College Art Association

CAA News Today

Art Authentication Protection Bill

posted by March 27, 2014

An important and potentially precedent-setting Bill (S13.04) has been introduced into the New York State Assembly: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=S06794&term=2013&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Text=Y. This legislation has been introduced to offer protections to art historians, art curators, independent art scholars, conservators, and other qualified experts who submit good faith opinions on the authenticity, attribution, or authorship of works of art from unsubstantiated law suits. This Bill has the support of the New York City Bar Association Art Law Committee and the Center for Art Law in New York.

Your Assemblyman/woman in the New York State Assembly needs to hear directly from you. Please send a letter, email or phone message supporting passage of this Bill by the New York State Assembly: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/.

Sincerely,

Anne Collins Goodyear, President
Linda Downs, Executive Director and CEO

On March 10–11, 2014, the United States Copyright Office (USCO) held a series of public roundtables in Washington, DC, exploring the question of “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.”[1] Collectively, these discussion panels constituted a follow up to a Notice of Inquiry circulated by USCO in the fall of 2012, in response to which CAA filed reply comments in March 2013.[2] Given CAA’s long advocacy of legislation to offer protection to those individuals and institutions using orphan works, and after consulting with CAA members familiar with concerns related to orphan works,[3] I represented the organization in two sessions, one addressing the “Types of Works Subject to Orphan Works Legislation, Including Issues Related Specifically to Photographs” (Session 4) and the other “Types of Users and Uses Subject to Orphan Works Legislation” (Session 5).[4]

“Orphan works” constitute a class of materials for which no copyright owner can be located.[5] They have long posed a thorny challenge for scholars or artists who might seek to reproduce them, but who cannot locate the creator or a source from which to license them for purposes not considered “fair use.” As a publisher of leading journals—Art Bulletin and Art Journal, and caa.reviews—and an advocate for its members who might similarly seek to use orphan works, CAA has consistently argued in favor of orphan works legislation that 1) would significantly limit the liability of a user of an orphan work who had executed a diligent search for the work’s copyright owner, and 2) provide a safe harbor for not-for-profit cultural institutions, engaged in non-commercial activities, that had exercised similar care and that took steps to cease the infringement. At the same time, CAA has spoken to the importance of the attribution of the work and has argued that if a copyright holder comes forward that rights holder be entitled to a reasonable licensing fee if, indeed, the use is not considered “fair” as allowed under the law.

Consistent with positions taken by CAA previously, the organization argued that all copyrighted works, including photographs, should be protected by orphan works legislation. Photographs, which can be notoriously difficult to associate with their makers, have proven particularly tricky as a group of objects, actually being excepted from a directive, intended to facilitate the non-commercial public interest use of orphan works, passed by the European Union.[6] However, not to consider photographs as part of the larger category of orphan works would be extremely limiting from the perspective of CAA given the strong interest of its members in sources of visual information. Categorically excluding photographic and other works of visual art from orphan works eligibility would disadvantage users of images, including artists, scholars, and publishers, who would face continued risks of being sued for copyright infringement despite being unable to determine the identity of the copyright owner at the time of their use. The purpose of orphan works legislation is to mitigate the legal risk of using works that are part of our shared culture. It is because those risks can have chilling implications, adversely affecting creative work by artists and scholars, that CAA has been committed to support orphan works legislation.

Given the diverse range of purposes to which copies of orphan works might be put by its members, CAA has argued that both commercial and non-commercial uses of such material should be protected, given the extraordinary difficulty of teasing apart such interests. Because artists (like scholars) can be both creators and users of copyrighted items, they may seek to make and market work incorporating reproductions of orphan works. In similar fashion, academic or independent scholars or museum professionals make seek to illustrate orphan works in publications made available for sale. While recognizing that a voluntary registry (or registries) of copyrighted works, such as photographs might be useful, CAA does not endorse requiring such registration, nor does it feel that the terms of a “diligent search” for the holders of copyright of orphaned works should be prescribed, arguing instead that the best approach to such research would be better determined on a case-by-case basis.

Although previous legislation, S. 2913 (the Shawn Bentley Act) faltered in the House of Representatives in 2008, and was thus not enacted into law, USCO is now reexamining the potential value of pursuing orphan works legislation anew—both with regard to the occasional or isolated use of orphan works as well as mass digitization. These efforts reflect the influence of new technology and ongoing litigation, such as cases concerning Google Books and the HathiTrust, where mass digitization was found by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to constitute “fair use.”[7]

The growing reliance of many libraries and archives upon the principle of “fair use” as a justification for digitization has led USCO to consider whether this defense obviates the need for orphan works legislation. CAA has argued that this is not the case, recognizing that some uses of copyrighted material may not constitute “fair use.” Thus CAA continues to appreciate the value of such legislation to clarify the class known as “orphan works” to protect the needs of its membership, even as it advocates for the development of best practices guidelines for the fair use of copyrighted material.

