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Communication Design

Questions about Copyright Registration? Answers from the Copyright Office!

Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 10, 2016

Copyright Q&AEarlier 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.

The Handbook Primer Series: Now in Android Flavor!

Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 03, 2016

Want to read our Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines on your tablet, but don’t have an iPad? Now you can – our digital Primer series has just been released for Android. The Primer series repackages our popular Handbook as three volumes, which can be separately purchased. Volume 1, Business Practice Essentials, covers the professional relationships illustrators and graphic designers develop and the ethical standards needed to maintain good working relationships with clients and other professionals. Volume 2, Professional Issues & Legal Rights for Graphic Artists, covers the often confusing issues, such as copyright terms, work-for-hire, sales tax, and work on spec, that both self-employed and staff graphic artists encounter. Volume 3, Trade Customs & Pricing Guidelines, explores customary professional practices and provides sample pricing tables and salaries for various disciplines within the graphic arts industry. 

The Android version of the Primer Series can be purchased from the Vital Source eTextbook platform. The Primer Series in iOS flavor can also be purchased from the iTunes store. Those who prefer to read in the bathtub and don’t want to risk dropping their electronic devices, can always buy the original Handbook in paperback from Amazon or any local bookstore.

Primer Series vol. 1 Business Practice EssentialsPrimer Series Vol. 2: Professional Issues & Legal RightsPrimer Series vol. 3: Trade Customs & Pricing

Adobe Design Achievement Awards Strive to Prepare Students for the Real World

Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 12, 2016

ADAA 2016 logo image

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.

Marking World Design Day, April 27

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 30, 2016

World Design Day is on April 27, and ico-D, the International Council of Design, is marking the occasion by celebrating how design has improved everyday life in local communities through their Design in Action! campaign:
“One of the great things about design is that it can make such a big impact on everyday life. From the bike paths that make zipping around the city safer and faster, to the telephone that connects you to your friends and families, to the way-finding that helps you not get lost and the high-tech gear that helps you do the sports you like, good Design, meaningful Design, is constantly in Action!—helping, directing, improving, creating. We want to see Design in Action! where you are—in your region, and in your life.”

ico-D WDD 2016 grapic

The organization has invited designers worldwide to share their examples of great design via Instagram and on ico-D's Facebook page, using the hashtags #WDD2016 and #Designinaction and tagging @theicod. All design disciplines are invited to participate, so the projects that are being shared can include wayfaring signage, bicycle paths, public spaces – anything which impacts the local community for the greater good. The Guild is participating via our brand-new Instagram account, and would love to have our community join us. Please share the design that brings you joy and ease, or addresses real problems in your community. Be sure to use #WDD2016 and #Designinaction and tag @theicod, and tag us too: @graphic_artists_guild.

Examples of Design in Action in New York City: the High Line park, which converted unused elevated rail into a much-needed public park, and interactive subway signage, which reports on track conditions, provides information for wheelchair accessibility, and permits visitors to map their routes, among other features.

The WDD2016 visuals were designed by the multi- talented Russian poster designer Peter Bankov.  www.bankovposters.com 

Katie Lane’s Low-down on Work-for-Hire versus Assigning Your Copyrights

Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 21, 2016

Katie Lane illustrationAttorney 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.

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