Was Your Copyright Infringed Online? Copyright Alliance Survey Needs your Input
Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 04, 2017
The 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
The 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.
First Policy Proposal from Judiciary Committee Hearings Released
Posted by Advocacy Liaison on December 08, 2016
Washington DC, Dec. 8, 2016
The Graphic Artists Guild welcomes the first policy proposal resulting from the Judicary Committee’s review of U.S. copyright law, released by House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (left) and Ranking Member John Conyers (right). The proposal hits upon many concerns raised by visual artists associations: the autonomy of the Copyright Office, modernization of the Office’s IT infrastructure, and copyright small claims reform.
The proposal addresses four major areas: the autonomy of the Copyright office and nomination process of the Register of Copyrights; creation of ad-hoc committees to advise the office on technological advances; IT modernization, including the “searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership information”; and the creation of a copyright small claims system to handle low-value copyright infringement cases.
Fairness for Small Creators Act Introduced
Posted by Advocacy Liaison on December 08, 2016
Washington DC, Dec. 8, 2016
The Graphic Artists Guild applauds the introduction of H.R. 6496, the “Fairness for Small Creators Act” introduced by Rep. Judy Chu [D-NY] and Rep. Lamar Smith [R-TX]. The bill seeks the establishment of a “small claims system within the Copyright Office,” which would provide individual creators an affordable avenue to enforce their copyrights. Small rights holders, such as illustrators, graphic designers, and other visual artists, find the cost of the current system is prohibitively expensive, and are deterred from enforcing their copyrights. This is occuring as online distribution channels and technologies have facilitated rampant infringement of visual works, and as visual artists see income from licensing plummet.
The establishment of a small claims system could go far to redress this situation. H.R. 6496 is the second bill to be introduced which proposes a copyright small claims solution. In July of this year, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries [D-NY] and Rep. Tom Marino [R-PA] introduced H.R. 5757, “The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016”. We look forward to working with members of Congress in seeing coypright small claims legislation enacted.
Working with a coalition of visual artist organizations, the Graphic Artists Guild has long advocated for small claims legislation. In a white paper released earlier this year, the coalition recommended the establishment of a copyright small claims tribunal consistent with “Copyright Small Claims,” a report issued by the Copyright Office in September 2013. Coalition members include American Photographic Artists (APA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA).
Judge Dismisses Photographer’s $1 Billion Case Against Getty Images
Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 25, 2016
Earlier, we reported on the lawsuit brought by photographer Carol Highsmith against Getty Images and other parties when she discovered they were invoicing users of her photographs, which she had put into the public domain. Getty Images and another stock agency, Alamy, were licensing photographs taken by Highsmith, which she had put into the public domain in an agreement with US Library of Congress. Highsmith became aware that Getty and Alamay were licensing her photographs when she received an invoice from License Compliance Services on behalf of Alamy, accompanied by a letter claiming she was using the images without their permission.
Highsmith sued Getty and Alamy for $1 billion, stating that since Getty is a repeat offender in copyright violation, statutory damages should be trebled. The defendant’s legal counsel pointed out, however, that the plaintiffs were conflating copyrights with rights management. Since Highsmith had placed her photographs in the public domain, both Getty and Alamy are legally permitted to license the images, and Highsmith has no copyrights to assert on those images. (Public domain works may be commercialized, as in the Dover Publications Design Library collections of public domain clip art and images.)
Highsmith did not sue for copyright infringement, but rather for violation of provisions the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. According to Lexology, Highsmith’s lawsuit made three major allegations — that Getty, Alamy, and the co-defendants:
1) violated a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which forbids the alteration or removal of copyright management information (17 U.S.C. § 1202) Highsmith’s agreement with the Library of Congress stated that her credit line must be included with any use of her images. Getty and Alamy altered or removed Highsmith’s credit line, and added their own watermarks and credit lines);
2) engaged in false advertising under the Lanham Act by implying that they were working on concert with Highsmith;
3) similarly, violated New York General Business Law § 349, which forbids businesses from engaging in “deceptive acts or practices.”
On October 17, the judge presiding in the case, US District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, indicated that he was considering dismissing a number of Highsmith’s claims. According to Law360, the October 17 hearing largely focused on the claims relative to the New York General Business Law, indicating that the judge had already come to a decision on the other claims. In fact, on October 28, the judge dismissed all of Highsmith’s claims except those related to the New York General Business Law.
That left Highsmith’s lawsuit severely weakened. On November 16, the parties settled over the remaining New York State claims. (The terms of that settlement have not been disclosed.) The judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that Highsmith is forbidden from filing another lawsuit on these grounds.
Below: Highsmith’s public domain image, which Alamay invoiced her for.
Credit: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Previous Page Next Page
How to Start your Very Own Communication Design Business!
Enter your email address below to receive a FREE download of "Starting Your Own Communication Design Business" written by Lara Kisielewska.
By signing up you will receive our monthly newsletter and occasional e-mails about our advocacy work. You will have the option to opt out at any time.
Looking to keep up with industry trends and techniques?
Taking your creative career to the next level means you need to be up on a myriad of topics. And as good as your art school education may have been, chances are there are gaps in your education. The Guild’s professional monthly webinar series, Webinar Wednesdays, can help take you to the next level.
Members can join the live webinars for FREE - as part of your benefits of membership! Non-members can join the live webinars for $45.
Visit our webinar archive page, purchase the webinar of your choice for $35 and watch it any time that works for you.