(NOTE: Originally published Sept. 13, 2012, this post was re-edited for public display, Sept. 20, 2013. The IAG is no longer my interest group at the NYC chapter of the Graphic Artists Guild, and I am no longer an officer, volunteer, or member of the Graphic Artists Guild.)
After a long summer break, it’s about time to get things going at the IAG again. I’ll begin by providing a few updates; first, I finally completed a report on the Copyright Alliance that I had started way back in March. I originally hoped to have it wrapped up long before now, but unfortunately it took me down a much deeper rabbit hole than I had anticipated, on a journey through labor law, right-wing politics, and the sordid business of lobbying in Washington D.C. I was motivated to write the report while following the progress of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) that died a well-deserved death this past spring, which the Guild briefly supported after maybe taking its cue from the Copyright Alliance. (The Graphic Artists Guild is currently an executive member of the Alliance). My report lays out details showing the Alliance to be a front group for a select clique of corporate interests, that operates out of a Washington D.C. lobbying firm headed by Senator Don Nickles, a staunch conservative from Oklahoma. The conclusion I reached is that the Graphic Artists Guild should not provide either financial or vocal support to the Alliance, and should terminate its executive membership. I just recently sent the report to the national officers and board of directors at the Guild, so we’ll probably have to wait a little to see if anything develops. After the Guild leadership has had adequate time to decide on policy I’ll make the report freely available to everyone.
While my Copyright Alliance report originally started off as guild business, it touches on a number of issues that all illustrators should be mindful of, and which should be discussed at the IAG. I became familiar with a few things while investigating the Alliance: ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement); the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); the “chilling effect” of DMCA take-down notices; Hollywood accounting; net neutrality; and a few other issues that we should take some time to learn about.
That brings me to my last news item; we will have our next IAG meeting at the Productive on Thursday, September 27, and I will give a presentation on the current political landscape of copyright and related trade issues, and so share with you a bit of knowledge gained by all my Copyright Alliance muckraking. Since I’m not a lawyer I won’t be making pronouncements about legislative details, but I will be able to provide you with a pretty good summary of who the players on the field are, what they are advocating, and point you to some resources that might help you sort things out for yourself. The main idea behind my presentation will be to alert you to a few objects in motion in the business world and in Washington D.C. that may not be making huge headlines, but are still worth paying attention to.