 – The Guild joined ASMP and NPPA in presenting at the IFFRO annual General Assembly in Athens, Greece. The presentation detailed advocacy efforts by visual artist associations in the United States.

The Guild joined an amicus brief authored by NPPA in Russell Brammer versus Violent Hues Productions. The brief was written in support of photographer Russel Brammer, who is appealing a decision by the Fourth Circuit which found that Violent Hues’ use of his photograph fell under fair use. The ruling found the use of the was transformational, since the photographer’s intent in publishing the photo was promotional and expressive, whereas Violent Hues’ intent was informational. That decision was widely condemned by visual artists.

December 2018 – The Graphic Artists Guild submitted a response to a proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office on Group Registrations of Unpublished Works. The Guild raised a number of concerns with the proposed rulemaking, notably that limiting group registration to just five individual works is not helpful for graphic artists, who often generate a greater number of works in the execution of a single project. We also asked for the Copyright Office to issue an opinion on what constitutes publication for online works.

The Guild advocated in favor of S. 1010, The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2018. The bill would make the Register of Copyrights into a position nominated by the President, treating the head of the Copyright Office like every other appointed official who has oversight over significant industries.


January, 2017 —  The Graphic Artists Guild with the Coalition of Visual Artists signed on to a comment letter in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the Copyright Office asking for feedback on proposed changes to the group registration of photographs.

The Guild joined the Coalition of Visual Artists in submitting a response to the policy proposal for reform of the Copyright Office, drafted by House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R – VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D – MI). The proposal called for greater autonomy for the Copyright Office, the creation of an advisory committees, IT modernization, and creation of a copyright small claims tribunal. The response extended an in-depth discussion of a copyright small claims tribunal.

The Guild called upon creators to respond to the Librarian of Congress’ survey on the Register of Copyrights, asking them to let the Librarian know the next Register should have the support of the creative community.

March, 2017 —  The Graphic Artists Guild with the Coalition of Visual Artists signed on to a comment letter in response to a notice of inquiry issued by the Copyright Office on moral rights.

April, 2017 —  The Graphic Artists Guild called upon visual artists  to support H.R. 1695. The bill seeks to make the Register of Copyrights, currently appointed by the Librarian of Congress, a presidential appointee with a 10-year term with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Guild has long supported giving the Copyright Office greater autonomy and modernizing the Office

May, 2017 —  The Graphic Artists Guild applauded the introduction of “The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act” into the Senate as S.1010 on May 2nd.

July, 2017 —  On July 20th, the Guild joined members of the Coalition of Visual Artists for meetings with Congressional staff on key copyright issues. The meeting is part of the Guild’s ongoing advocacy efforts on copyright reform on behalf of graphic artists.

October, 2017 —  The Guild ran a half day session on National Design Policy at ico-D’s Professional Platform Meeting. We also organized and spoke on the topic at the World Design Summit in Montreal.

The Graphic Artists Guild participated in ico-D’s General Assembly in Montreal, Canada.

November, 2017 —  The Guild attended the IFRRO World Congress on reprographic reproduction rights in Tokyo, Japan.


March, 2016 – The Guild conducted a survey of visual artists on the efficacy of the DMCA Takedown Notice procedure. The survey results were used to inform a comment letter put out by the Coalition of Visual Artist Associations, in response to a public study being conducted by the Copyright Office.

The Guild joined the Coalition of Visual Artists in drafting a white paper on the key components of a copyright small claims tribunal. The white paper advocates for the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office.

May, 2016 – The Guild participated in roundtables on the DMCA process conducted by the Copyright Office, representing the concerns of graphic artists.

August, 2016 — The Guild coordinated a presentation on national design policies for ic0-D’s Professional Platform Meeting in Pasadena, CA.

December, 2016 —The Guild joined members of the Coalition of Visual Artists for meetings with Congressional staff on key copyright issues. The meeting is part of the Guild’s ongoing advocacy efforts on copyright reform on behalf of graphic artists.

The Guild called on graphic artists to respond to the Librarian of Congress’s public survey on the next Register of Copyrights. The Guild asked visual artist and all who rely on a strong copyright system to let the Library know that we need a Register who understands the value of copyright, recognizes the need for the Office to be modernized, and has the support of the creative community.


