Brad Holland was gracious enough to send me the following reply to questions raised on the issue of reprographic royalties from Mark Simon's article.
I am reposting it with his permission.
We’ve had several inquiries about this subject since Mark Simon’s article came out.
Some involve the suggestion that if artists want to be paid their reprographic royalties, they should contact their publishers to ask if they’re “eligible.”
In my opinion, this would be sending artists on a wild goose chase. Mark was wise not to suggest it in his piece.
First things first: If you’ve ever done work that’s been published in books, magazines, journals and newspapers, you’re eligible to receive reprographic fees.
Reprographic rights are just like other rights. They don’t come from the publisher. They’re yours.
The only exception would be if you’ve signed them all away.
And even if you’ve signed one or two all-rights contracts, it’s not likely that you’ve surrendered all your rights to every published work you’ve ever done.
So a.) If you fit this description, you’re eligible.
But b.) Let’s say you take this advice and contact your publisher. What are the chances a publisher will even take your call?
At best, you’d be lucky to get an editor or sales rep. Then what? They’ll refer you to their legal department. Now you’re the dog that’s caught the bus. And how many artists are ready to tangle with a corporate lawyer who holds all the cards?
Contacting your publisher about your reprographic rights comes down to one of two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Let’s say you’re an artist who’s published a book, of which you’re the named author.
- Here you have a single publisher to contact and a personal sales record to inquire about.
- In this case, maybe you can get somewhere by asking for the reprographic royalties for that specific book.
- We don’t know of any cases where this has happened, but for the sake of argument let’s assume it could:
- These fees are called title-specific royalties, and
- They can be tracked only because you’re the sole author of that particular book.But how many artists are the sole authors of books?
And what about all the other work you’ve done?
Scenario 2:The real issue in reprographic rights involves all those artists who contribute to collective works such as magazines. The fees involved here are collective fees. They’re called non-title-specific royalties and they’re collected under blanket licenses.
How do individual artists get paid for their share of this “juke box money”?
If you followed the advice to contact your publisher, here’s what you’d actually have to do:
- Call the publisher of each and every publication you’ve ever worked for to
- inquire about what percentage of that publication’s total reprographic revenues you’re entitled to
- for each and every picture you’ve ever done for them.
How’s that likely to work out?
- You can call publishers, but how many will take your call?
- Or editors for that matter?
- So you may get through to the art director, but
- How many art directors will want to start fielding inquiries from every artist they’ve ever worked with about the reprographic sales figures of every issue of the magazine in which their work has ever appeared.
- The art director won’t be able to help you anyway;
- Most have never even heard of reprographic rights.
- So he/she will direct you to the sales or legal department.
- Ask the company’s lawyers if you’re “eligible for reprographic royalties,” and they’ll say no, case closed.
- So then what?
Telling artists they should each confront their publishers one-by-one is to condemn them to fruitless and ineffectual individual actions. There’s no way we can collect non-title specific royalties without a collecting society.
Because to determine an individual’s share of non-title-specific royalties, you need to make three statistical calculations:
- What percentage of total reprographic royalties should go to visual artists?
- What share of that total should go to illustrators (as opposed to photographers, fine artists, etc.)?
- What share of that should go to which individual artists?
Collecting societies in other countries make calculations like this every day, all the time.
But artists can’t deduce these numbers themselves by talking to publishers. For this you need bean counters.
And you need bean counters who work for you.
The Copyright Clearance Center collects over $165 million in reprographic royalties every year. CCC has bean counters, but they work for CCC. And CCC works for publishers.
As artists, we won’t get our share of these royalties until we have bean counters who work for us.
That’s what a collecting society would provide.
According to IFRRO figures, an average 15% of reprographic revenues should be going to visual artists right now.
Fifteen percent of $165 million annually: do the math.
And that percentage is expected to grow with the growth of digital photocopying.
We started ASIP to act as a collecting society because nobody else was doing it.
It should have been done two decades ago.
If we don’t act together now, we should expect to lose these rights for good.
That’s why I’ve signed the ASIP mandate. I have 42 years of rights at stake.
The form’s easy to fill out and membership is free.
Here’s the place to go: http://www.asip-repro.org/
Thanks a million for your commitment to this issue, Ken.
– Brad Holland, for the board of ASIP