Last chance to watch – recordings come down September 1!
Creators and Their Advocates on How
Writers • Photographers • Illustrators • Designers • Dramatists • Songwriters • Composers
Are Being Taken Advantage of and What They Can Do About It

Participating Organizations:

Freelancers Union logo
Working for free/paying to work:
Contests, crowdsourcing, and publishing platforms
The ways in which creators are asked to work for free abound, from contests to hiring homework to publishing and crowdsourcing platforms. What do we need to look out for, and how can we push back against these practices?

Michael Capobianco (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America)

Rafael Espinal (Freelancers Union)
Francesca Khalifa (Music Workers Alliance)
Rona Siddiqui (Dramatists Guild)
Johnathon Strebly (International Council of Design)

Contracts and terms:
The unethical, the unenforceable, and the unavoidable
Creative professionals are often bound by client-supplied contracts, and publishing platforms require standardized contracts. Be aware of terms such as work-made-for-hire language, wage skimming, and non-compete clauses.

Umair Kazi (Authors Guild)

Daniel Abraham (Graphic Artists Guild)
Thomas Maddrey (American Society of Media Photographers)
Ralph Sevush (Dramatists Guild)

Copyrights and rights grabs:
How your work is taken, and how you can protect your rights
Infringers utilize ingenious ways to steal our work, while companies openly engage in rights grabs. What can we do individually, and what can we do collectively to advocate for policy changes, to protect ourselves against rights grabs?

Thomas Maddrey (American Society of Media Photographers)

Rebecca Blake (Graphic Artists Guild)
Edward Hasbrouck (National Writers Union)
Stephen Doniger (American Photographic Artists)

Creators Resources:

The participating organizations have compiled resources for their members and other creators. These will help you be informed of your rights (including your copyrights), follow best practices, and be empowered to advocate for yourself and your community.

American Photographic Artists

APA Biz Talk | Does registering your images with the Copyright Office really matter?: In this video, APA’s legal counsel Steve Doninger and past president Jeff Sedlik discuss the importance of copyright registration to photographers.

Advocacy News: The Advocacy news feed informs photographers of upcoming legislation, issues, and initiatives they need to be aware of.

APA Awards: APA’s photography contest is ethically constructed and reasonably priced, permitting photographers worldwide to enter and have their work evaluated and recognized by a jury of industry leaders.

Inspiration: The Inspiration articles feed features interviews and overviews of cutting-edge photographers worldwide.

American Society of Media Photographers

Learn About the Copyright Claims Board (video): On May 16, the Copyright Alliance and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA), in partnership with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), hosted a panel titled “Learn About the Copyright Claims Board”, the alternative forum to federal court to resolve certain small copyright disputes.

Focus on the Law: In their brand-new video channel, ASMP’s legal counsel Tom Maddrey does a deeper dive into the legal issues, from contracts to copyrights and beyond, which photographers need to be aware of. Episodes will be added to this channel as they are recorded.

Advocacy Campaigns: ASMP’s news feed of advocacy campaigns apprises photographers of developments which will impact their ability to protect their work and thrive as professionals.

ASMP Academy (for members only): The ASMP Academy Powered by Sony is the new central hub of information, resources, and content, exclusively for ASMP Members: long-form courses, complete curriculums, relevant articles, and attorney-crafted templates.

The Authors Guild
icon disinguishing survey origin

Business Bootcamps for Writers: The Authors Guild Foundation and an array of authors and publishing experts have made available a FREE series of webinars on the path to publication and the business of writing!

Writers Resource Library: The Authors Guild has published a library of resources for writers, on topics such as self-publishing, submitting your work, literary agents, etc. While some of the articles and resources are limited to members only, many can be accessed by non-members.

Book Contract Reviews (members only) Legal experts help Authors Guild members with understanding everything about book contracts, from negotiating, contract disputes, copyrights and other rights, and royalties. In addition to publishing contracts, members can have their literary agency and freelance agreements reviewed.

Authors Guild Model Trade Book Contract: The Authors Guild publishes a free, publicly accessible Model Trade Book Contract to educate authors about the various terms in publishing contracts, their rights, and what they can and should negotiate. The Model Trade Book Contract contains samples of the clauses or provisions authors are likely to encounter in a publishing contract, from subsidiary rights to rights reversion. Every clause is accompanied by a commentary section that explains what the clause does and how authors might improve the language in their own contract. The AG also has a model contract for literary translators.

