Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grim Grinning Ghost Test 1

Here is the first test of the singing busts for the Marshfield High School Drama party, that Rick Larsen and I are working on...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Illustrator's News Tribute 911

The events of September 11, 2001 have forever changed the way we live our lives.
At that moment ten years ago, a few of us decided to express
their feelings about the tragic events of that day in the form of an online publication.
Many artists from around the world responded with comments as well
as illustrations. The publication stands as a reminder on how how people felt then and can
be viewed by clicking on the link.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lloyd Dangle and the Graphic Artist's Guild

The following personal attack comes from former GAG president Lloyd Dangle's website.
I guess he didn't get the memo that the lawsuit was thrown out.

"... The Graphic Artists Guild is very special to me, some of you might know that I’m a past president. Despite what you may have heard from some dickheads the Guild is a terrific organization with wonderful people. I hope they win that lawsuit against those dickheads."

Monday, May 16, 2011

IPA Wins Lawsuit Against Graphic Artists Guild but Artists Still Lose.

Last month's victory was welcome relief that the IPA and five named defendants have been vindicating for blowing the whistle on Graphic Artists Guild.
Artist's organizations like AMI  as well as individuals that support the formation of an American Collecting Society are openly speaking out. That this climate of fear is falling away is a tremendous victory for artists.
But even though the news that GAG's lawsuit was thrown out, until all artists begin to see their earned income returned to them, this is no victory. And until these organizations that continue to take foreign royalties are held accountable artists will never benefit from their royalties.

Decision Vindicates Artists, Validates American Illustrators' Collecting Society
Artists' Reprographic Royalties Remain Unaccounted For

(LEXINGTON, KY) May 12, 2011 - The Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) applauds Judge Debra James' ruling dismissing the million-dollar tortious interference and defamation lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named defendants.

GAG alleged that IPA interfered with a "business relationship" which enabled GAG to collect and use artists' reprographic royalties, by IPA's creation of a collecting society to return royalties directly to artists.
When published artwork is photocopied, U.S. and international Reprographic Rights Organizations (RROs) collect royalties through fees, including photocopying charges, on behalf of copyright holders whose work appear in those publications. The American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP), founded, in part, by members of the IPA, is the first and only domestic illustrators' copyright collecting society legally recognized by our federal government to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of illustrators- including medical illustrators-who assign their mandate to ASIP.

IPA's statements-that between 2000 and 2007, GAG took more than $1.5 million of artists' royalties and has not returned any to artists-were found to be true by Judge James....

Read the rest of the press release:Association of Medical Illustrators

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Graphic Artists Guild, Illustration and the Law

Last week the NY Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit against the Illustrators Partnership of America and five of us based on the fact that we spoke the truth. 

This announcement from Judge Debra James was the first time many artists learned that GAG had taken over 1.5 million in reprographics royalties without their knowledge and consent.
In the lawsuit GAG asserted claims for defamation and interference with contractual relations, alleging that IPA had interfered with a “business relationship” GAG had entered into that enabled GAG to collect orphaned reprographic royalties derived from the licensing of illustrators’ work. 

Many artists had been  afraid to speak out publicly on this issue, pointing to the fact that websites and personal blogs were used as "evidence" by GAG in their lawsuit.

 The link below is from an article on Brad Holland by Steve Heller and should be read by the artists who are upset about GAG's lawsuit and have a stake in how their royalties are being used. The question I have is what will artists do about it ?

Illustration by Brad Holland from DailyHeller blog. image for Illustration and the Law

Graphic Artists Guild and 1.5 million

Last week artists were stunned to learn that GAG received 1.5 million in foreign orphaned artists royalties and that this lawsuit was about much more than previously known. Here is the official verdict from the NY Supreme Court Judge dismissing the Graphic Artists Guild lawsuit against IPA and five individuals. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's not too late...

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

" Ahhh, were it that simple.

Returning these royalty funds to artists should be THE goal. If not the goal, then organizations receiving this money should be transparent about what money they're receiving AND how they're spending it. OTHERW
ISE, it can easily appear that this money is being used to hire lobbyists and lawyers who -in the end- are working against the long-term financial interests of the very artists who've been generating the funds.

Sounds crazy, but that's my take on it. I'd LOVE to be PROVEN wrong, but when silence and lawsuits are what results from questions being asked it just looks really bad. REALLY bad..."

This is correct it is both crazy and very wrong.

When news broke that GAG received 1.5 million in foreign money, I have read that GAG members in their local chapters who have been told they only get a few thousand a year reacted that GAG had clarified what the money is being used for in their appeal notice. No they did not.

On GAG'S WIKI page they list under "ADVOCACY" the action of suing artists who have tried to return money to artists as a proud moment in their history. I understand that the followup that shows the case being dismissed keeps being removed, so I don't know if it will be up there when people who read this check on it.

