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The Guild Joins Visual Artists for a December Lobbying Visit

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on December 08, 2017

​On December 4-5, the Guild joined our Coalition of Visual Artists for a trip to Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of graphic artists in support of the CASE Act.  The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act was introduced by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and  Tom Marino (R-PA) in October. The Act creates a Copyright Claims Board to oversee small copyright cases in a process that for copyright holders is faster, less expensive, and simpler than the current system. While the Act has had wide bipartisan support – five co-sponsors across party lines – the Guild and Coalition members are encouraging additional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill.

The Guild joined counsel and members of the photography associations ASMP, NANPA, NPPA, PPA, and APA, as well as Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, in meeting with the staffs of a number of representatives. To make the case for the CASE Act, we focused our comments on an explanation of how the very means by which graphic artists generate publicity and find new clients — online portfolios — is rampantly infringed. We also explained that with a majority of lawyers declining to take copyright infringement cases with a potential outcome of under $30,000, individual graphic artists are often left limited options when their copyrights are infringed.

The Guild will continue to lobby on behalf of the legislation, and as it works its way through committee, will work to ensure that the interests of graphic artists are reflected in the bill. We’re also asking creators to contact their representative and ask him or her to consider co-sponsoring the bill. An action portal on copyrightdefense.com has been set up for individuals to find the contact information for their representative; a sample email and telephone script have been provided.

Below: A view of the Capitol from outside the Rayburn Office Building, which houses the offices of Representatives.

Rayburn Office Building and the Capitol

Guild Responds to Copyright Office Request on Group Registrations

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on December 01, 2017

Copyright Office logoThe Graphic Artists Guild has submitted a response to a proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office on Group Registrations of Unpublished Works. Currently, graphic artists do not have a group registration option; among visual artists, only photographers have a group registration option, and that is only for published photos. The Guild has advocated for extending a group registration option to other works of visual arts.

The proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office establishes a new group registration option for unpublished works: up to five works may be submitted for the group registrations; all works must have the same author or joint authors; and each work must be published in the same administrative class (for example, works of the visual arts, works of the performing arts, literary works, etc.). 

Notably, the group registration option will replace the current “unpublished collection” option. In its notice in the Federal Register, the Office states that the unpublished collection option is “ineffective” since it permits the registration of an unlimited number of works, whereas a more limited option would permit the Office to more easily examine each submission for its ability to be copyrighted, resulting in a better record and more efficient system.

In our response, the Guild welcomed the extension of a group registration option for graphic works. However, we raised a number of concerns with the proposed rulemaking, notably that limiting group registration to just five individual works is unfeasible for graphic artists, who often generate a greater number of works (sketches, revisions, alternate versions) 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 since, in a digital age, the distinction between “published” and “unpublished” is often confused. 

What To Do If You Think Your Client’s WordPress Site’s Been Hacked

Posted by Guest on November 21, 2017

By Bud Kraus

The frantic email, text, or call always comes at a bad time. Your client thinks their site's been hacked. What are you going to do?

Step 1:

Take a deep breath — even if you've done this before — and then head straight to the Sucuri Site Scanner, put your web address into the box, and hit the “Scan Website” button. Let the smart Sucuri people analyze your site. They'll let you know if there is a problem and if so, its likely cause.  

Sucuri warning screen

If you get a result like this, then it's "Houston, we have a problem."

In this case, the site is being blacklisted from search engines and other sites because, in all likelihood, it has been compromised. Further investigation may turn up any or all of these issues:

1. Brute Force Attack: An illegal entry into your WordPress Admin.
2. File Inclusion Exploits: A method to compromise your wp-config.php, a mission-critical file in every WordPress site
3.  MySQL Injection: Damage to or destruction of a database where data is maliciously added or removed.
4. Cross-site Scripting (XSS): Presents as a danger to your site's users.
5. Malware: Malicious code that is being used on your site.

How you resolve the problem(s) depends upon the nature of the problem, your skills and/or the co-operation you will get from the web hosting company. You may also need to hire an outside service, like Sucuri, to clean up the mess. They may recommend the use of a firewall for the site.

But wait — there's a step before Step 1.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is not just a trite expression. In the business of keeping WordPress sites safer, it's true. At minimum, keeping WordPress software up-to-date is a must. Understanding how versions work with any WordPress software is easy, so keep this in mind:

1. If any update has two digits, like 4.9, that means it's a major update. New features will be introduced, as well as bug fixes or security patches.