Money Matters – The Road to Financial Literacy: This series is dedicated explicitly to financial matters as they concern book authors, journalists, and freelance writers. Each session covers a topic such as royalty statements, forming entities, managing literary estates, freelancer finances, alternative sources of income, what authors can expect to pay for during a book release, and more.

Dramatists Guild

Business Resources for Dramatists: The Guild has developed a set of business resources for members, and many are accessible to non-members as well. Their resources hub includes links to information on diversity and inclusion, workplace safety, issues with live streaming, and copyrights.

Dramatist’s Bill of Rights: Playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists often struggle professionally in theatres throughout the country, and even on Broadway, due to the wide-ranging demands and expectations imposed on them by their producers (and other collaborators) which are presented as “standard” terms.  It is essential, therefore, that dramatists know their rights, which the Dramatists Guild established in 1926 and has defended ever since.

Copyright 101: This resource page has gathered basic information on copyrights, including US and international copyrights, registering your works, protecting your works, copyright practices for educators, and recent developments in copyright law.

Copyright Advocacy: The Guild has curated articles and videos with a deeper dive into copyright:  what it means , how it benefits theatrical writers, and what you can do to protect your copyright.

Don’t Change the Words: As a part of their effort to support dramatists and their allies in the fight, the Guild created a telephone hotline and email address, where anyone can anonymously report instances of copyright infringement – the Guild will reach out to writers, licensors, and publishers of theatrical works to follow up on the reports.

Inclusion Rider: The first of its kind in the theatre industry, the Dramatists Guild Inclusion Rider is intended to be a model addendum that will enable you to ask a producer to audition or interview, cast, and hire members of historically excluded groups wherever possible.

Freelancers Union

Freelance 101: Freelancers Union has gathered up toolbox of articles on everything a freelancer needs to know to run their business. Topics include health insurance, managing finances, business insurance, corporate structure, and managing clients.

The Freelancers Guide to Getting Paid On Time: The Union has outlined a five-step course of action to take if your client isn’t paying you on time.

Freelance Isn’t Free Law: This page provides guidance on New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free law – what the law’s provisions are, and how to file a claim. The page includes a toolkit for advocates outside of New York to download, to bring the law to their cities and state.

Freelance Tax Center: Resource articles on taxes and freelancing are gathered here, and cover topics such as claiming a home office tax deduction, how to show proof of income, filing freelance taxes for the first time, and tax year 2022 and beyond.

Graphic Artists Guild

Guild News: The news blog covers educates graphic artists on issues and developments they need to be aware of. For example, filtering articles by Copyright pulls in articles on hiring homework, social media hashtag campaigns, and Google licensable image badges.

Ask a Pro webinars: In this free series of webinars, professional designers and illustrators share their life and work experience. The Guild webinar archive includes presentations free to members and at a low price for non-members on topics relevant to working artists.

Starting Your Own Communication Design Business: In this whitepaper, design firm owner Lara Kisielewska outlines what anyone starting their own studio needs to know about getting off the ground, and growing their business.

The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines: Published by MIT Press, the Handbook is considered the industry bible for working illustrators and designers. The book contains standard trade practices by industry, current salary information and freelance rates, and model contracts and forms.

Tools and Resources: The Graphic Artists Guild has collected a library of resource articles for illustrators, designers, and other artists. Topics include copyrights, contracts, business basics, client relations, licensing, and marketing and self promotion.

International Council of Design

ICoD position on unpaid work: The Council’s position on unpaid work demands fair compensation and discourages any practices which require designers to work without remuneration. The Council has included a guide for designers to navigate through the various types of requests for unpaid work, including pro-bono work, design competitions, and unpaid internships.

Best practice papers on design competitions: The Council has developed two guides related to design competitions, one on how to best organize an ethical, professional award competition, and a second on how to serve as a juror.

Professional Code of Conduct: The Professional Code of Conduct outlines the designer’s rights and responsibilities to their community, their clients, and society. The Code can be read online by section, or downloaded as a PDF in English, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, and Lithuanian.

