Animations Educate on Copyright Ownership and Registration
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 28, 2016
Guild member and illustrator/animator Mark Monlux has given us permission to post two animations he created covering copyright basics. Copyright & You — Defining Copyright Ownership teaches that artists who sell their original paintings do not transfer the copyrights to those paintings, and encourage artists to provide provenance in writing. The second animation, Copyright and You – Having vs Registering, outlines the additional legal protection registering copyrights affords creators. Both animations have been posted with full transcripts to our Tools and Resources pages.
The cartoons use Monlux’s whiteboard animation technique, which he employs for organizational and corporate clients (in addition to his advertising and editorial illustration, and sketchnoting). They were created as a public service announcement in collaboration with the Tacoma Artists Intitiative Program. Monlux served many years on the Guild's Executive Committee, and is recognized for his knowledge of copyright law and good trade practices for illustrators.
Below: screenshots from “Defining Copyright Ownership” (left), and “Having vs. Registering.”
© Mark Monlux.
Katie Lane’s Low-down on Work-for-Hire versus Assigning Your Copyrights
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 21, 2016
Attorney Katie Lane recently addressed a question she often hears from her creative clients: what’s the difference between work-for-hire and assigning copyrights? Work-for-hire is a term which is frequently misunderstood, and confused with an all-rights buyout. Lane explains that a work-for-hire agreement means the client owns the copyright to whatever the artist creates: “From the very moment the thing is created, it’s owned by the client or your employer.” In contrast, when an artist assigns the copyright, the artist owns the copyright, and is selling that copyright to the client.
Lane further explains that for a work to qualify as work-for-hire, it has to either be created by an employee within the scope of that individual’s job (in which case the copyright belongs to the employer or firm), or it must meet one of nine categories, such as contributing to a collective work. Lane also points out that the agreement between the artist and client must stipulate that the work is work-for-hire.
Lane concludes by cautioning artists on the real limits work-for-hire agreements place on artists, such as prohibiting them from displaying the work in their portfolios. If a contract stipulates a project is work-for-hire, and the artist thinks it may not meet one of the nine qualifications, Lane’s advice is to negotiate before signing to see if the terms can be changed to assigning copyrights.
Lane’s full article, Work for Hire or Copyright Assignment?, can be read on her blog. The Work Made for Hire blog features articles written from a legal perspective for creatives, and includes tips on negotiating, reading contracts, and a comprehensive article on orphan works.
Illustration of Katie Lane © Dylan Meconis 2016. Used with permission.
Graphic Means: Film Project Explores Pre-Digital Design Production
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 18, 2016
A film trailer released in early March has received a lot of attention, particularly among designers of a certain age (and with the Xacto knife scars to show). The trailer is for a film currently in production: Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production. The film is the labor of love of designer and educator Briar Lovit, and explores the pre-digital era of graphic design, when design tools included T-squares, Letraset, amberlith, and a good relationship with a typesetting studio. Recently, Lovit talked with us about how the project came about.
Lovit never intended to produce a film. Her background is in book design, and she came of age as a designer in the mid-1990s, well after design schools had migrated their programs to be primarily digital. However, as she collected old design manuals from the 1970s and 80s – Lovit is an avid thrift shopper – she became fascinated by the step-by-step processes described in the books. Doug Wilson’s film Linotype gave her the inspiration to pursue a film about pre-digital design production. (Wilson is more than just a role model; he’s been actively mentoring her on the Graphic Means film.)
The timing is perfect for such a film. The revolution from manual production to digital design is fairly recent, and many of the people who made the transition are still around. She’s pulled together an impressive list of interviewees for the film, luminaries such as Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland (creator of the iconic peace sign), and James Craig (author of Designing with Type). But what will give the film texture and weight are the unsung production heros she dug up: Gene Gable, who for many years ran the pre-press trade show Seybold Seminars; Frank Romano, the design historian and former editor of International Paper Pocket Pro (an indispensible resource for designers preparing print files); and a group of former cold typesetters in New York City, among others.
