As copyright holders of published illustrations we unite to protect our copyrights, establish transparent accountability of the reprographic royalty streams earned by American illustrators, and promote the proper licensing of our works.
Where we stand
A collective rights administration for published American illustrators is long overdue. Significant sums of reprographic royalties due artists are being lost or dissipated without accountability while reprographic usage is escalating. Reprographic royalties are paid when published work is photocopied by libraries, institutions, corporations and other users. This income is earned when copyright collecting societies license secondary rights users to photocopy or digitally republish printed material anywhere in the world. Reprographic royalties may derive from published articles, cartoons, illustrations, photographs, maps, charts, etc.
Reprographic rights are held individually by each artist but are licensed collectively by a copyright collecting society that artists have mandated to administer these rights. Regrettably, there has not been a U.S. copyright collecting society to represent American illustrators, and illustrators do not currently receive any compensation for the exploitation of their reprographic rights.
In 2001, the Illustrators’ Partnership of America founded the IPA Reprographics Coalition to establish transparent accountability, protect these copyrights, and create a system to assure that artists are properly represented in this emerging source of secondary rights income. The Coalition grew to 12 professional illustration societies representing over 4,500 of the most prolific and widely published illustrators in the world. In October 2007 the Coalition united as a non-profit named the American Society of Illustrators Partnership.
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: 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.
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.
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.
November 2008, the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) filed a one million dollar lawsuit against Brad Holland, Ken Dubrowski, Bruce Lehman, Terry Brown, Cynthia Turner and the Illustrators Partnership of America (IPA). GAG asserted claims for defamation and interference with contractual relations, alleging that IPA had interfered with a “business relationship” GAG had entered into that enabled GAG to collect orphaned reprographic royalties derived from the licensing of illustrators’ work. GAG alleged that efforts by IPA to create a collecting society to return lost royalties to artists “interfered” with GAG’s “business” of appropriating these orphaned fees.
April 2011, the New York State Supreme Court dismissed all claims in the lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators’ Partnership of America. The judge ruled that statements made by the IPA and the other defendants were true; that true statements cannot be defamatory; that illustrators have a “common interest” in orphaned income; and that a “common-interest privilege” may arise from both a right and a duty to convey relevant information, however contentious, to others who share that interest or duty.
September 2013, ASIP signed an agreement with the Artists Rights Society (ARS) for official representation of American illustrators’ collective rights for the purpose of receiving monetary distributions from secondary rights receipts destined for illustrators, including reprographic fees and cable retransmission fees, which may become available in the future.
ARS is the preeminent copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the US. Founded in 1987, ARS represents the intellectual property rights of over 122,000 visual artists and their estates worldwide.
As a member of the Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), ARS maintains relationships with like-minded “sister societies” abroad. Through reciprocal agreements, ARS represents the artist repertories of its foreign sister societies in the US, and they in turn represent ARS’ American repertory in their territories. In this capacity, ARS has continued to advocate at the highest levels for the repatriation of foreign reprographic royalties earned by American illustrators, as well as the payment of domestic reprographic royalties accrued from licensing by the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).
January 2019, illustrators who signed reprographic agreements with the Artists Rights Society began receiving reprographic royalty checks.