March, 2015: The Guild joined CreativeFuture, a coalition of over 350 companies and organizations that seeks to address piracy. The coalition has three primary initiatives: mobilizing the creative community to speak up about the harm caused by piracy; advocating for policies which will staunch the flow of funds to pirate site operators; and educating youth about the cultural, ethical, and economic value of creative ownership.

The Guild joined the Coalition of Visual Artists Associations in protesting the College Art Association’s “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts.” The letter contested a major conclusion of the study, that “copyright acts primarily as a barrier, encouraging self-censorship; and that artists are in an adversarial relationship with the marketplace.” The letter points out that artists only seek fair compensation to their work, and that the study fails to educate its audience on options for licensing work.

May, 2015: The Guild sent a letter to the Small Business Administration protesting the federal agency’s crowd-sourced “Seed for the Future” logo design contest. The Guild’s letter pointed out the irony of the Small Business Administration promoting innovative small businesses, by underpaying small business owners (independent designers and illustrators) for speculative design work through crowdsourcing.

July, 2015 — The Guild filed comments on the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry, titled “Copyright Protection for Certain Visual Works.” The inquiry sought commentary from authors of visual works and licensees on five specific 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?

October, 2015 — The Guild participated in ico-D’s Professional Platform Meeting. The Guild also attended ico-D’s General Assembly in Gwangju, South Korea.

November, 2015 — The Guild participated in the 2015 Creative Rights Caucus for the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC. The Creative Rights Caucus is a bi-partisan legislative “listening” committee co-Chaired by Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). The event was organized by the Professional Photographers of America [PPA]. The Congressional Creative Rights Caucus is dedicated to protecting the rights of content creators.


March, 2014 – The Guild participated in a US Copyright Office Roundtable discussion on  “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.”

The Guild filed a comment Letter to the US Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry on “Strategic Plan for Recordation of Documents.” 

The Guild participated in US Copyright Office Roundtables on Reengineering of Recordation of Documents.

May, 2014: The Guild submitted a Comment Letter to the US Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry about “Technological Upgrades to Registration and Recordation Functions.”
May 2014

June, 2014: Guild member illustrator Ed Shems testified at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the First Sale Doctrine.  

Ed Shems also participated in a US Patent & Trademark Office Roundtable Discussion on “Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages” at Harvard University School of Law.
Transcript available here
Webcast viewable online

June, 2014 – Guild joined the National Writers Union, the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Writers in signing on to an amicus brief in support of “Superman” creators, Siegel and Schuster, and artist Jack Kirby. The families of Siegel and Shuster, and of Kirby, petitioned the US Supreme Court hear their appeals of two Circuit Court decisions which rejected their attempts to regain the copyrights.

October 2014: The Guild participated in the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts Symposium, “Creation is Not Its Own Reward: Making Copyright Work for Authors and Performers.” 

The Guild participated in ICOGRADA’s 2014 General Assembly Meeting, and Professional Platform Meeting, presenting on speculative practices.

The Guild participated in a roundtable discussion on United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Farida Shaheed’s report, “Copyright Policy And The Right To Science And Culture.”


The 14th Edition of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published and distributed to members.


January, 2012: The Advocacy Committee submitted two (2) comment letters to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to both first and second Notice of Inquiry regarding Remedies for Small Copyright Claims. The Copyright Office was studying creating an alternative dispute resolution for small-value copyright infringement claims, separate from the current Federal District Court procedure, intending this to be a lower cost and more accessible system for rights holders to seek legal remedy for infringements, resulting in smaller monetary damages or simply injunction against infringing users, which rights holders cannot realistically pursue in Federal Court.

In support of the Guild’s first comment letter for a small claims copyright system, the Guild conducted an online survey, open to all authors and creators, regarding their experiences
with infringement of their works and the proposal to create an alternative dispute resolution for small-value copyright infringement claims by the U.S. Copyright Office.

May, 2012: The Guild conducted an online survey open to all artists regarding the proposed increase of registration and other filing fees by the U.S. Copyright Office, and subsequently submitted a Comment Letter to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the Notice of Inquiry regarding the 2012 Proposed Fee Increases.

October, 2012: Former National President John Schmelzer and Advocacy Committee member Lisa Shaftel attended the 2012 IFRRO Annual General Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
as Guild representatives.

November, 2012: On November 15 & 16, the Guild participated in the Copyright Office roundtable hearings on Remedies for Small Copyright Claims, in New York City.

November, 2012: The Advocacy Committee submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the Notice of Inquiry regarding Resale Royalty Rights.

