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Advocacy

Response Submitted to Copyright Office Reform Policy Proposal

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 31, 2017

House Judiciary Committee logo

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, released in early December, called for greater autonomy for the Copyright Office, the creation of an advisory committee, IT modernization, and the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal. The Guild welcomed the attention the policy proposal brought to reform of the Copyright Office.

In our response, the Coalition solidly supports the Judiciary Committee’s call for greater autonomy of the Copyright Office, providing that the Office’s statutory duties, such as providing counsel to Congress, are preserved. The Coalition also urges that modernization of the Office’s IT structure begin as quickly as possible, with technology solutions such as APIs built into a database structure so as to facilitate registration and copyright searches. In regard to the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal, the Coalition letter extended an in-depth discussion of the purpose and components of such legislation, drawing from a white paper the Coalition published last year.

Coalition signees to the letter include American Photographic Artists, American Society of Media Photographers, Digital Media Licensing Association, Graphic Artists Guild, National Press Photographers Association, North American Nature Photography Association, and Professional Photographers of America.

The Guild Signs on to Comment Letter on Group Registration of Photographs

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 31, 2017

Copyright Office logoIn conjunction with the Coalition of Visual Artists, the Graphic Artists Guild has signed on to a comment letter in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, “Group Registration of Photographs,” issued by the Copyright Office. In the Notice, the Copyright Office asked for feedback on proposed changes to the group registration of photographs. The letter submitted on behalf of the Coalition applauds the Copyright Office’s initiative in encouraging greater participation in the registration system by photographers, but raised concerns with some of the proposed changes. Of particular concern to Guild members, the letter raised issue with the exclusion of graphic artists from the group registration option.

In drafting the changes to the group registration of photographs, the Copyright Office is seeking to encourage copyright registration among photographers, streamline the registration process, and improve the recording of works by requiring digital deposits. However, graphic artists such as designers and illustrators are excluded from this option, despite the fact that these artists create works such as comps, sketches, and revisions that are delivered to clients and are ripe for infringement. The comment letter urges the Copyright Office to “offer a group registration category to all visual works.” It also points out that many visual works are mixed media, and that limiting the registration to still photography does not address how many artists work.

The comment letter addresses a number of other concerns with the proposed rulemaking, such as the limit of 750 photographs for the group registration (problematic for photographers, who often outstrip that number in the course of a single shoot), and the separate registration requirements for published and unpublished works.

The letter was submitted to the Copyright Office by Lisa Shaftel of Shaftel & Schmeltzer on behalf of the Coalition of Visual Artists. Signees to the letter include 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 Coalition, Shaftel & Schmeltzer, and Doniger / Burroughs

Photography Associations Need Input on Group Registrations

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 11, 2017

Our colleagues at American Society of Media Photographers, National Press Photographers Association, North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, and the PLUS Coalition are requesting input from professional photographers on their workflow and how they register their copyrights. The associations are responding to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) from the Copyright Office on group registrations. To formulate their response, they’ve posted a short survey (which you can fill out below, or on the SurveyMonkey website). The results will be used to inform their response to the NOPR.

If you work as a professional photographer, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey. Please ONLY respond if you work as a professional photographer. Survey results are due January 21. Please share this survey with your colleagues.

Create your own user feedback survey

Was Your Copyright Infringed Online? Copyright Alliance Survey Needs your Input

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 04, 2017

Copyright Alliance logoThe Copyright Office has sent out a request for additional information from stakeholders on DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) safe harbor provisions. The DMCA provides creators and copyright holders a means to request that Internet service providers remove their infringed work from websites, file sharing sites, etc. This request is part of an ongoing study that the Office is conducting. To formulate a clear response on behalf of creators, the Copyright Alliance is conducting a short online survey.

If your work has been infringed online, and you’ve responded with a DMCA take-down notice, please take the survey by February 16.

This Notice of Inquiry is the latest in a series of investigations that the Copyright Office and the House Judiciary Committee have been conducting into the DMCA process. A coalition of visual artists, of which the Guild is a member, submitted public comments to the Copyright Office’s previous Notice of Inquiry on the DMCA process in March of 2016. The Guild also testified at a Copyright Office roundtable discussion on the topic in April 2016. The Guild’s position is that the current DMCA take-down process is failing visual artists, who would be better served by a take down and stay down process, as well as by standardizing the take-down forms used by all ISPs.

We Need Your Voice on the next Register of Copyrights

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on December 30, 2016

Copyright Office logoThe Graphic Artists Guild needs the help of all visual artists, and all creators and copyright holders.

Here’s the deal: as you probably know, this October, the Librarian of Congress removed Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights, from her position. This move was unprecedented, and is a blow to the creative community. Throughout her tenure as Register of Copyrights, Pallante demonstrated her willingness to listen to the concerns of creatives, and her interest in revisiting copyright law and modernizing the Copyright Office so that it can better serve rights holders and users.

Now the Librarian of Congress has taken a second unprecedented move. Instead of conferring with members of Congress and stakeholders, she’s decided to post a Survey Monkey poll, asking the general public to weigh in on the “knowledge, skills, and abilities” the new Register should possess, and what the top three priorities should be.

This means that those who want to weaken copyright protection for creators will be able to weigh in, and influence the selection process. 

So we’re asking all visual artists, and all who rely on a strong copyright system, to respond to the Library of Congress’ survey. 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.

Below are survey responses you can cut-and-paste into the Library’s survey, or which you can use to base your own responses. (Thank you to ASMP, NPPA, and the Copyright Alliance for the original survey responses.)

Please share this message with your fellow creatives on social media, on your blogs, via email, etc. The Library is soliciting responses until January 31st. Let’s make sure our voice isn’t drowned out! #mycopyrightmatters #yourcopyrightmatters


Please cut-and-paste from the responses below, or use these as the basis for your own responses, and respond to the Library’s survey by January 31, 2017.


Model responses for LIbrary of Congress Survey on Register of Copyrights

1. What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities you believe are the most important for the Register of Copyrights?

The next Register of Copyrights must:
• be dedicated to both a robust copyright system and Copyright Office;
• recognize the important role that creators of copyrighted works play in promoting our nation’s financial well-being;
• have significant experience in, and a strong commitment to, the copyright law
•  have a substantial background in representing the interests of creators of copyright works;
•  possess a deep appreciation for the special challenges facing individual creators and small businesses in protecting their creative works.;
•  a keen understanding of, and a strong commitment to, preserving the longstanding and statutorily-based functions of the Copyright Office, especially its advising the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on domestic and international copyright issues; and
•  have the solid support of the copyright community.

2. What should be the top three priorities for the Register of Copyrights?

Priority #1: Continue the traditional and critical role of the Register as a forceful advocate for both a vibrant copyright system and a strong Copyright Office that works closely with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in promoting a strong and effective copyright law.

Priority #2:   A commitment to moving quickly to modernize the Copyright Office with a special focus on updating and making more affordable and simpler the registration and recordation processes.

Priority #3:  Working with Congress to achieve enactment of legislation creating a small claims process that finally provides individual creators with a viable means of protecting their creative efforts.

 3. Are there other factors that should be considered?

As a creative, I believe, to the extent possible, that the views of those whose works are protected by copyright law should be given greater weight in this survey than those who are not. It is also crucial that the views of the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, be given great deference in the selection of the next Register.

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