Polemics archive: The Polemics Archive poses questions that challenge the perception of what design is, and where it is going.

Music Workers Alliance

Streaming Justice: The Alliance is organizing for real justice for musicians in the age of streaming media. Their resource page provides tools for musicians interested in joining the advocacy efforts and a set of FAQs on the issue.

MWA in the Press: The Alliance’s news feed culls articles on local and nationwide issues important to musicians, from pandemic relief, to copyright and DMCA issues.

Resources: The Resources page is being developed and currently holds links to Support Group form (for individuals harmed in the music industry), grants database, residencies database, and tips and advice on applying for grants.

Additional Resources:
Career Resources from American Composers Forum: The Forum has collected a hub of resources to help composers develop their careers. We’ve included direct links to some of the resources:

Successful Gigging and Freelancing: This publication by Dr. Adrian Daly of the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester) is a comprehensive guide for gigging musicians on marketing, contracting gigs, professionalism, and contract details.

National Writers Union

Priorities for Copyright Reform: NWU has identified their priorities for copyright reform on behalf of US writers. These include the elimination of the registration requirement f0r filing a copyright infringement lawsuit or receiving statutory damages and attorneys fees; establishment of a copyright small claims tribunal; and reform of copyright law regarding reversion of rights.

Open Library: NWU has assembled some resources on Open Library, explaining what “controlled digital lending” (CDL) is and why it is detrimental to writers and visual artists. The resources include an FAQ on Controlled Digital Lending, initiated by the NWU and endorsed by an international coalition of creators of all types of written and visual works, and an in-depth explainer and video demonstrating CDL. If you discover your work on Open Library, without your permission, you can email them at with your opt-out and takedown request.

Orphan Works: NWU’s concerns with legislation to address orphan works were submitted in a comment letter to Senators Tillis and Leahy; the letter provides a good outline of what the issues are for creators. Additional resources on international orphan works and out-of-commerce works are:

Study on the Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity: NWU and SFFWA submitted comments to a Copyright Office inquiry on moral rights of attribution and integrity.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
About Our Speakers:
Working for free/paying to work:
Contests, crowdsourcing, and publishing platforms
illustration for crowdsourcing of creators being picked by a giant hand
Rafael Espinal (Freelancers Union): Executive Director of Freelancers Union Rafael Espinal was formerly the youngest member ever elected to the New York State Assembly. He has been a steadfast advocate for freelancer rights throughout his career and was an early supporter and a co-sponsor of the first-of-its-kind Freelance Isn’t Free legislation that passed in New York City in 2016.

Francesca Khalifa (Music Workers Alliance):  Italian- Egyptian pianist Francesca Khalifa is an active soloist and chamber musician who has performed extensively in Europe and in the United States. She has won numerous awards in both the United States and globally. She is an activist for gender, racial and cultural equity in the classical music world.

Rona Siddiqui (Dramatists Guild): Rona Siddiqui is an award-winning composer/lyricist based in NYC. Her autobiographical show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, was produced Off-Broadway in 2019. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, and the ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship.

Johnathon Strebly (International Council of Design): Designer Johnathon Strebly is the former Director of Creative Services for HCMA Architecture + Design in Vancouver, Canada. He currently serves as President of the International Council of Design. Prior to that, he was National Past President and National Ethics Chair of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and past President of the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators.


Michael Capobianco (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America): Writer Michael Capobianco has authored numerous works of science fiction, including four books co-authored with William Barton. He is a past President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and currently serves as their liaison to the Authors Coalition of America. He received the Service to SFWA Award in 2004.

Contracts and terms:
The unethical, the unenforceable, and the unavoidable
illustration for contract concept showing man overshadowed by a giant contract

Daniel Abraham (Graphic Artists Guild): A former professional illustrator, Daniel Abraham has served the creative community as a copyright attorney for over 30 years. As the Graphic Artists Guild’s Vice President for National Affairs, he successfully advocated to change US and California tax laws to benefit artists, and has submitted testimony to Congress, the Copyright Office, and two state legislatures.

Thomas Maddrey (American Society of Media Photographers): Thomas Maddrey serves as General Counsel and Head of National Content & Education for ASMP.  For more than a decade, he was a commercial and fine art photographer in his eponymous photography business Tom Maddrey Images. He also co-founded a fine art photography gallery in Dallas and created the Eclipse Photography Institute, dedicated to helping photographers learn about business and creative skills. He received is law degree from Southern Methodist University.