The Guild met on an ad hoc basis with other visual creator’s organizations, including ASMP, PPA, PACA, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), NANPA and American Photographic Artists (APA), to discuss copyright and legislative issues. Beginning with the Copyright Office study about alternative dispute resolutions for small-value copyright infringement claims, the group sought to make recommendations, regarding the protection of the intellectual property rights of visual creators, to the Copyright Office, Congressional offices, and other pertinent groups.

During the 2012 Congressional Session, the Guild continued to be actively involved throughout the country with the Copyright Alliance, representing visual creators’ copyright and professional concerns.


The Guild established professional webinars on timely business and industry topics as part of an ongoing educational effort. Webinars are available to members as part of their membership and archived in the members-only section of the Guild’s web site for playback.

The Guild made available a series of downloadable PDF booklets on topics such as essential business practices and starting your own communications design business.

A letter-writing campaign to the Senate Committee on Finance was launched in support of S.3578—The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE). The Act would repeal IRS Notice 2010-51 included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the health care bill). This bill was
passed and IRS Notice 2010-51 repealed.

The Guild began a mentorship with JAMCOPY, the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency.

April 23-29, 2011: National Advocacy Committee Chair Lisa Shaftel and Executive Committee Member Todd LeMieux participated in Jamaica Intellectual Property Week 2011, in Kingston, Jamaica, as representatives of the Guild.

The Guild continued to be actively involved with the Copyright Alliance, representing visual creators’ copyright and professional concerns throughout the country during the 2011 Congressional session.

The Guild took a lead role in alerting artists to possible logo infringement by the web site,

The Guild sent an open letter to the Obama for America campaign, expressing outrage that the reelection campaign solicited work on speculation from artists for a poster contest supporting the Obama jobs bill. Worse, the contest rules granted the Obama for America campaign an unrestricted, unpaid, irrevocable license to use all submissions.

The Guild sent an open letter to the Convention Committee of the Democratic National Committee 2012 to protest their crowd-sourcing poster contest for the 2012 Presidential
Convention. The poster contest included many of the same rules and terms as the Obama for America poster contest.

The Guild coordinated a letter-writing campaign in support of S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, a bill to amend current copyright law to include new technology,
specifically the illegal streaming of copyrighted motion pictures over the Internet.

The Guild supported The Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2011 which seeks to amend the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986 “to provide that a deduction equal to fair market value shall be allowed for charitable contributions of literary, musical, artistic, or scholarly compositions created by the donor.”

The Guild supported the bipartisan legislation, S. 968 — Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011. This legislation
would have given Federal law enforcement more tools to go after rogue web sites internationally that facilitate copyright infringement, sell unauthorized/infringing copyrighted works, and traffic in counterfeit consumer goods, including pharmaceuticals and knock-offs.

The Guild issued a public statement withdrawing its support of H.R. 3261—Stop Online Piracy Act [SOPA], the House version of S. 968 — The Protect IP Act, after receiving numerous complaints about SOPA from within the industry.


The Graphic Artists Guild joined several other visual arts rights holders’ trade groups and prominent individual photographers in filing objections to the $125 million class action settlement with Google Books for copyright infringement.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), joined by the Graphic Artists Guild, the Picture Archive Council of America, and the North American Nature Photography Association, filed a statement for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing on “Competition and Commerce in Digital Books.” The statement, which has been added to the hearing record, represents the interests of thousands in the visual artist community.

Guild Executive Director Tricia McKiernan briefed the Senate Small Business Committee about the importance of copyright to the livelihood of graphic artists as part of a panel of Copyright Alliance members.

Coinciding with the 2009 IFRRO Annual General Meeting in Oslo, Norway, an International Authors Forum was held in Oslo on Tuesday, October 20. The meeting focused on media concentration, authors’ rights, and contracts — the same issues the Graphic Artists Guild has promoted in the United States since its inception in 1967 and supported by the Guild via its presence at the meeting.

Guild member Chad Cameron was part of a delegation of emerging artists in The Copyright Alliance’s grassroots network of creators who delivered to the White House a letter signed by more than 11,000 artists nationwide asking President Obama and Vice President Biden to pursue policies supportive of artists’ rights.

The Advocacy Committee submitted a comment letter on behalf of the Guild to the U.S. Copyright Office on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Mandatory Deposit of Published Electronic Works Available Only On-line.