The issue is not if I believe that GAG thinks suing artists is some type of misguided advocacy. Being one of the individuals sued by GAG you can understand what I think of that nonsense. The point is that large sums of money (1.5 million) were used not to help artists but used to support Orphan Works. It was used to hire a lobbyist who supports the formation of a registry which would costs artists large sums of money to protect their work. It was used to hire lawyers to ensure these orphaned royalties remain within the organization and sue artists who told the truth with a false claim of defamation. To me this says much about GAG that is not listed on WIKI but also it says something about those GAG members who sat silently while all this was going on and still do so.

I believe, that any artist's organization that receives this money should be held accountable. These organizations have a moral responsibility to tell artists how much they received and for what it has been used for. The number one goal is not using these royalties as a private little savings account to fund actions that hurt the industry like Orphan Works but instead go to "help" artists. Instead of using the money and claiming it as a chartable donation, organizations need instead to help in the formation of a collection society to RETURN THAT WHICH BELONGS TO THEM. Their own earned income!

Imagine if any organization who has been receiving these royalties took the lead and announced they would use these orphaned royalties from ACA to help in the formation of a collection society. I wonder what would happen.

Instead of using the royalties to offset dwindling membership dues or try to protect a continued revenue stream, these people who sit on these boards need to look out for the artists they claim they represent. They need to see a dwindling industry and realize they made the wrong decision.

There is no shame in that.

These people need to ensure that those in the field who need these royalties see a return for their efforts. And if these board members refuse they need to be replaced by individuals who have artists best interests.

It is not to late to be a hero here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011




Last week the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed all claims in a million dollar lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named individuals.

In the lawsuit, GAG asserted claims for defamation and interference with contractual relations, alleging that IPA had interfered with a "business relationship" GAG had entered into that enabled GAG to collect orphaned reprographic royalties derived from the licensing of illustrators' work. GAG alleged that efforts by IPA to create a collecting society to return lost royalties to artists "interfered" with GAG's "business" of appropriating these orphaned fees.

In her decision, Judge Debra James ruled that statements made by the Illustrators' Partnership and the other defendants were true; that true statements cannot be defamatory; that illustrators have a "common interest" in orphaned income; and that a "common-interest privilege" may arise from both a right and a duty to convey relevant information, however contentious, to others who share that interest or duty. 

Regarding a key statement at issue in the lawsuit: that GAG had taken over one and a half million dollars of illustrators' royalties "surreptitiously," the judge wrote:

"Inasmuch as the statement [by IPA] was true, [GAG]'s claim cannot rest on allegations of a reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Truthful and accurate statements do not give rise to defamation liability concerns."  (Emphasis added.)

And she noted:

"The plaintiff Guild has conceded that it received foreign reproductive royalties and that it does not distribute any of the money to artists."

Labor Department filings provided as evidence to the court document that between 2000 and 2007, GAG collected at least $1,581,667 in illustrators' reprographic royalties. GAG admitted to having collected similar royalties since 1996. GAG's officers have repeatedly refused to disclose how much money their organization has received to date or how the money has been spent.

The judge concluded that this situation justified an assertion of common interest by IPA. This means that "the party communicating [relevant information] has an interest or has a duty" to convey that information truthfully to others "having a corresponding interest or duty":

"The duty need not be a legal one, but only a moral or social duty. The parties need only have such a relation to each other as would support a reasonable ground for supposing an innocent motive for imparting the information. Here the plaintiff Guild's factual allegations demonstrate that the defendants' statements were both true, and fall within the parameters of the common-interest privilege." (Emphasis added.)

We hope this decision will end the two and a half years of litigation during which GAG pursued its claims against IPA and artists Brad Holland, Cynthia Turner and Ken Dubrowski of IPA, as well as attorney Bruce Lehman, former Commissioner of the US Patent Office and Terry Brown, Director Emeritus of the Society of Illustrators.  

All defendants were participants in a public presentation sponsored February 21, 2008 by 12 illustrators organizations. The presentation was disrupted by GAG's officers and their attorney. A videotape of the event proves that statements which GAG alleged to be defamatory were made only in response to GAG's intervention, and that until that time, no speakers had mentioned GAG or GAG's longstanding appropriation of illustrators' royalties. 

Last year, on January 12, 2010, Judge James issued a prior ruling dismissing nearly all of GAG's causes of action. This left only a claim asserted by GAG against Brad Holland. But in a response filed with the court February 4, 2010, attorney Jason Casero, serving as counsel for IPA, pointed out that GAG's remaining claim rested on an allegedly defamatory statement that Holland never made. When confronted with evidence, GAG was forced to admit it had "inadvertently attributed" the statement to Holland.

GAG subsequently filed new motions in an effort to revive its claims against IPA and the other defendants. Last summer the judge consolidated GAG's multiple motions and on April 18, 2011, she dismissed all ten causes of action against IPA and all the defendants.  