CAA intends to submit comments related to the roundtable by USCO’s filing deadline of April 14th. Should any CAA members wish to offer thoughts related to this topic to be considered in relation to such a filing by CAA, please contact Executive Director Linda Downs (ldowns@collegeart.org) or President Anne Collins Goodyear (AGoodyear@bowdoin.edu) by April 7th.

Endnotes


[1] For more information on this event and other Notices of Inquiry by the US Copyright Office (USCO) on this topic, please see: http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/. Transcripts and video of the roundtables will be posted when they become available on the website of the USCO.

[2] CAA’s submission of these comments is described in CAA’s resources on “Intellectual Property and the Arts” which provides a link to these comments: http://www.collegeart.org/ip/orphanworks.

[3] For their generosity with their time and expertise, I thank Jeffrey P. Cunard, Christine L. Sundt, Judy Metro, Doralynn Pines, Eve Sinaiko, Linda Downs, and Betty Leigh Hutcheson. Chris Sundt and Jeff Cunard generously provided comments on earlier drafts of this posting, for which I am grateful. CAA’s long history of involvement with orphan works is detailed in CAA’s recent submission of comments, prepared by CAA counsel Jeffrey P. Cunard, on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization to USCO, in March 2013; please see: http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/comments/noi_11302012/College-Art-Association.pdf. http://www.collegeart.org/ip/orphanworks.

[4] Due to the strong outpouring of interest in the topic, participation by each organization had to be limited, and CAA prioritized these sessions.

[5] Further discussion of orphan works can be found on CAA’s website under “Intellectual Property and the Arts,” at http://www.collegeart.org/publications/ow.

[6] These challenges and the directive passed by the European Union are discussed in the February 10, 2014 USCO Notice of Inquiry for Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, available at http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/. See specifically the discussion of the topics raised by Session 4: “Types of Works Subject to Orphan Works Legislation, Including Issues Related Specifically to Photographs.”

[7] For more information on these decisions, including links to them, please see: See http://www.publicknowledge.org/files/google%20summary%20judgment%20final.pdf and Andrew Albanese, “Google Scanning is Fair Use Says Judge,” Publishers Weekly, October 11, 2012. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/54321-in-hathitrust-ruling-judge-says-google-scanning-is-fair-use.html. I thank Chris Sundt for recommending these resources.

Calling all Adjunct Voices!
Help us collectively record an audiobook of Joe Berry’s Reclaiming the Ivory Tower!!
Call for Introduction, Chapter 1, & Chapter 2!

Adjunct Underground, a radio program dedicated to the issues confronting today’s contingent educational workforce, is looking for any current or former adjunct/contingent/part-time faculty who would be willing to read and record short sections of Joe Berry’s book, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education. Our goal is to create a complete audio book of Berry’s book, read entirely by a plethora of adjunct voices.

Are you an adjunct or contingent teacher, and would you be willing to read aloud and record a few pages for us?

The resulting audiobook will be broadcast one chapter at a time, and made available as a free, downloadable podcast, on the program, Adjunct Underground, on KCHUNG Radio.

All contributors can remain anonymous if they so choose, though no voices will be altered in the recordings.

If interested, please look at the spreadsheet at the following link, and select and mark an available section that you would like to read: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnRu6M-k0cvidEVNUktzUGtBUUlDRFJQNHZKYzEtYkE#gid=0. We would like to get as many voices as possible to read this text, so for now we are accepting only ONE section per person.

Send your section request to adjunctunderground@gmail.com, and we’ll send you a pdf of the text, along with a few further instructions. (You’ll then need to record yourself reading the text in a quiet place, using a free program like Audacity, or even your cell phone.)

Finally, please help spread the word by recruiting at least one colleague of yours to participate as well!

Thank you so much for your help!

. . .

From the back of the book:

Reclaiming the Ivory Tower is the first organizing handbook for contingent faculty—the thousands of non-tenure track college teachers who love their work but hate their jobs. It examines the situation of adjunct professors in U.S. higher education today and puts forward an agenda around which they can mobilize to transform their jobs and their institutions.

Full of concrete suggestions for action and based on extensive interviews with organizers Reclaiming the Ivory Tower is the most comprehensive and engaged account to date of the possibilities for a movement that has important lessons for labor organizing in general, as well as for the future of higher education.

