Thursday, July 31, 2008

IPA announces Senate Orphan Works Bill Put "on Hold"

Senate Orphan Works Bill Put "on Hold"

We've just received word that the Senate bill has been put "on hold." In fact, there appear to be multiple holds on it. Senators who "hold" hotlined bills do not have to identify themselves nor give their reasons for holding it. Holds are temporary. We don't know how many of you contacted your Senators on such short notice this afternoon, but many, many thanks to all of you who responded so rapidly.

Most people are unaware of the process called hotlining. In the past it was used to pass non-controversial legislation, but increasingly, it's being used to pass bills whose sponsors don't want to see debate. An excellent article in Roll Call explains the process. Here's an excerpt:

Senate conservatives are upset that the leaders of both parties in the chamber have in recent years increasingly used a practice known as "hotlining" bills - previously used to quickly move noncontroversial bills or simple procedural motions - to pass complex and often costly legislation, in some cases with little or no public debate. The increase was particularly noticeable just before the August recess, when leaders hotlined more than 150 bills, totaling millions of dollars in new spending, in a period of less than a week.

The practice has led to complaints from Members and watchdog groups alike that lawmakers are essentially signing off on legislation neither they nor their staff have ever read...

In order for a bill to be hotlined, the Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a roll-call vote. The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a specified amount of time to object - in some cases as little as 15 minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed.

- From 'Hotlined' Bills Spark Concern
By John Stanton, Roll Call Staff
September 17, 2007
To read the full article, go to:

This is the second time the Senate Orphan Works bill has been hotlined this summer. The previous hotline came on June 5, the same week artists descended on Washington to urge lawmakers to oppose this controversial bill. The bill was put on hold that time too.

Since bills can be hotlined without prior notice, we'll all have to stay vigilant throughout the rest of this legislative session. Thanks again to all of you who responded so quickly.

Over 60 organizations, representing more than 250,000 creators, are united in opposing these bills in their current form. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.
Read the list:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008






To find your Senators' phone numbers go to the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works site:

At the top of the home page, click on "Elected Officials"
You'll find a US map:
Click on your state,
Then "Senators,"
Then click on each Senator's name,
Then click "Contact."
This will give you their phone numbers.

Please phone and fax them both.
Please call everyone you know who is an interested party and tell them we must act immediately to prevent passage of this bill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Petition against the Graphic Artist's Guild

Based on many of the deleted posts from this blog that have for me, raised multiple questions (for example the use of foreign funds to host an open bar at ICON) , artists have put together the following petition.

Please feel free to email me to have your name added.


It has come to our attention that for an unspecified number of years (but apparently for more than a decade) the Graphic Artists Guild has been receiving artists reprographic royalties entrusted to them from certain foreign countries. We understand that the Guild was obligated to use these funds for the good of the entire industry and not to benefit or prejudice any particular individuals or organizations.

Since it appears that Guild leaders have refused to account for their use of these monies, we have no way of knowing how much the Guild has received, but at the recent open forum at the Society of Illustrators, they reluctantly acknowledged receiving over $400,000 in 2007 alone.

We now understand that these royalties are the earned income of illustrators from all genres of illustration and are not Guild-generated income. As members and former members of the Guild, we were never made aware that these royalties even existed until it was brought to light by circumstances following the first Illustrators Conference in Santa Fe New Mexico in 1999.

Following that conference, a grassroots team of illustrators, advised by internationally respected attorneys acting pro bono, attempted to create a collecting society to begin returning reprographic royalties to illustrators. These actions were opposed by Guild officers using personal attacks and defamatory charges.

We have now been made aware of minutes from a Guild steering committee meeting dated Jan 8, 2003 which indicate that at the same time as Guild leaders were attempting to discredit this grassroots movement, the Guild was facing a financial crisis brought on by “gross mismanagement.” These minutes specify that the Guild’s officers planned to “rectify the situation” by increasing “their” “income from foreign reprographic royalties.”

These actions by Guild leaders to discredit a legitimate effort by illustrators has clearly been prejudicial to the interests of American illustrators. Just as the Guild’s apparent use of artists’ royalties to cover up their mismanagement of funds has clearly benefited the Guild and its officers at the expense of others.

Therefore we, the undersigned, do hereby acknowledge as fact that:

1. The Graphic Artists Guild has been collecting, for an undisclosed number of years, and without accountability, artists royalty monies from overseas collecting and distributing agencies.

2. The terms of receipt of these monies by the Guild is to benefit the entire field of illustration without preference or prejudice to any individual or organization.

3. Yet the Graphic Artists Guild has systematically attempted to discredit a legitimate effort by illustrators to bring accountability to the collection and distribution of the funds, and therefore

4. We charge that the Guild has misused artists royalties in a doubly inappropriate manner.

Based on these facts we, the undersigned, believe that the Graphic Artists Guild is not representing our best interests and we condemn the officers of the Guild for their apparent abuses of both the finances of illustrators and the trust of our industry.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Wedding Gift

Above is a photo of a wedding gift for one of our favorite friends. The marriage of Megan and Tim Hughes was a special event for all of us and the studio produced this bathroom/ kitchen cabinet in the colors to fit their home. The inside cabinet is painted yellow and filled with towels and bath material.

The outside cabinet is distressed in colonial pewter and brick red and the technique was demonstrated on this specific cabinet in last month's Pine Hills Art event.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Orphan Works and ICON's failures

While the international communities are now lining up to condemn the Orphan Works bill, this week the next ICON event is going on with no discussion on this issue being given any real formal thought. There has been some effort to jerk something together but with strings attached. As many people may have read on an earlier reply a Graphic Artists Guild member stated that GAG now owns the conference.

"...We will take this money and show you what the guild is all about and then what will you have? Ten years of telling us how important you are or putting us on notice. We have the money- the conference and the power and all you have is a bunch of old men telling us what we should be doing. We made the changes with the copyright office you didn't, we told people about stock houses you didn't.
And in a few months we will be showing you the exit door you loser..."

While it seemed at the time just a boastful statement it now rings true given the facts that GAG has given ICON $15,000 to host an open bar for the event and demanded to be on a panel about advocacy with Brad Holland. So instead of a knowledgable discussion on the issue, most artists who attend will only get GAG double speak.

Not unlike the SI event from several months back. GAG disruption

Using foreign reprographics money which is supposed to be going to fight artists issues and not pay for open bars, GAG has also used this money ($200,000) to enlists a pro-Orphan Works's lobbyist and has spent the past few months asking artists to not respond to any call for action.

While many artists are having a hard time finding work, they can rest assured that GAG and ICON are looking out for their best interests.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho! Drink up me 'earties, Yo Ho
We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me 'earties, Yo Ho!

International Confederation Condemns U.S. Orphan Works Act

Last week,the International Council of Creators of Graphic, Plastic, and Photographic Arts (CIAGP) adopted the following resolution:

"Resolved that the artists rights societies of 31 countries, members of CIAGP, under the aegis of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), hereby expresses its condemnation of any effort by the United States Congress to legitimize and endorse an 'orphan works' regime, which would function to the great detriment of the creators of these works, and deprive them of their artists' rights."

The resolution was unanimously adopted during the international conference of CISAC. It was proposed by Dr. Ted Feder of the U.S., President of the Artists Rights Society

CIAGP is the visual arts division of CISAC. CIAGP collectively acts for over 100,000 artists, photographers and illustrators through artists rights societies in 31 countries. CISAC works towards increased recognition and protection of creators' rights. Founded in 1926, CISAC is a non-profit organization headquartered in Paris.