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Copyright Office Announces New Fee Schedule for Online Registration

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 26, 2014

Copyright Office logoThe Copyright Office has announced a new fee schedule for the online registration of works. Starting May 1st, standard online registrations will be raised from $35 to $55. However, the office is introducing a new streamlined option for single works by single authors, which have not been made for hire. (For a definition of Work for Hire, check our Contract Glossary.) The Single application process will only cost $35.

Upon registering their work, registrants will be asked a series of three questions which will determine whether they should use the Standard or the Single application process. Note that websites may not be registered with the streamlined option. Other categories of work which are excluded are: collective works, unpublished collections, units of publication, group registration options, databases, works by more than one author, and works with more than one owner.

Here’s the full text of the Copyright Office notice:

Copyright Office Announces New Fee Schedule; First Since 2009

The U.S. Copyright Office is announcing a new fee schedule covering registration, recordation, and related services; special services; Licensing Division services; and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) services. These fees will take effect on May 1, 2014. The final rule establishing the new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register today and is available at www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2014/79fr15910.pdf.

This new fee schedule is the product of a multiyear process of studying current Copyright Office fees, evaluating the Office’s budget requirements, and considering public comments. While a number of fees, including the fee for standard registrations, have increased to permit the Office to more fully recoup its expenses, some fees have decreased and others remain the same. The Office has also instituted a separate, lower fee for single-author, single-work registration claims. For more information, go to http://www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees.

The Unvarnished Truth: Susie Cagle on a Freelance Career

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 25, 2014

self portrait © Susie CagleAt first glance, writer and cartoonist Susie Cagle looks as if she’s swimming in success. A graduate with a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University, her recent work includes such prestigious clients as Wired, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and McSweeneys. She’s appeared in radio and TV spots, and her work has been featured on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, Print Magazine, and the Washington Post. People with “regular” staff jobs often tell her they envy her lifestyle. Yet, as Cagle describes it, “they then break eye contact when I tell them how much I am paid.”

In “Eight Years of Solitude: On freelance labor, journalism, and survival,” Cagle gives an unsentimental look at her career as an independent journalist and cartoonist. Her career has followed a trajectory similar to that of many capable and well-educated journalists: a Master’s degree, unsuccessful applications to entry level positions and unpaid internships, blogging assignments for $10 an hour, and a brief stint as a staff writer for a real estate blog before being laid off.

To distinguish herself from a glut other out-of-work journalists, Cagle taught herself to cartoon. The additional skill gave a boost to her bank account – a small illustration could earn as much as a 2,000 word story on a major news site. While her unusual skill set attracted notice (and requests for free work in exchange for “exposure”), she discovered that her talent in illustration devalued her legitimacy as a journalist.  She also discovered the huge disconnect between publicity and income, earning less than $20,000 in the year in which she had the most exposure on TV, radio, and in print. (Check out Tim Kreider’s beautiful summation of the value of “exposure” to a working illustrator.)

Cagle now finds herself on a treadmill of underpaid work: “I’m terrified that if I don’t publish an article one week, I might be forgotten altogether, losing out on the hypothetical opportunities I’ve been working toward for the better part of these last eight years.” It’s a bleak assessment of the freelance world, but one that rings true.

Top right: self portrait © Susie Cagle. Used with permission of the artist.

Brought to our attention by @ColleenDoran

Happy 25th Birthday, World Wide Web!

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 17, 2014

Web at 25 logoMarch 12th was the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web, and the anniversary is being marked with events and well wishes from world leaders, innovators, philanthropists, and ordinary folk. To mark the occasion, the World Wide Web Consortium and the World Wide Web Foundation have created Webat25.org. Visitors can view message from Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, leave a happy birthday message, read little-known facts and a brief history of the Web, and bookmark a calendar of events.

The Web was first proposed by Berners-Lee in March of 1989, as an “information management system” while working as a consultant at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The proposal intended to address the loss of information which occurred as the complex systems were developed at CERN. His vision was radical, a linked information system that would provide a “web” of notes, rather than a traditional fixed, hierarchical structure was quite radical at the time. His proposal wasn’t accepted but with the encouragement of his supervisor, Berners-Lee continued to work on his concept, coining the term “World Wide Web” for the project. (Earlier monikers included “Information Mesh” and “Mine of Information.”) By 1990, with the collaboration of other key innovators, he developed the first iteration of the Web, complete with HTML, URLs, and a browser.

Celebrations of the anniversary culminate with a symposium on the Web’s future on October 29th in Santa Clara. Berners-Lee is taking the anniversary as an opportunity to position global access to the Web as a basic human right, calling for a digital bill of rights. The World Wide Web Foundation has coordinated a Web We Want campaign to build support for “people’s online rights to a free, open and truly global web protected by law in every country.” The campaign solicits feedback from the public, offering small grants for anniversary events which will engage people in discussing and debating the Web’s future.

Getty Image Embed: A Murky Future

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 11, 2014

Stock image giant Getty Images announced this month that the company was making 35 million images free for non-commercial use via their image embed technology. The selected images are indentified on the stock site with a “</>” icon. Clicking on the symbol yields a snippet of code which can be copied into the source code of a website or blog, causing the unwatermarked image to appear on the  page. As reported in the British Journal of Photography, Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty, states that the step was taken in recognition of the widespread infringement of their licensed images: “What we’re finding is that the vast majority of infringement in this space happens with self-publishers who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing, and simply don’t have any budget to support their content needs.”

The embedded images include Getty’s logo, the photographer’s credit, and social media sharing links which appear underneath the image area. The image links back to the image page on Getty’s site, with information on licensing a higher resolution copy of the image. The technology used to embed the image, deploying iframes, prevents users from changing the image size, and also restricts the images from being fully responsive. (When image embed was first announced, users realized they could in fact crop out the credit line and Getty logo, but Getty quickly altered the code to prevent this.) According to Peters, by making a large library of images available for legal sharing, Getty hopes to benefit their “content creators.”

However, looking at Getty’s terms of use raises questions about Getty’s plans to monetize the image embed player. As Pat David reported in PetaPixel, the embed player iframe element will permit Getty to load any content into the user’s webpage. Although Getty claims to not have any plans in the works to monetize the embed feature, their terms of use reserve that right: “Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.” Joshua Benton on the Nieman Journalism Lab speculates that Getty could gather data from the embedded images to target ads to specific websites.

Additionally, Getty contributors – photographers and illustrators who participate on the site – do not have the option to opt out of the image embed program. (Getty is withholding their premium Reportage and Contour from the program.) Wired speculates that with careful planning, the embed program could yield better compensation to Getty’s photographers or illustrators – or could fail miserably. Either way, it’s easy to envision that one repercussion of the program will be the continued devaluation of visual works as “content” which should be free.

New Guild Member Benefit: Tutorials by Joseph Caserto

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 06, 2014

Joseph Caserto tutorial on UDEMYGuild member Joseph Caserto teaches a variety of courses relevant to illustrators and designers through the online portal, Udemy. He’s offering his full range of classes to Guild members at a generous discount. The coursework covers topics for creatives at all skill levels, from Adobe Digital Publishing Suite for Beginners, through InDesign TurboChargers and Create Your Own iPad and Android Publications. Guild members may access the discount code by logging into the Guild website (login area on the upper right), and visiting the Professional Discounts: Workshops & Classes page. Please note that the discount is only extended to Joseph Caserto’s classes on the Udemy website.

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