2005 – 2009


The 13th Edition of The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published and distributed to members.

After much research and input by Advocacy Committee members, a comment letter on behalf of the Guild regarding the Joint Strategic Plan of the PRO-IP Act of 2008 was sent to Ms. Victoria A. Espinel, United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

The Advocacy Committee sent a comment letter on behalf of the Guild supporting the repeal of the 1099 provision in IRS Notice 2010-51, which was submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. (This provision was subsequently repealed April 5, 2011.)

At the request of Access Copyright of Canada, the Guild submitted a comment letter composed by the Advocacy Committee, regarding Canada’s international obligations concerning Canadian Bill C-32, The Copyright Modernization Act, to The Honorable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. The letter expressed concern
about some of the exceptions contained in the proposed bill and the negative impact on rights holders’ revenue.

The Guild, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Digital Media Licensing Association (PACA), and North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) teamed together, along with individual visual artists, to file a class action lawsuit for copyright infringement against Google, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in reaction to the Authors Guild v. Google settlement. The AG/AAP settlement had omitted all royalties due rights holders of visual works included in the books and other publications already scanned and future digitization of printed material.

In October, former National Guild President John Schmelzer, and Advocacy Chair Lisa Shaftel attended, as Guild 314 chapter 14: the Graphic Artists Guild representatives, the 2010 IFRRO Annual General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.


The Graphic Artists Guild worked with the Guild lobbyist to coordinate with the Copyright Office and Congressional staff regarding proposed orphan works legislation. Also representing the National Textile Association, the American Craft & Hobby Association, and George Little Management, these organizations collaborated, along with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

The Guild participated in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC with the Copyright Office, regarding revision of the section of U.S. Copyright Law on “Compilations” and provisions for counting of damages for infringing use of works registered as compilations. Testimony was submitted on behalf of illustrators and other graphic artists.

The Graphic Artists Guild & ASMP filed an amicus curiae in support of the owner of the Perfect 10 web site in his appeal of the lower court’s denial of his copyright infringement
suit against Google.

Guild President John Schmelzer and Advocacy Chairperson Lisa Shaftel attended the 2008 Annual General Meeting of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) in Jamaica, as Guild representatives.


The Graphic Artists Guild joined the Authors Guild in warning members about the all-rights, print-on-demand contracts being forced on authors and illustrators by Simon and Schuster.

The Guild joined the Copyright Alliance and participated in its Copyright Expo.

The 12th Edition of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines was published and distributed to members.

Representatives of the Executive Committee of the Graphic Artists Guild, Executive Director Tricia McKiernan and ExCom member Rebecca Blake, attended the World Design Congress in Havana, Cuba, to accept the Guild’s permanent membership in ICOGRADA.


The “Orphan Works” issue continued as a major issue for visual artists with the introduction of a Congressional bill in the House of Representatives. The Guild joined forces with other visual artists’ organizations to fight the sections of the bill that would be detrimental to the livelihood of all visual artists. (See Orphan Works: A Recent Legislative History for more information.)

The Guild supported photographer Thomas Dallal in his copyright infringement lawsuit against The New York Times. The Guild, in conjunction with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), submitted an amicus brief in support of Dallal’s appeal of an earlier court decision in favor of The New York Times. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the earlier decision and the judges ordered The New York Times to negotiate a settlement payment for usage fees of over 1,000 images created by Tom Dallal.

The Guild joined the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA), the world body for professional graphic design and visual communication. Founded in 1963, ICOGRADA is a voluntary assembly of associations concerned with graphic design, visual communication, design management, design promotion, and design education. ICOGRADA promotes graphic designers’ vital role in society and commerce and unifies the voices of graphic designers and visual communicators worldwide. The Guild attended the ICOGRADA regional meeting in Seattle, held in conjunction with the ICOGRADA Design Week, July 9-15, 2006.


The Guild continued to support the plaintiffs in the Grokster case by joining a community amicus brief for presentation before the Supreme Court.

The Guild submitted a commentary letter in response to the Copyright Office notice asking for comments regarding the issue of “Orphan Works,” copyrighted works whose owners may be impossible to identify or locate. (See Orphan Works: A Recent Legislative History for more information.)

The Guild participated in the Copyright Office’s two-day roundtable discussions on possible solutions to the “Orphan Works” issue in Washington, D.C.