While young designers will be amused by the unrecognizable artifacts of a bygone era, Lovit feels there’s a larger story about how the creative process has been altered, and not necessarily for the good. She by no means rejects the ease that digital tools bring to design. However, as she put it, there has been a loss in contemplation, and inexperienced designers skip steps to rush to a final product. In her design classes (Lovit is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State), she asks her students to ideate on paper before proceeding to the computer. The skill and labor that the manual techniques required, from creating comps on board to preparing color separations with amberlith film, meant that designers had to make much more deliberate, well-considered choices – something she hopes to impart to her students.
The film got its initial funding through a successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised one quarter of the total budget required for completion. Currently the film is in post-production, and Lovit is enjoying the collaborative process with Dawn Jones Redstone, her director of photography, and editor Emily VonW. Gilbert. She’s also been getting a lot of positive press, and was invited to run a session at the Portland Design Week on April 20th. Participants will be able to view “live paste-up demos” (mechanical artists would roll their eyes), rub their own Letraset letters, and view the Graphic Means trailer. Lovit is also actively fundraising, in part by selling calendars, buttons, and a pre-order for the film’s DVD off the film’s online shop.
Vox Indie on Google’s Roadblocks to the DMCA Takedown Process
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 15, 2016
Independent filmmaker Ellen Siedler has long been criticizing Google for its anemic efforts in combating piracy. In one of her recent posts on her blog, Vox Indie, she explored the process Google employs for those wishing to report copyright infringement via Google’s DMCA takedown notice (“Why does Google make it so damn difficult to send a DMCA notice?”). The results were astounding: instead of a simple contact form or link, as is provided by websites such as Vimeo, Google provides a baffling nine-step report process. Siedler charted her findings in an infographic she titled “Google’s DMCA Takedown Maze.”
Siedler’s conclusion is that Google is willfully making the takedown process combursome. She summarized her findings (quoted from her article):
“Google doesn’t provide the email address of its designated DMCA agent (as required by law).
Google requires users to send takedown requests via online forms.
Google makes finding the correct form a laborious 9 step process.
Once the correct form is found, Google requires DMCA senders to login to a Google account.
Google doesn’t provide clear URL on pirated files forcing rights holders to drill down further into the abyss to find the correct URL to report the pirated file.”
Below: Siedler’s infographic charts Google’s DMCA Takedown process.
© Ellen Siedler. Used with permission.
Deadline on Survey on DMCA Notice Extended to March 20
Posted by Advocacy Liaison on March 11, 2016
We recently requested graphic artists to respond to survey put out by the Guild and other associations. The purpose of this survey is to gather information about infringement of copyrighted images on the internet, as well as the effective use of the DMCA take-down notice. The deadline for survey responses has been extended to midnight, March 20th.
The United States Copyright Office (USCO) is conducting a public study to evaluate the effectiveness of a provision of the Copyright Act that provides Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with relief from legal action and monetary damages if they remove infringing copyrighted content expeditiously after notice.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Section 512 established a system for copyright owners and online entities to address online infringement. The legislation intended for copyright owners and ISPs to cooperate to detect and address copyright infringements and to remove the infringing content.
This is commonly referred to as the “Notice and Take Down” provision of the DMCA.
Copyright owners are required to send a proper notice to an ISP’s registered agent that identifies the infringing content on a particular URL and state that the use is infringing. The responsibility is on the copyright owner or its representative to identify each infringing use and send a new notice each time a work is displayed without permission.
The associations listed below will file a comment letter for this study, due on March 21, 2016. We are conducting this survey to gather information about your experiences. This is your opportunity to engage in advocacy to benefit all American creators.
This survey will close at midnight on Monday, March 21, 2016.
Thank you for your time and participation!
American Photographic Artists
American Society of Media Photographers
Digital Media Licensing Association
Graphic Artists Guild
National Press Photographers Association
North American Nature Photography Association
Professional Photographers of America
PLUS (The Picture Licensing Universal System)
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