FAQs About Reprographic Rights
If you’re a published illustrator, you’re eligible for membership in a new group, the American Society of Illustrators Partnership. ASIP is a non-profit organization founded by 6 illustrators groups. As part of its mission, ASIP hopes to bring accountability to the reprographic rights of American popular artists.
About Reprographic Rights
Q: What are reprographic rights?
A: The right to photocopy or digitally republish work used in compilations such as books, magazines, etc.
Q: What are reprographic royalties?
A: Fees owed to artists for the licensed photocopying of published work.
Q: Who pays the royalties?
A: Colleges, institutions, businesses.
Q: How do reprographic licenses work?
A: A firm or organization pays a fee to a Reprographic Rights Organization (RRO). In return the firm gets a blanket license to photocopy all manner of printed material.
Q: Why would they do this?
A: Because many organizations and institutions photocopy great masses of printed matter. A reprographic license acts as an insurance policy, protecting the user against possible lawsuits for copyright infringement.
Q: Are these royalties being paid to artists now?
A: In the US, no; in other countries yes, it’s been going on for decades.
Q: How much money is involved?
A: Last year the American Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) collected more than $140 million. See the article here...
Q: How much of that is owed to visual artists?
A: In other countries, an average of 15%. See box, p. 18, The Art of Copying
Q: Why are American illustrators not getting these royalties now?
A: Good question, long answer. Bottom line, we’re not.
Q: Can artists collect this money on their own?
A: No. It must be collected and distributed by an agency. The agency must have a mandate from rightsholders.
Q: What’s a mandate?
A: By transferring your reprographic rights (reprographic rights only) to ASIP, ASIP can determine if royalties are due you and if so, pay you.
Q: By giving ASIP this mandate, am I transferring my copyrights or any other rights?
A: No, the mandate authorizes ASIP to represent your reprographic rights only.
Q: How much will it cost me to join?
A: Nothing. If you’re entitled to royalties, the agency will deduct a handling fee from the royalties paid you.
Q: How do I join?
A: By filling out the membership form and agreement which you can download from this website.
Q: What does the agreement permit ASIP to do with my reprographic rights?
A: It will automatically authorize ASIP to act as your representative for the purpose of attempting to collect reprographic royalties on your behalf.
Q: Will granting this mandate affect the way I or my rep currently license my work?
A: No. It’s a reprographic rights mandate only and reprographic royalties are currently going unaccounted for.
Q: What if I choose not to join?
A: Without this mandate, reprographic royalties will continue to go unaccounted for.
Q: What if I change my mind?
A: You can retrieve your reprographic rights at any time, for any reason, with a 120 day written notice to ASIP.
Q: How many other countries have similar agencies?
A: Many. For examples, follow these links:
Q: Why have artists never heard of these funds before?
A: In the U.S. illustrators were generally unaware of reprographic royalties until 1999.
Q: What happened in 1999?
A: At the first Illustrators’ Conference in Santa Fe, keynote speaker Bruce Lehman put illustrators on notice that our industry was losing millions of dollars every year in reprographic licenses. Following that conference, the Illustrators’ Partnership of America (IPA) was formed and began acquiring information about the state of missing artists’ royalties.
Q: Is ASIP an official organization?
A: Yes, incorporated and chartered October 25, 2007 under the laws of Delaware.
Q: Who founded it?
A: The 6 illustrators’ organizations named below.
Q: Who will run it?
A: Terry Brown, long-time Director of the Society of Illustrators, will be its Director. Its Board of Directors will be composed of representatives from the member organizations.
Q: How was ASIP founded?
A: It was initiated by the Illustrators Partnership (IPA), developed in concert with the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) and finally chartered as an autonomous group to represent the class of American illustrators.
Q: Which organizations chartered it?
A: The following (in order of their joining):
Illustrators’ Partnership of America
Association of Medical Illustrators
Society of Illustrators NY
American Society of Architectural Illustrators
Guild of Natural Science Illustrators
San Francisco Society of Illustrators
Q: Are other groups eligible to join?
A: Yes, other groups have already joined and others are invited to join at any time.
Q: How was the Board of Directors selected?
A: Each member organization group names their own representative.
Q: What if I don’t belong to one of these groups?
A: Nonaffiliated artists can join independently and will be represented by a Director-at-Large.
Q: Who approved the ASIP charter and by-laws?
A: The Boards of each organization officially voted their approval.