Ralph Sevush (Dramatists Guild) with the DG since 1997, is the Executive Director of Business Affairs & General Counsel, advising on legal and business matters related to theater, copyright, contracts, and free speech. An entertainment attorney (Cardozo, ’91), he was a director of business affairs on Broadway  and off-Broadway productions, as well as a published author and produced playwright.


Umair Kazi (Authors Guild): Umair Kazi is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Authors Guild, where he  guides the Guild’s policy agenda with respect to copyright legislation and administrative rulemaking, piracy, and collective bargaining rights for authors. He previously served as the Authors Guild’s Staff Attorney, where he counseled Guild members in a wide range of matters. His creative writing and translations have appeared in Pleiades, Inventory, Circumference, Guernica, Brooklyn Rail, and other literary journals.

Copyrights and Rights Grabs:
How your work is taken, and how you can protect your rights
illustration for rights grab showing business person fishing for a copyright

Rebecca Blake (Graphic Artists Guild): Rebecca Blake serves on the board of the Graphic Artists Guild as Advocacy Liaison. A graphic designer by trade, she works as Design Director at Optimum Design & Consulting, a small web- and identity-design firm in midtown Manhattan. She also serves on the board of the International Council of Design.

Edward Hasbrouck (National Writers Union) Travel writer Edward Hasbrouck is an award-winning journalist, author, and professional blogger. He has helped lead the NWU’s advocacy for writers’ rights and economic interests as Co-Chair of the Book Division of the NWU, as a member of the Authors Rights Expert Group of the International Federation of Journalists, and as a member of the board of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations representing creators of written work worldwide.

Stephen Doniger (American Photographic Artists): Stephen Doniger is a partner at Doniger Burroughs, a firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York that focuses on business disputes in general and intellectual property in particular, representing photographers, authors, fine artists, and clients in the marketing, fashion, entertainment, real estate and hospitality industries. He serves as counsel for the American Photographic Artists, and has been a featured speaker and contributing author for for a wide range of groups and publications.


Thomas Maddrey (American Society of Media Photographers) (see description in Panel 2 above)

About the Associations

American Photographic Artists, established in 1982, represents the interests of professional photographers, promotes the highest standards and ethics in the photographic and advertising community, provides educational resources, and fosters an environment conducive to achieving success in the industry.


American Society of Media Photographers, Inc. was established in 1944 to protect and promote the interests of professional photographers who earn their living by making photographs for publication, and it is the world’s leading organization of its kind.


The Authors Guild, Inc. which represents almost 8,000 published authors in many different genres, reviews members’ publishing and agency contracts, intervenes in publishing disputes and lobbies on behalf of all authors.


The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. is the only national professional association devoted to representing the interests of playwrights, composers and lyricists in the United States, and has over 6,000 members.

Freelancers Union logo

Freelancers Union is the largest and fast-growing organization representing the 56.7 million independent workers across the country. They provide their 500,000+ members a powerful support system and voice through policy advocacy, benefits, resources and community.


Graphic Artists Guild is a national trade association of illustrators, designers, production artists and other creatives who have come together to pursue common goals, raise industry standards, and improve the ability of visual creators to achieve rewarding careers.


International Council of Design (ICoD) is a world body for professional design, representing more than 120 organisations in 45 countries. Founded as Icograda in 1963, it is a non-profit, non- partisan, member- based network of independent organisations and stakeholders working within the multidisciplinary scope of design. The Council actively works to promote the value of design practice, thinking, education, research and policy.


Music Workers Alliance is an organization of, by, and for independent music workers. MWA’s shared purpose is to empower music workers, by engaging in collective action to create a community where music is valued financially and culturally, and music workers benefit and achieve dignity in our lives.


National Writers Union, the only union for freelance writers, advises members on contracts, represents members in grievances with the publishing industry and lobbies for legislation to strengthen authors’ rights in copyright and other laws.


Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. is charged with informing science fiction and fantasy writers on professional matters, protecting their interests, and helping them deal effectively with agents, editors, anthologists and producers in non-print media.