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by Kat Powell and Deb Shaw

The year 2017 isn’t over just yet, which means there is still time to join the copyright community in asking your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3945, the CASE Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill (how rare is THAT these days!!) was introduced on October 4, 2017 by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Tom Marino (R-PA),  Doug Collins (R-GA), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). H.R. 3945 will create a Copyright Claims Board, which, similar to Small Claims Court, will provide a simple, quick and less expensive forum for copyright owners (we artists!) to enforce our copyrights.

For many botanical artists, artists, photographers, illustrators, authors, songwriters, filmmakers and other creators who own copyrighted works, enforcing our rights is simply not feasible. Litigation is expensive and, even when it’s undeniable that our copyrights have been violated, frequently, we simply can’t afford to go to court. In effect, the U.S. copyright system currently provides creators with rights but no effective remedies.

The majority of  copyright owners that are affected by piracy and theft are independent creators with small copyright infringement claims. The CCB will establish an alternative forum to the Federal District Court for copyright owners to protect their work from infringement.

It’s important that Congress hear from creators like us on the importance of protecting our rights and creating a small claims court.

The Copyright Alliance has made it easy to contact your Representative  to ask him/her to support H.R. 3945 by asking them to cosponsor the bill. The Copyright Alliance has a quick and easy tool on their website to help you find all of your Representatives. They also have provided a sample letter you can email or send, but it is easy to modify it or use your own if you prefer. The important thing is to let your voice be heard on this critical issue.

To send your letter, please click here.

Information about H.R.3945, and links that answer questions can be found here. You can join the Copyright Alliance—it’s free, and they do not sell or give away members’ information.


by Deb Shaw, from the Illustrators Partnership

For more than a decade, there have been periodic attempts to “bring balance” to copyright policy and law. These efforts have been promoted by large corporations and tech companies, and are a euphemism for the goal of completely upending the premise of copyright law.

As the law now stands, each of us, as artists, own the copyright to our work, even if we do not register it with the copyright office. We created it; it is ours.

Rather than protecting us, the creator and artist, the copyright “reformers” want to make public access to creators’ work the law’s main function. They would require creators to register each and every work in which we wish to retain any commercial or personal interest.

Dr. Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, suddenly fired Maria Pallante, U.S. Register of Copyrights, at the end of last October, and is now soliciting advice on the “knowledge, skills and abilities” people think the new Register should have. It has been widely reported by credible sources that Dr. Hayden favors looser copyright laws.

Artists, musicians, writers and creators have fought to maintain strong copyright laws each time this has surfaced in the past, and have been successful so far. Now it’s time to make our voices heard again.

Dr. Hayden and the Library of Congress has posted a short survey (only 3 questions). The deadline for responses to the survey is tomorrow, January 31, 2017. It is important, as artists, to respond to this survey with a strong call to retain the full protections of copyright as provided for in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. If you do not have time to write, the Illustrators’ Partnership has provided suggestions for you to copy and paste.

Here are the links:


by Deb Shaw

There is an imminent deadline this week, Thursday, October 1, 2015, for artists (and the public) to make “reply comments” to the Copyright Office regarding the return of Orphan Works legislation.

If you are concerned your ability as an artist to make a living and retain copyright ownership of your art, it is important to understand the proposed changes to copyright law. More than 2600 letters were written and filed during the initial comment period for the proposed changes—the majority by artists concerned about or against the proposed changes to copyright. These are the final two days to add your voice.

The following is from the Illustrators’ Partnership: read some of the letters written or write a first letter for yourself (in case you missed the initial opportunity), or comment on points made by others. It is important to become informed and participate.


From the Illustrators Partnership:
Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators’ Partnership

We want to thank all of you who wrote to the Copyright Office several weeks ago regarding the return of Orphan Works legislation. The Copyright Office received nearly 2,600 letters, an unprecedented response.

Nearly all are from artists protesting the draft legislation proposed to Congress in June.

To put our response in context, orphan works legislation has been based on fewer than 215 letters sent to the Copyright Office in 2005. That means our initial response trumped those total comments by a factor of 10.

The letters have been posted here:
You may find accessing the full set of comments in this PDF a bit of a challenge. See these instructions if you have problems.

Now the next step will be to write “reply comments.” We hope everyone will take the opportunity to write again.

A “reply comment” can take any form you’d like. We’d suggest 1 of 2 ways:
1. Take one or more comments you agree with and say that you agree.
2. Take one or more comments you disagree with and explain why you disagree.

We invite you to consider endorsing the letter submitted by the Illustrators Partnership. It’s key sentence reads:

“Because Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution grants authors the exclusive rights to their work, it is our understanding that those rights cannot be abridged without a constitutional amendment.”

The full letter can be found in Document #1: Direct Initial Comments. It’s listed alphabetically under Illustrators Partnership.

Reply Comments are due October 1, 2015. American and foreign artists can both submit their letters online here:

Comments must be submitted using the comment submission form or they will not be considered part of the public record.

Please be advised:

“The Office intends to post the written comments and documentary evidence on its website in the form in which they are received. Parties should keep in mind that any private, confidential, or personally identifiable information appearing in their comment will be accessible to the public.”

Special note to foreign artists: If you are submitting from outside the US, under “State,” please scroll down to the bottom and select “Non U.S.A. Location.”

For those who didn’t write the first time, please don’t miss the opportunity to do so now. Please post or forward this artist alert to any interested party.

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