I need to add some information to one of my previous posts. I did not mean to be dismissive of the important work that Brad Holland, Cynthia Turner and the rest of ASIP have done previously.
ASIP has been advocating on behalf of illustrators, including GNSI members since 2007, and before that as IPA since 1998. They have consistently worked to educate illustrators to the existence of reprographic royalties; and was the first to propose the creation of an "artists ASCAP;". Their leadership has worked in the face of well-funded opposition from various special interest groups striving to create a transparent copyright society to collect and distribute missing illustrators' fees to American graphic artists.
When I said "nothing happened" I was referring only to the early promise of distributing royalties to individual illustrators. ASIP has accomplished many other really significant things. Between 2005 and 2008 they helped prevent passage of the anti-copyright legislation known as Orphan Works. That campaign took over four years of dedicated effort, time and expense, nearly all of it self-funded by the ASIP Board Co-Chairs. Then immediately following that, another four years of time and stress, and tens of thousands of dollars of their own money went into a decisive victory in a phony frivolous defamation lawsuit. Yet by defending themselves in that case, they proved in New York State Supreme Court that a well-known not-for-profit organization had been "surreptitiously" claiming illustrators' reprographic royalties for years, and which, in the judge's own words (p.11), "does not distribute any of the money to artists."
In winning that case, they argued that reprographic rights are the collective fees of illustrators, not orphaned money to be claimed by organizations. Very important. The judge agreed, ruling (p. 11) that by exposing the issue, they had performed a "duty" to all illustrators. "The duty need not be legal one," she wrote, "but only a moral or social duty." "Artists and union people," she added, have a "common interest" "in being compensated.” The ASIP announcement regarding the lawsuit can be found here:
The Judge's Final Order can be found here: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.courts.state.ny.us_reporter__pdfs_2011_2011-5F33785.pdf&d=DwIFaQ&c=Cu5g146wZdoqVuKpTNsYHeFX_rg6kWhlkLF8Eft-wwo&r=AGYZ7-AeerjxzYnIwL-lBLFI3SPYN3BDmku4qGQB4Tg&m=ZUQQSiLU7uh2r6gM4wipN7wOaCw34KY3e7bOxmlPIeM&s=u8tH5spIkTgfqofK4cheub95c6oV_84oJ3sD1rPTM6U&e=
Also, for clarification, I have been informed by the Co-Chairs of the ASIP that ASIP signed a contract with ARS in 2013 that specifically includes (item 5): "ASIP shall have the right, upon 30 days written notice to examine the books and records of ARS with regard to billing and collection of receipts for ASIP illustrator members, provided there shall be not more than three such examinations in any one calendar year."
I do not know the reasons that ASIP/ARS did not begin to distribute any illustrator money over the past 6 years, since the signing of that agreement, or if ASIP has asked for an accounting. I have been an individual member of ASIP for over 10 years. As a member, I am not aware that they collected any illustration funds from the overseas societies, as they have not distributed any to date.
Its just my personal opinion, but I think at this point that ASCRL is a better choice for getting the most reprographic royalty money to individual illustrators. I prefer the not for profit tax-exempt approach, and the financial disclosure that is attendant to it. ASCRL has assembled a formidable management team and what seems to me to be a world-class back office. Further, ASCRL is currently processing distributions of close to $300,000 in funds for illustrators and $100,000 in funds for photographers, with much more in the pipeline.
Litwak Illustration Studio
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Darnestown, MD 20878
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