Advocacy

Copyright Office Proposes Extended Collective Licensing Program

On June 9, the Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry (http://copyright.gov/fedreg/2015/80fr32614.pdf) requesting public comments on the practical operation of an Extended Collective Licensing Program that the Office proposed in its most recent report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization (http://copyright.gov/orphan/reports/orphan-works2015.pdf). According to the Office, the program “would enable users to digitize and provide access to certain works for research and education purposes under conditions to be agreed upon between rights holder and user representatives.”

The report recommends legislation limiting liability for the use of orphan works following a good faith diligent search for the copyright owner, similar to legislation passed by the Senate in 2008. The report also proposes the use of extended collective licensing for nonprofit educational and research mass digitization projects. The Office suggests a “pilot program” that would enable users to digitize and provide access to certain works for research and education purposes under conditions to be agreed upon between rightsholder and user representatives. To assist it in developing appropriate legislation, the Office is issuing a Notice of Inquiry contemporaneously with the Report, inviting public comment on various issues concerning the scope and administration of such a program.

Copyright Office Issues a Notice of Inquiry on Photographs, Graphic Artworks, and Illustrations

Intro from: Michael Grecco

Two years ago, as Chairman of the APA Advocacy Committee, I had the idea to create a Statutory Amendment to the Copyright Law which would require users of images on the internet, reprints, and elsewhere to pay the creator for the use. In tandem with that initiative, APA has been working on a distribution society, like ASCAP, to distribute those funds and others currently collected worldwide for photography to the rights holders—photographers. It became clear that this was not going to work without an industry-wide effort. Other APA officers and I helped form a coalition of trade organizations specifically for this effort. We have now met with Maria Pallante and her staff at the Copyright Office twice in an effort to change the plight of our members. Maria was particularly surprised at the inequities for photographers in the industry.

The first step of our efforts has been realized with a Notice of Inquiry from the Copyright Office. This publicly opens the debate as to what needs to be done on our members’ behalf. We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me personally at Advocacy@APANational.org. We will be working with the other organizations in our industry to submit comments on your behalf.

United States Copyright Office
NewsNet Issue 578
April 24, 2015

Copyright Office Issues a Notice of Inquiry on Photographs, Graphic Artworks, and Illustrations

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a Federal Register notice requesting written comments on how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations, are monetized, enforced, and registered under the Copyright Act. The Office is specifically interested in the current marketplace for these visual works, as well as observations regarding the real or potential obstacles that these authors and, as applicable, their licensees or other representatives face when navigating the digital landscape.

Photographers, graphic artists, and illustrators have expressed a growing list of concerns in recent years when speaking to both the Copyright Office and Members of Congress. This Notice of Inquiry thus builds upon our longstanding policy interest in these types of visual works, including the Copyright Office’s studies in a number of areas such as small claims, the making available right, resale royalties, registration, recordation, and the interoperability of records. As always, the Office is interested in the perspectives of copyright owners as well as users of these creative works. This is a general inquiry that will likely lead to additional specific inquiries.

The Notice of Inquiry is available at http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/. Written comments are due on or before July 23, 2015, and reply comments are due on or before August 24, 2015.

Fair Use for the Visual Arts

Last month CAA (College Arts Association) widely distributed a damaging and flawed document entitled "Code of Best Practices in Fair Use For The Visual Arts". This document, by its title, purports to be a well-researched and balanced guide to understanding and applying Fair Use. Unfortunately CAA, whether intentionally or otherwise, excluded all artist rights organizations and their counsel from their research when compiling this biased document. In so doing, the result is nothing more than an opinion piece designed specifically to justify the theft of copyrighted works under the guise of Fair Use.

In response to the release of the CAA guide, the major artist rights organizations excluded from participating in CAA's research (APA, NPPA, ASMP, PACA and PPA), sent a letter to CAA's leadership expressing concerns over the troubling methods and conclusions of the document. APA and the other signatories of the letter further suggested that CAA agree to re-draft a more accurate and balanced Fair Use guide with the help of the organizations and experts who represent the copyright holders. Only then will all parties be well-served and a true "Best Practices" be established.

A reply from CAA leadership is still awaited.

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Copyright Office Subcommittee Hearing

On February 26, 2015 the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Goodlatte held another in a series of hearings related to copyright. The subject of this hearing was The US Copyright Office: Its Functions and Resources.

© Eugene Mopsik

The witnesses giving testimony were:

  • Professor Robert Brauneis, George Washington University Law School
  • Ms. Lisa Dunner, Dunner Law PLLC, on behalf of ABA
  • Mr. Keith Kupferschmid, SIAA
  • Ms. Nancy J. Mertzel, Schoeman Updike Kaufman & Stern LLP, on behalf of AIPLA.

Attached below please find a summary of the individual testimony and the Question and Answer from this session produced by the American Continental Group. The Copyright Office recently released a report on Technological Upgrades to Registration and Recordation.

The participants were in general agreement that the Copyright Office needs additional resources – human, technological, and financial and that it should be in control of its own IT Systems. Also, the Copyright Office should be given greater authority for Rule Making and greater autonomy so as to maintain impartiality and to be better able to adapt to changing needs.

This meeting was one of a series over the last year and half exploring the possible need for changes and revisions to the Copyright Act. Visual artists have for some time wanted the creation of an alternate dispute resolution means or small claims court within the copyright system. Also, there is interest in an annual registration fee, the elimination of the deposit copy requirement, and possibly the elimination of the requirement for registration prior to infringement in order to bring legal action. Additionally, visual artists would like the ability to register images from within digital asset management workflow.

Take time to support Copyright! Please sign the Copyright Alliance petition to be sent to the 114th Congress.

Stayed tuned to APA for future developments in the copyright debate.

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Register your copyright

Timely copyright registration is critical to a successful resolution if your work is infringed.

All registration can be done through the US Copyright office website at copyright.gov

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