Copyright Office Report Acknowledges Impact of Small Claims Issues with Individual Creators
Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 17, 2013
On September 30th, the Copyright Office released their report on copyright small claims. The report documents “significant costs and other challenges of addressing [small] copyright claims” and recommends the establishment of an alternative system of adjudication within the Office. The report acknowledges the need for a streamlined approach to smalls claims, but one which permits alleged infringers to vigorously defend themselves.
The report was the result of three notices of inquiry over a two-year study by the Copyright Office, in which the office requested information from the public on whether the current legal system hinders copyright owners from pursuing copyright claims of relatively small value (those of a several thousand dollars or less). The Office also held public hearings in November 2012, at which the Guild testified. The Guild submitted three comment letters to the Office, and included the results of a survey the Guild conducted based on the questions in the Copyright Office’s notice of inquiry. About 1,200 copyright holders responded to the survey.
The Copyright Office specifically thanked those who participated in the Office’s public call for feedback and noted that the small claims issue particularly impacts individual creators. The Guild is proud to have participated in this public process, and thanks the many individual artists who responded to the Copyright Office’s call for information. The Guild is very pleased that nearly all of our recommendations were supported by the Copyright Office and outlined in the Study Report.
The full report is available on the Copyright Office’s website.
CO Offers Electronic Registration for Single Copyright on Interim Basis
Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 05, 2013
On June 28th, the Copyright Office amended its regulations to offer a new electronic registration option, the Single Application Option. The intention is to provide a simplified application process for individual author claimants to register a single work (not made for hire) for the same price as the standard application, $35. The interim rule was implemented in response to the Office's January 2012 Notice ofInquiry (NOI), in which the Office asked whether special consideration should be provided to registration of single works, where the author is also the copyright holder and the work was not made for hire. The NOI recieved four comments, all strongly in favor of a simplified system for single author/single work registration. The proposed ruling was published in March 2012, and elicited 10 comments raising issues addressed in the iterim ruling.
The single author/single word registration option is offered as a simpler process to encourage greater copyright registration. The ruling limits the works which can be registered with this process: the registration is only offered electronically; only works created by single authors (no joint works); only works with a single claimant/author (no works made-for-hire or works in which copyright was transferred); only a single work (for example, only one illustration; no collections of works, websites, group registrations, etc.). Works which don't meet these criteria can be registered with the standard online registration process. Full information can be read in the Copyright Office's Interim final rule.
More details regarding the single author/single work registration will be forthcoming. The Copyright Office seeks public comment on the interim rule, and will modify the rule if such action is warranted. Public comment is due August 28th, and should be submitted as searchable PDF (not a PDF of a scanned document), Word document, Rich Text document, or ASCII text file format.
Copyright Infringement Reported on Etsy
Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 25, 2013
Recently ArtLawJournal published an article highlighting the rampant copyright infringement which is being reported on the craft- and vintage-goods site, Etsy. ArtLawJournal identifies three key factors permitting the infringement: the participation of China-based factories in creating the goods, without any licensing oversight; the position of Etsy as a media distributor, with little responsibility in preventing copyright infringement beyond responding to DMCA requests; and the existence of popular Etsy shops which resell goods bought from wholesale online sites which often feature pirated or infringing goods.
ArtLawJournal's follow up article offers down-to-earth advice on how artists can protect themselves and take steps if they discover their work has been infringed on Etsy. Their primary advice is for artists to register their copyrights. They also propose including either a watermark or a small copyright notice within the artwork itself, since removal of such would be proof positive of circumvention on the part of the infringer. The article includes instructions on conducting a reverse image search to ferret out images of infringed work, instructions on issuing a DMCA notice, and advice on contacting a lawyer.
Brought to our attention by @imundo.
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.