Background Information About ASIP
Q: If reprographic licensing has been going on for decades, why has it taken so long to start a collecting society for American illustrators?
A: In other countries, RROs have generally been government-created. In the U.S. it’s been left to the initiative of organizations. Before the Illustrators’ Partnership, no group in the U.S. took the initiative.
Q: What’s the history of that initiative?
A: Key points:
• June 2001, the Illustrators Partnership of America (IPA) forms an official alliance with the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI).
• 2003, IPA becomes a member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO).
• 2003-2005, Five more groups come together as an informal “reprographics coalition.”
• August 2006, Terry Brown, Director of the Society of Illustrators convenes an “Illustrators Summit” of seven groups at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Following the summit, five more groups express an interest in joining.
• October 2006, These 12 groups prepare a Declaration of Unity which is read to the General Assembly of the 2006 IFRRO conference in Auckland New Zealand. It states that American illustrators have come together and wish to work with the Copyright Clearance Center to bring accountability to illustrators’ reprographic rights.
• October 2007, the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP) is founded with papers drafted by attorney Peter Rooney of the firm of McKee Nelson. The Incorporation papers are filed October 25, 2007 as a corporation in the state of Delaware.
• February 2008, Twelve groups meet at the second Illustrators Summit at the Society of Illustrators and agree to seek an industry-wide mandate from their members to represent reprographic rights.
About Reprographic Distributions
Q: What steps has ASIP taken toward collecting illustrators’ reprographic fees?
A: To proceed, we need to obtain a sufficient mandate from a critical number of working illustrators.
Q: What will that do?
A: It will establish a chain of rights demonstrating that each artist owns the rights to his or her work and that these members authorize ASIP to collect reprographic royalties on their behalf.
Q: How are royalties paid to artists?
A: Various countries distribute funds differently. In Canada, for example, Access Copyright disburses fees to authors on an equal basis. In the UK, The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) apportions royalties according to the volume of an artist’s published output.
Q: Why the difference?
A: Reprographic fees are actual earned income. But due to the nature of blanket licensing, most of these funds are deemed “non-title specific.” That means it’s impossible to determine the specific amounts due to particular authors. In other words, it’s similar to money paid to songwriters for the playing of their songs on jukeboxes.
Q: So how will ASIP apportion royalties?
A: Because we expect revenues to be quite small at first – and for some time, we expect to begin by adopting the Canadian method: each member would receive a small check of equal amount.
Q: What happens if not enough illustrators join?
A: Unless we produce a sizable mandate, others will continue to collect artists’ royalties by default.
Q: What will happen to those royalties then?
A: Those groups collecting artists’ money for over a decade have repeatedly refused to account for what they’ve done with it. Unless artists act to re-claim their mandate now, these parties will be free to continue doing what they’re doing.
Q: This is a lot of new information to digest. Why shouldn’t I wait until ASIP proves it can collect these royalties before I join?
A: To put it into perspective, remember these things:
• Reprographic royalties are not going to artists now.
• They will not go to artists unless someone creates an administrative system to collect and distribute the money.
• Reprographic royalties are currently small, but could be increased by instituting a collective rights administration to track usage.
• This in turn would serve to license and collect work more efficiently.
• Publishers have had 20 years to invite artists to participate in the distribution of these fees. They haven’t done so.
• In the absence of a collecting society, others have been taking the money and using it without accountability.
• Unless artists take the initiative to act on their own, it’s clear that no one else will.
• If you join and ASIP succeeds, you may see an additional source of income, as well as a more effective way of protecting your rights collectively,
• If you join and ASIP fails, you haven’t lost anything you already have.
How to Join ASIP
Q: How do I join ASIP ?
A: If you’re a member of one of the founding organizations listed above, you will be receiving the Reprographics Authorization & Agreement to transfer your reprographic rights mandate to ASIP. Others can join ASIP directly by downloading the agreement, printing, signing and mailing it to the address on the form.
download the PDF (152k)
Q: What if I’m an employee and my employer owns the copyright to my creative works?
A: You’re not eligible to collect royalties derived from work to which you don’t own the copyright.
Q: What if I’m an employee, but I also freelance? Am I eligible?
A: Yes, if you create at least two published works to which you are the rightsholder.
Q: Can my institution or employer register with ASIP to collect the reprographic royalties earned by the work I produce during my employment?
A: No, at the present time ASIP represents published visual artist rightsholders on an individual basis.