Saturday, April 20, 2024

Strong Arguments for Artists’ Rights and Copyrights

If you’re interested in artists’ rights, this is right up your alley and in time for good summer reading.

The Journal of Biocommunication, a journal dedicated to serving as a showcase of proven and experimental procedures in medical art and illustration, print, photography, film, television, computer, multimedia systems, and other communication modalities applied in the health sciences, has a remarkably interesting and timely special issue that focuses on aspects of artists’ rights, including articles that discuss more recent issues surrounding existing copyright law, copyright registration, artists’ rights, and the current U.S. Orphan Works legislation.

This issue features five outstanding articles beginning with Terrence Brown’s “Historic Rights Issues in American Illustration.” Mr. Brown traces the development of American illustration during the post Civil War period, as book, newspaper, and magazine publishers successfully used artists’ sketches and illustrations to accompany their printed text and advertisements. These artists became more and more important to the publisher’s success, and the demand for their illustrations grew. Ownership of original art and issues relating to secondary usage rights culminated in the formation of the Society of Illustrators in New York in 1901. Many historical illustrations are included as examples of these amazing illustrators.

Also included is the in-depth article titled “Perfect and Strengthen Your Copyrights” written by medical illustrator, author, and artists’ rights advocate, Cynthia Turner.  Ms. Turner discusses the importance of timely registration, as it may help strengthen an artist’s ability to protect authorship. She describes in detail what copyright is, and how current U.S. Copyright law applies to us as creators. Cynthia also reviews the scope and limitations of U.S. Copyright law, the categories of authorship, Copyright reversion, and walks us through the process of U.S. Copyright registration.

Noted attorney Chris Castle offers “Artists’ Rights are Human Rights.” Mr. Castle’s clients include artists, producers, motion picture and television studios, as well as technology companies. Mr. Castle’s insightful article describes some of the ongoing efforts of large technology companies, anti-copyright authors, “hive mind” advocates, and free-culture promoters, all who lobby for the relaxation of copyright laws. Mr. Castle concludes that artists’ rights are more expansive than simple legal rights. Moreover, the human rights of artists are clearly articulated in many international laws insuring the protection and the benefits from the protection of the moral and material interests derived from scientific, literary, or artistic production.

“Trojan Horse: Orphan Works and the War on Authors,” written by Brad Holland, is also featured in this issue. Brad is an accomplished illustrator and author, who has written extensively about intellectual property rights, U.S. copyright, and Orphan Works legislation. The author states that if passed, Orphan Works legislation would summarily reverse the automatic copyright protection currently afforded to authors by the 1976 Copyright Act. This Orphan Works Amendment would effectively remove penalties for an infringement, if the infringer had made what is termed a “reasonable search” for the creator within yet-to-be-created image databases.

We also include “Orphan Works Legislation – A Bad Deal for Artists,” written by accomplished attorney, legislative policy advisor, and author, Bruce Lehman. Mr. Lehman currently practices law and also serves as the Chairman of the International Intellectual Property Institute based in Washington, D.C. In his article Mr. Lehman notes that in January 2006, the U.S. Copyright Office issued their “Orphan Works Report,” outlining their recommendations to Congress for changes to the 1976 Copyright Act. In its current form, Orphan Works legislation, now in Committee within the U.S. Congress, has the potential to reverse the 30-year history of copyright protection enjoyed by artists and authors in the United States.

You can read the articles online and, if you so wish, download them via pdf format here.


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  • […] a stunning pace.” _______________________________________________________________________________ Strong Arguments for Artists’ Rights and Copyrights By Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Clancco, July 24, 2010 “The Journal of Biocommunication, a journal […]

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