2. If any update has three digits, like 4.9.1, this means no new features will be introduced. Three digit updates include only bug fixes and security patches.

WordPress software comes in three types, all of which need to be kept current:

1. WordPress Core Updates: Major (two-digit) updates are usually available two or three times per year. Three-digit updates occur on a more regular basis. Most web hosts will automatically do three-digit updates for you. The two-digit update is something you usually need to do on your own.

2. Theme Updates: Theme developers occasionally update their software. This may occur when WordPress itself is updated, but not necessarily; the two- and three-digit system applies for these updates as well. If you change your theme's coding, always make sure to create a Child Theme. That way, your customizations will not be lost when your theme is updated.

3. Plugin Updates: These can occur on a very regular basis. Again, you'll know what kind of update it is by noting if it's two or three digits. Good plugin developers frequently update their plugins.

Keeping Track Of The Updates

If you regularly log into a WordPress site it's easy to tell what needs to be updated. If not, I recommend using the WP Updates Notifier plugin. You will get email that lets you know if WordPress, your theme, or any plugins need to be updated. Ignore that email at your own peril! (Note: If you manage many sites, consider using ManageWP, which lets you update software from one c-Panel.)

Security Is A Shared Responsibility

Keeping software up to date is just part of the precautions you need to take to keep a site safe and in good working order. The web host also has a role to play. Have they added SSL to your domain? (You can request this and it's free in most cases). Are they using current versions of software, such as PHP? (7.0). Is the web host using a shared hosting plan? If so, that’s not nearly as secure as a Virtual Private Server.  

In your contract with a client it should be clearly stipulated that you are to be held harmless and without liability if a site were to go down for any reason beyond your control. This includes sites you currently work on or maintain, as well as sites you no longer have responsibility for. In all cases, consult an attorney to help protect yourself from legal liability.


Bud Kraus has been teaching the fundamentals of web design for thousands of students at Pratt Institute, the Fashion Institute of Technology and for his private students for 20 years. 

Besides teaching Bud works with individuals and small businesses developing their WordPress sites.

His free WordPress A To Z Series is for beginners or if a re-fresher course is needed. Get access to all his videos at https://joyofwp.com/courses/free-tutorials-course-to-learn-wordpress/.

Questions? email Bud at: bud@joyofwp.com

Montreal Design Declaration: “All People Deserve to Live in a Well-Designed World”

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 14, 2017

Montreal Design DeclarationOn October 24, representatives from 14 international associations of designers, architects, urban planners, and landscape architects signed the Montreal Design Declaration. The signing took place at the conclusion of the first ever international Design Summit Meeting, and in the presence of representatives from three UN agencies: UNESCO, UN-Habitat, and UN Environment. The 14 international associations, along with four other design organizations, collaborated on the call to action. Collectively, over 600 national entities – design organizations, educational institutions, and design promotional centers — from 89 different countries were represented by the Declaration signers. (The Guild, as a member of ico-D, is represented on the Design Declaration.)

The Declaration challenges designers, educators, governments, and the private sector to work collaboratively in creating a world that is “environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially equitable, and culturally diverse.” To reach this goal, the Declaration proposed 20 projects, from developing metrics to evaluate the impact of design, to fostering support and funding for design research and education, to showing the role of design in enhancing and celebrating cultural diversity.

The final project proposed by the Declaration is “Generate support for a world design agenda through distribution and statements of support for the Montréal Design Declaration.” To that end, designers are encouraged to download the Declaration, read it, and share it with their colleagues and contacts. The Montréal Design Declaration can be downloaded from their website. You can also like and share their Facebook page.

From Design Certification to National Design Policies

Posted by Guest on October 30, 2017

 ico-D Platform Meeting and World Design Congress

International Council of Design (ico-D) is an international organization of graphic arts associations; their annual Platform Meeting took place October 13 and 14 in Montréal, Canada this year, and as in previous years Rebecca Blake represented the Guild and participated as the National Design Policy workgroup lead. The Platform Meetings are organized for the international members of ico-D’s Education Platform (design educational institutions and programs) and Professional Platform (design associations) to review presentations and discuss issues of concern to designers and design educators. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet with one’s peers and gain an international perspective on common issues.