The Guild contributed to the “Illustration Growers of America” campaign in two ways: a $2,500 contribution for campaign advertising costs and a page in the Guild Directory of Illustration.

2000 – 2004


After much discussion by the Guild’s Board of Directors, membership voted to end the Guild’s affiliation with the UAW in May 2004. Expectations associated with the affiliation were never realized, and the Guild’s Board decided it was best to put the matter before the membership for a vote.


The eleventh edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published.

The Guild submitted amicus briefs in support of two artists’ rights cases: the estate of cartoonist/comic book artist Daniel S. DeCarlo in Archie Comic Publication, Inc. (Publica) v. Daniel S. DeCarlo and MGM Studios, et al in Metro-Goldwin-Mayer Studios, et. al. v. Grokster, Ltd., et al.

Guild President Lloyd Dangle, responded to work-for-hire contracts being forced on journalists at Ski and Skiing magazine by parent company AOL/TIME Warner. A press conference was also held on April 23 in New York City, on the steps of City Hall, about the issue. Representatives from the Guild, National Writers Union, American Society of Media Photographers, Editorial Photographers, Author’s Guild, Society of American Travel Writers, freelancers, and Council members from New York City were in attendance.


The Guild supported the “Freelance Writers and Artists Protection Act” (HR 4643), introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. John Conyers, which would allow artists to bargain collectively. Guild members around the country raised awareness and support for H.R. 4643 by writing and visiting their local Congresspersons.

The Guild, in association with the Copyright Society of the USA, participated in Copyright Awareness Week, April 22-28, 2002. The event was a first of its kind for the Guild and a major success.

The Northern California Chapter celebrated a long-awaited victory for the California arts community when the California Board of Equalization voted to clarify the sales tax regulations affecting illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, and designers.

A copyright case supported by the Guild, Kelly v. Arriba Soft, Inc., won in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was remanded back to the U.S. District Court, Santa Ana, California, for determination of damages.

The Guild met with other leading organizations representing graphic artists and photographers to discuss common problems in the marketplace, possible legislative solutions to those problems, and how best to work together toward relieving them.

The Guild joined the Author’s Coalition, a group of independent authors’ organizations incorporated to work together to repatriate and distribute foreign non-title-specific royalty payments for American works photocopied abroad. These non-title-specific royalty monies are distributed to the Coalition member organizations to be used for educational and advocacy projects that will benefit the industry as a whole.


Guild supported The Boston Globe Freelancers Association in their fight against The Boston Globe “master contract.”

In February 2001, Guild joined with The Illustrators Partnership in a letter-writing campaign protesting Condé Nast’s retroactive all-rights grab contracts. Over 400 protest letters were delivered to Condé Nast.

Tenth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published with more than 400 pages.

The Northern California Chapter of the Guild achieved a victory for state tax reform when illustrator Heather Preston won her tax case against the California Board of Equalization in April 2001. The Chapter, which had been pursuing sales tax reform in the state since 1996, provided direct support to Preston throughout her ordeal and filed an amicus curae with the court.


Walter Hortens Distinguished Service Awards: illustrator Brad Holland won Professional Practices Award; Steven Heller, art director of The New York Times Book Review, won Outstanding Client Award; and Jonathan Tasini, president of the National Writers Union and lead plaintiff in the groundbreaking electronic rights lawsuit Tasini, et al. v. The New York Times, et al., was given a Special Award for the Advancement of Creators’ Rights.

1995 – 1999


After a nearly 20-year search for an appropriate union, Guild membership voted by three-to-one margin to affiliate with the United Auto Workers, creating UAW Local 3030.

Guild negotiated its second collective bargaining agreement with Thirteen/WNET on behalf of the staff designers it represents, improving pay and working conditions.

1999 Walter Hortens Distinguished Service Awards: graphic designer and writer D.K. Holland won Professional Practices Award; Robert Kanes, art director of PCWorld, won Outstanding Client Award; and Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights, was given a Special Award for the Advancement of Creators’ Rights.

Copyright rate hike contained to $30 rather than $45, due to lobbying efforts of Guild and others.

The Guild Legal Defense Fund supported two potentially groundbreaking cases: photographer Leslie Kelly’s case against Arriba Soft Corporation and the lawsuit by 18 medical illustrators against Advanstar Communications, Inc. (Teri J. McDermott, et al. v. Advanstar Communications, Inc.).

