Questions about Copyright Registration? Answers from the Copyright Office!
Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 10, 2016
Earlier this year, the Copyright Alliance solicited questions from creators on the copyright registration process. They’ve launched a Copyright Q&A column to roll out the questions and answers. Even better, the answers have come from the most reliable source you could hope for: Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the Copyright Office. The column covers a decent range of questions, from basic requests on which procedures to follow to expedite a registration, to more targeted questions on public domain images, derivative works, and specific terminology.
The column is well worth scanning. It not only provides practical advice on the application process, it also corrects some common misunderstandings. For example, more than one question asked whether works registered as a group would be entitled to separate statutory damages. Kausic clarifies that the Copyright Office’s position is that only derivative works and compilations should be limited to one award of statutory damages; works otherwise registered as a group would be entitled to separate awards (a boon for prolific visual artists).
Other Q&As germane to illustrators cover works which incorporate public domain images, how much an image must be altered to be considered a derivative work, and what constitutes a publication date. (Here’s a hint: posting to Facebook does not count as a publication.) To read through the Copyright Q&A, visit the Alliance’s blog.
NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act Hopes to Redress Non-Payment
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 26, 2016
In December of last year, New York City Councilman Brad Lander introduced 1017-A, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. The act has been championed by the Freelancers Union and founder Sara Horowitz, who launched a campaign to support and publicize the bill. An Op-Ed penned by Lander and Horowitz outlined the travails facing New York City freelancers: “more than 70% of gig workers in NYC report having been cheated out of payments, paid many months late, or paid less than they were owed. On average, these workers were stiffed out of $6,000 each year.” Freelancer are deterred from taking legal action by the high cost of lawyer’s fees, and by the financial hardship incurred by late payment. According to the op-ed, companies gamble on the chance that legal action won’t be taken, or offer a smaller payment to a freelancer desperate for funds.
The bill attempts to address non- and late payment by requiring anyone hiring a freelancer to provide a written contract describing the work to be done and payment terms. It also requires that full payment be made with 30 days of completion of the work, or from the payment due date stipulated on the contract. To address the difficulty freelancers face in affording legal action, penalties could include double damages, attorney’s fees, and civil penalties.
At a hearing on April 22, council members listened to testimony from over a dozen freelancers, from writers to graphic artists to consultants. Representatives from the Department of Consumer Affairs also attended, and while lauding the bill, expressed concerns that written contracts won’t forestall claims of non-delivery of or sub-standard services. In general, support for the bill seems to be strong. The Freelancers Union can take credit for conducting an effective and creative PR campaign. For example, on March 28, they published a “World’s Longest Invoice” webpage, with a counter that totals the amount freelancers are submitting as owed. By 4 p.m. that day, the total had reached over $388,000.
The Graphic Artist Guild is a partner of the Freelancers Union, and supports the Freelance Isn’t Free bill.
(Below) In the Freelancers Union video, branding consultant Whitney Meers summarizes her support for the bill: “I support the Freelance Isn’t Free Campaign because nonpayment is theft.”
Adobe Design Achievement Awards Strive to Prepare Students for the Real World
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 12, 2016
Adobe’s annual contest of student work, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, is in full swing, with students entering to meet the June 19 deadline. Adobe partners with ico-D, the International Association of Design, in producing a unique competition that strives to assist registrants in navigating the transition from student to full professional. A full slate of benefits and prizes reinforces the educational aspect of the competition:
- All registrants are eligible to be chosen for a mentorship with a creative professional, and are subscribed to tips emails from 99U, as well as the 99U Quarterly print magazine.
- Semifinalists are also invited to join the online ADAA community, attend for free an Adobe Career Bootcamp, have their entries appear in the ADAA live gallery, and can display ADAA online badge on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
- Finalists additionally receive comments on their work from the judges, are invited to partnered events with local design firms, will be nominated for three years for an Adobe Creative Residency, receive a one-year subscription (or extension) to Adobe Creative Cloud, and have their work appear permanently in the ADAA Showcase.
- Winners have their expenses (travel, hotel, and conference pass) paid for a trip to San Diego to attend Adobe MAX: The Creativity Conference, and receive a trophy.
The ico-D Mentorship Program is uniquely geared to assisting students in bridging the career gap. Mentors select students from all ADAA entrants for either a portfolio review or a mentorship. The mentorship is described as a 5-5-5 – five virtual meetings (online or by telephone), over five months, devised to address five predetermined goals that will either improve the student’s design skills, or assist the student in launching a career. Since mentors are pulled from ico-D and Adobe’s global networks, they represent a broad range of professional activity and locations.
Students are encouraged to enter up to three examples of existing work in different categories, from fine art, to commercial, to social impact. (That last category reflects ico-D and the design community’s concern with sustainability, and encompasses work created for social or environmental causes.) Entrants must be older than 18, and must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education. To accommodate larger scale projects, such as video work, groups may also submit entries, so long as one individual is listed as the team leader. (The competitions rules are posted online.)
While the final submission deadline is June 19, early bird semifinalists will be announced on May 24. Final semifinalists will be announced on July 18, with finalists and category winners projected to be announced in August and September.
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.
Multiple Instagram Accounts for Your Design or Illustration Studio? Instagram Rolls Out Support
Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 10, 2016
Instagram has rolled out multiple account managment. The change is a boon to designers and illustrators who manage both personal and professional Instagram accounts. Users can download the latest version of the app (Instagram 7.15), and add additional up to five additional accounts. From there, changing between accounts is just a simple tap. The app identifies which account is active with the profile picture, so users know where they’re posting.
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