This year’s Platform Meetings kicked off with presentations by RGD (Association of Registered Graphic Designers), GDC (Graphic Designers of Canada), and Chartered Society of Designers. Each association conducts a robust certification program for designers, unique in how the qualifications and knowledge base of the participating designers is evaluated. The subsequent discussion between Hilary Ashworth of RGD and Jonathon Strebly of GDC was particularly illuminating. The two associations, both based in Canada, conduct certification programs and in the past have had a competitive and at times rancorous relationship. The discussion focused on how the two associations seek to best to serve professional designers in Canada.

Design certification and national design policy presentations

Food for thought: Jonathon Strebly describes the mission of GDC’s designer certification program (left), while Sami Niemäla asks a provocative question raised by Finland’s successful national design policy.

Another presentation that stood out was from the INDIGO, the Indigenous Design Network. In fact, one of INDIGO’s ambassadors, Elly Chatfield, initiated a new ritual for ico-D meetings. As a member of the Kamilaroi people of Australia, Chatfield opened the meeting with an Acknowledgment of Country rite, honoring the first people of Montréal and Québec. Russell Kennedy and Meghan Kelly from Deakin University in Australia reported on INDIGO’s activities and on their flagship project, the International Indigenous Design Charter, which was launched six days later at the World Design Congress. The International Charter will build on the existing Australian Indigenous Design Charter, and be a best practices guide for designers on using indigenous design and imagery accurately and respectfully. (A full interview of Kennedy and Kelly can be read on the ico-D website.)

For the Guild, the half-day session on National Design Policy (NDP) culminated three years of heading the NDP workgroup for ico-D. (A report on the NDP workgroup can be read on our website.) Members of the workgroup and invited speakers covered design policies from inception to full evolution and evaluation. Zachary Haris Ong from Malaysia and ZInna Nizar from Indonesia covered the first stop-and-go steps in getting an NDP initiated in their countries. (The task can be daunting; in Indonesia, as Nizar reported, design is not recognized as a profession, and designers are prohibited from charging for any services that don’t yield tangible outcome, such as a printed piece.) Bradley Schott and Peter Florentzos spoke on the stalled attempt at an Australian NDP, and a revamp of a regional design policy in Queensland.

national design policy

The NDP presenters represented a broad range of countries: (left to right) Tyra von Zweibergk (Sweden), Sami Niemäla (Finland), Bradley Schott (Australia), Don Ryun Chang (South Korea), Zinnia Niza (Indonesia), Kelvin Tan (SIngapore), Rebecca Blake (USA – Graphic Artists Guild representative to ico-D), Zachary Haris Ong (Malaysia), and Peter Florentzos (Australia).

On the side of fully realized NDPs, Tyra von Zweibergk (Sweden), Sami Niemäla (Finland), Kelvin Tan (Singapore), and Don Ryun Chang (South Korea) discussed their countries’ NDPs. The discussions illuminated how much political, economic, and even cultural differences shade the structure and execution of the policies. In fact, Niemäla’s presentation made the startling supposition that the function of a design policy is to make itself irrelevant. From his report, the NDP in Finland was so successful, with public awareness of design and with the design thinking so well integrated into the private and public sector, that Finland has scrapped plans to create a national design center. 

As with the INDIGO presentation, the NDP presentation was reprised for the World Design Congress later in the week. However, because of the limited time allotted, we focused on a guided Q&A conducted by Alisha Piercy, Communications Officer of ico-D. Ong, Florentzos, and Tan were joined by Mariano Alesandro of INDEX: Design to Improve Life in Denmark, and Arlene Gould from DIAC (Design Industry Advisory Committee) in Ontario, Canada. Alesandro spoke from the perspective of yet another highly evolved NDP from a Nordic state, while Gould represented the point of view from a country making its’ first steps towards an NDP. The audience included a mix of designers, policy makers, and educators. We were particularly delighted to entertain a question from Dori Tunstall; Tunstall led a US-based initiative on NDP in 2008-2010, which, while unsuccessful, yielded interesting insights into the US political structure and character, and how that influences our design sector.

Below: Zacharay Haris Ong and Rebecca Blake at the outset of the NDP presentation at the World Design Congress. 

World Design Congress

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