The Campaign for Illustration (C4I) was initiated to preserve the economic well-being of illustrators, to help artists defend and control their rights, and to make the illustration community a truly cohesive business and creative force. Its three components are education, action, and community.


Thirty Years of Raising Standards was published, a compendium of Guild history, archival material, and information about the Guild’s mission and services.

First Walter Hortens Distinguished Service Award presented to illustrator Milton Glaser for his “unswerving devotion to the issues confronting the profession and for focusing wide public attention on those issues” (specifically his public stand against the Chrysler Corporation’s preemptive editorial policy).

First Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Simms Taback for more than 20 years of service to the Guild.

Guild launched Contract Monitor, an electronic newsletter analyzing industry contracts.

Guild opposed projected raises in copyright fees and chapter 14: the graphic artists guild 311 launched copyright registration campaign.

Revised Code of Ethical Practice adopted.


The Graphic Artists Guild Legal Defense Fund founded.

Ninth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published, with 313 pages. More than 70,000 copies sold.


Guild organized coalition of 16 industry organizations and launched “Ask First,” a copyright awareness campaign intended to end unauthorized use of images for client presentations.

Guild reached understanding with American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), National Writers Union (NWU), and Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) to establish digital licensing agency.

Guild reached agreement with Kopinor, the Norwegian reprographic rights organization, to accept distribution of royalties attributed to U.S. illustrators and designers.

Guild adopted its first strategic plan to adapt to changing industry conditions.


Guild took proactive lead on electronic rights issues, organizing “Clients vs. Creators: The Struggle Over E-Rights,” an industry roundtable featuring Bruce Lehman, U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks.

Guild successfully negotiated its first collective bargaining agreement with Thirteen/WNET on behalf of the staff designers it represents, improving hours, pay, and other working conditions.

1987 – 1994


Eighth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines was published. Updated in design, organization, and information, it had grown to nearly 300 pages, with an initial printing of approximately 30,000 copies.

Guild and ASMP backed widow of illustrator Patrick Nagel in copyright ownership lawsuit against Playboy (Dumas v. Playboy), concerning after-the-fact work-for-hire contracts stamped on the back of artist’s payment checks. (See Chapter 2 of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook, Pricing & Ethical Guidelines: Legal Rights & Issues.)


National Labor Relations Board certified the Guild as the exclusive bargaining agent for the graphic artists employed at Thirteen/WNET (Educational Broadcasting Corporation), a publicly funded television station in New York City.

The Guild Foundation, with the support and technical assistance of the NEA’s Office for Special Constituencies, produced an award-winning set of disability access symbols, Disability Access Symbols Project: Promoting Accessible Places and Programs. The Disability Access Symbols Project was distributed to hundreds of government and nonprofit organizations.


Guidelines for the Interpretation of Sales Tax Requirements for Graphic Designers and Illustrators, formulated by the Guild, AIGA, and SEGD, were approved by New York State Department of Taxation.

Guild organized “Eye to Eye,” its first national conference and trade show, celebrating 25 years of advancing the interests of creators.


Expanded and updated 7th edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 240-page book. Three printings brought the total number of copies in circulation to 53,000.

Guild took leadership role in addressing health-care crisis for artists and designers, formally endorsing universal health-care legislation in Congress. Steps were taken to organize Artists United for Universal Health, a coalition of arts and artists organizations dedicated to this goal.


Atlanta Chapter helped win protection for artists in Georgia, requiring printers to obtain written authorization of copyright clearance for all print orders over $1,000.

The Guild, together with the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and the SEGD (Society for Environmental Graphic Design), began working to clarify sales tax collection guidelines for illustrators and graphic designers in New York State.


Guild’s leadership helped AFTE win necessary exemption from uniform tax capitalization for all artists and graphic designers through a “technical correction” to the tax law.

Guild, through the Copyright Justice Coalition, helped convince the Supreme Court to decide in favor of sculptor James Earl Reid in the landmark decision that virtually ended work-for-hire for freelancers in the absence of a written agreement.

Testimony presented on work-for-hire abuses to Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks.


Guild spearheaded formation of Artists for Tax Equity (AFTE) coalition to confront intended application of uniform tax capitalization requirements to all artists and designers. Coalition grew to 75 organizations representing nearly one million artists and designers.

Fifth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Directory of Illustration released in 9 x 12-inch format and began annual publication thereafter.