GAG served the lawsuit on IPA October 10, 2008, seven days after Congress failed to pass the Orphan Works Act of 2008. The Illustrators' Partnership and 84 other creators' organizations opposed that legislation. GAG had lobbied for passage of the House version of the Orphan Works bill. Mandatory lobbying disclosures document that GAG spent nearly $200,000 in Orphan Works lobbying fees.

In our opinion, the issues behind the lawsuit are greater than whether an organization should be allowed to benefit from the millions of dollars that, collectively, illustrators are losing. We believe the reprographic rights issue is linked to both orphan works legislation and the Google Book Settlement, which Federal Judge Denny Chin dismissed on March 22, 2011.

Each of these developments involves an effort by third parties to define artists' work and/or royalties as orphaned property, and to assert the right, in the name of the public interest or class representation, to exploit that work commercially or to appropriate the royalties for use at their sole discretion. So far, judges have affirmed that copyright is an individual, not a collective right, and that unless one explicitly transfers that right, no business or organization can automatically acquire it by invoking an orphaned property premise. Now the challenge for artists will be to see that Congress does not pass legislation to permit what the courts have so far denied.

We'll have more to say about this issue in the future. For now we'd like to conclude by thanking our attorney Jason Casero, who provided us with a strong, incisive and heartfelt defense; his law firm, McDermott Will & Emery, which provided us with his services; the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of New York and its Director Elena Paul. We'd also like to thank Dan Vasconcellos, Richard Goldberg, and the over 700 artists and illustrators who in 2008 signed a petition asking GAG (unsuccessfully as it turned out) to drop the lawsuit; the support of so many colleagues was a great tonic at a low time. Finally we'd like to thank the representatives of the 12 organizations that comprise the American Society of Illustrators' Partnership (ASIP). ASIP is the coalition organization IPA incorporated in 2007 to act as a collecting society to return royalties to artists.  

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership  
Recipients may post or email this message in its entirety to any interested party. Link:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Court Rejects Google Book Settlement

From The Illustrator's Partnership of America

Yesterday, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin rejected the Book Rights Registry settlement between Google and the US Authors Guild. The $125 million commercial agreement would have rewarded both parties for the largest mass infringement of authors' copyrights in history. Instead, the judge ruled it a business deal "too far."

"A Reversal of Copyright Law" is what we called this agreement in our warning to illustrators September 29, 2009. Like the visual arts "databases" we opposed during the Orphan Works fight, we wrote:

"this agreement would allow both Google and a yet-to-be-created Book Rights Registry to commercially profit from an author's work whenever they say they can't locate the author.

"Both schemes would force authors to opt out of commercial operations that infringe their work or to 'protect' their work by opting-in to privately owned databases run by infringers. This Hobson's Choice for authors reverses the principle of copyright law."

Judge Chin held this to be the case. "A copyright owner's right to exclude others from using his property is fundamental and beyond dispute," he ruled. "[I]t is incongruous with the purpose of the copyright laws to place the onus on copyright owners to come forward to protect their rights when Google copied their works without first seeking their permission."

The judge also noted objections to the "Adequacy of Class Representation."  In short, this holds that neither Google, nor any organizations claiming to represent authors, nor the university libraries that gave Google "permission" to digitize their holdings, own the copyrights to the works this agreement would have allowed them to exploit.  

Therefore, they have no standing to broker deals based on claims that they represent the "class" of authors.  

The judge held this to be the case even where organizations asserted the right to "expropriate" "orphaned" royalties belonging to rightsholders.  Noting that "After ten years,unclaimed funds may be distributed to literary-based charities," the judge concluded:

"[A]t a minimum a fair question exists as to whether this Court or the Registry or the Fiduciary would be expropriating copyright interests belonging to authors who have not voluntarily transferred them. As Professor Nimmer has written: 'By its terms Section 201(e) is not limited to acts by governmental bodies and officials. It includes acts of seizure, etc., by any 'organization' as well.' 3 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright §10.04 (Rev. Ed. 2010) (footnote omitted)." [Page 31 of the judge's ruling, emphasis added.]

In rejecting the settlement, Judge Chin also echoed the US Justice Department's antitrust objections: The deal, he wrote, "would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission..." He suggested the settlement might win approval if it were revised to cover only those who opt into the agreement.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just finished a country kitchen table...

Pine top with maple turned legs. Painted in a sage finish.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ken Dubrowski Website Design

Just completed the Boston Catholic Appeal 2011 Website and a few others are still being worked on. I now offer website design as a new service to my studio for those interested. Check out the link.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ken Dubrowski Studio Newsletter

I just designed and wrote a small six page newsletter detailing how I create an illustration, build a piece of furniture and make a great winter chili. Instead of including the .pdf in this email and taking up large file space, I have used Apple's new Iwork website to post it. 
Please check it out if you wish and let me know what you think about the project. 
If nothing else you will get a great recipe out of the deal.
Thanks Ken

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Consequences of Hate Speech

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous...Let me say one thing, because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that...That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.” Sheriff Clarence Dupnik