National Professional Practices (currently called Grievance) Committee organized.

Sixth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 208-page book.

1978 – 1985


Guild Foundation drafted ethical guidelines for contests and competitions.

Boston Chapter succeeded in passage of state’s Arts Preservation Act.

Formation of Giolito Communications Center, a specialized reference library operated by the Guild Foundation.

National Legal Referral Network established.

Traveling education workshops established.


Fifth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 194-page book.

Fourth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Directory of Illustration published.

Testimony was presented before the Democratic National Platform Committee on professional issues.

Guild proposed a Copyright Justice Act to reform work-for-hire provision of the copyright law by eliminating instances in which artists lose rights and benefits as creators of their work.


Fourth edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 136-page book.

Guild succeeded in passing California’s artists’ fair practices law (Sect. 988 of Civil Code).

Assistance provided in the formation of the National Writers Union.

Responding to Guild opposition, IRS withdraws proposed rule that would have disallowed a home studio deduction where artist has a primary source of income at another location and from other type of work.

Guild formed the Copyright Justice Coalition, an alliance of creators’ groups, including photographers and writers, to lobby for work-for-hire reform in U.S. Congress. 42 organizations joined coalition efforts, the largest creators’ advocacy coalition in history.

Graphic Artists Guild Foundation organized and received National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for study.

New York Chapter succeeded in passage of New York State artists’ fair practices law (Sects. 1401 & 1403 of Arts & Cult. Affairs Law) and artists’ authorship rights law (Art. 12-J of General Business Law).


Professional Education Program started by New York Chapter.

Oregon passed an artists’ fair practices law (Sects. 359.350-359.365 of Rev. Stat.), based on the Guild’s model law.

Third edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Directory of Illustration was published as a 272-page book, becoming the largest reference book of its kind in the United States at the time.


Good Works (no-fee job referral program) initiated.

Class was begun at Graphic Artists Guild’s Business School, geared towards professionals and taught by professionals.

Guild assisted a group of textile designers in obtaining a National Labor Relations Board investigation and in filing an unfair labor practices complaint against Print-a-Pattern after the designers were terminated subsequent to seeking to negotiate an employment contract. The designers were able to obtain unemployment insurance and entered into a private settlement regarding monies due.

Favorable ruling from IRS provided Guild with nonprofit status as a labor organization, which allowed flexibility and broader activities as a professional association beyond those of purely educational or philanthropic associations.

Guild published Protecting Your Heirs and Creative Work, by Tad Crawford.

Guild assisted with formation of Children’s Book Artists & Author Association (CBAAA).


Third edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 48-page booklet.

Second edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Directory of Illustration published as a 156-page book.

Long-term legislative drive initiated that targeted federal copyright and tax laws and promoted model legislation to establish legal rights for artists at federal and state levels.

Model business forms drafted for various graphic art disciplines.

Negotiation with a number of publishers resulted in their withdrawal of work-for-hire contracts.


New York Chapter became a co-sponsor of the independent Joint Ethics Committee (JEC) to promote the industry’s oldest ethical arbitration for industry practitioners.

Favorable decision obtained from Copyright Royalty Tribunal that raised fees and improved reporting procedures for 260 PBS stations regarding use of previously published art for broadcasting.

The Guild published Visual Artists’ Guide to the New Copyright Law, by Tad Crawford.

1976 – 1967


First publication of the Graphic Artists Guild Talent Directory (later known as the Directory of Illustration), the first sourcebook to serve the needs of illustrators.

Guild staged its first business seminars for graphic artists: “How to Run Your Own Business” and “Artists & Agents.”


Formation of Professional Practices Committee to help Guild members resolve disputes with clients.

Second edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 40-page booklet.


First edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines published as a 20-page booklet.


Detroit Chapter’s strike against Campbell Ewald proved unsuccessful due to lack of solidarity among local-area artists and pressure from some Detroit art studios.


Guild’s Detroit Chapter called strike against Campbell Ewald, an automotive industry advertising agency with ties to Chevrolet/General Motors.


Organizing of Guild chapters initiated in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

First issue of a Graphic Artists Guild newsletter, To Date, published in February 1968.

First annual Guild Art Show in Detroit.


Independent national Guild and local Guild branch (chapter) organized in Detroit, with 113 initial members who signed the charter on November 2, 1967. Graphic Artists Guild Constitution patterned after that of the Screen Actors Guild.