Joe Berry teaches labor education and history at the University of Illinois and Roosevelt University in Chicago and chairs the Chicago Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor.

. . .

Adjunct Underground
Broadcasting sporadically on some Mondays at 1pm on KCHUNG Radio http://adjunctunderground.kchungradio.org
https://www.facebook.com/AdjunctUnderground

Adjunct Underground is a KCHUNG Radio broadcast and movement dedicated to the trials and tribulations of adjunct instructors in Los Angeles, and throughout the universe! Our sporadic underground broadcasts feature stories, conversations, interviews, rants, and more from our bunker-full of adjunct DJs and hosts, many of whom risk their livelihoods meeting with us to share their stories and insight on the precarity of today’s contingent education professionals! Adjuncts unite! Underground! on KCHUNG Radio!

Filed under: Advocacy, Workforce — Tags:

This story is reposted with permission from Hyperallergic. Here is a link to the original story:
http://hyperallergic.com/109775/presidents-obama-pens-personal-apology-to-an-art-historian/.

Professor Ann Collins Johns at the University of Texas at Austin was just as peeved as many people were about President Barack Obama’s knock on art history majors. So she did what any self-assured art historian would do and wrote a letter to Obama on January 31, shortly after the President’s remarks, and sent it using the White House website. Then came the surprising part: Obama responded with a handwritten note on February 12.

Johns told Hyperallergic that she did not save her original email because she posted it via the White House website:

However, I’m pretty sure that my email was not so much one of outrage at his statement, but rather a “look at what we do well” statement. I emphasized that we challenge students to think, read, and write critically. I also stressed how inclusive our discipline is these days (even though my own specialty is medieval and Renaissance Italy).

Asked for permission to reproduce the letter, Johns wanted to make it clear that she loves Obama. “What I did NOT expect is that THE MAN HIMSELF would write me an apology. So now I’m totally guilty about wasting his time,” she wrote on her Facebook profile page.

Here is Obama’s response, written on official White House letterhead then scanned and sent to Johns by email. We’ve transcribed the text below; the White House let the professor know that the original will be mailed to her shortly.

Ann —

Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.

So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

by Alicia Eler on February 18, 2014

Filed under: Government and Politics

CAA and the Monuments Men

posted by February 06, 2014

The American Council of Learned Societies held a premiere showing of George Clooney’s Monuments Men, the Hollywood film based on Robert Edsel’s The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. The film demonstrates the contributions of art historians who investigated the thousands of art works and archival manuscripts looted by the Nazis and secretly stored in mines around Germany during the WWII. Members of ACLS initiated the interest in saving European monuments during WWII and many CAA members participated.

Former CAA President (1952-1955), Professor Lane Faison who chaired the Art History Department at Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts from 1940-1969 that, during his time, graduated so many students who became museum directors (Thomas Kerns, Glenn Lowry, Roger Mandle, Earl Powell) served in the Office of Strategic Services (later to become the CIA) in 1945 assigned to a group called the Art Looting Investigation Unit to find out what the Nazi’s had done with the art that they had stolen. He was one of three art historian officers including James S. Plaut and Theodore Rousseau who collected evidence for the Nuremburg Trials. The Monuments Men relied on these extensive lists to track down the stolen work.

Jack Hyland, CAA’s Treasurer, investment banker, media advisor and author (see www.jackwhyland.com) of a thriller The Moses Virus: A Novel and Evangelism’s First Modern Media Star: Reverend Bill Stidger (a biography of his grandfather who was the model for Elmer Gantry) interviewed Lane Faison on his 90th birthday for the July 1998 CAA News article: “People of the Eye” [http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/LaneFaisonInterview.pdf]. The article covers, in part, CAA President Faison’s recollections of being a Monuments Man.

What a thrill it was to see at last a Hollywood film where art historians are portrayed as heroes on the silver screen –granted a bit past their prime but able to screw up their courage to capture a sniper, lose their lives in defense of Michaelangelo’s Bruge Madonna, and retrieve the entire Ghent Alterpiece just ahead of the looting Russians. The film is complete with patriotic music and outstanding images of the original works of art instead of the typical reproductions. The major facts are adhered to and the reality is driven home that many people died in the effort to retrieve the art important to world heritage with little support from the military, Congress and the White House.

Filed under: Film

On Saturday, January 25, 2014, New York’s Eyebeam Art + Technology Center held a panel discussion on fair use, art, and copyright online. The three speakers were Patricia Aufderheide, Codirector of the Center for Social Media at American University and one of the Principal Investigators for CAA’s Fair Use Initiative (http://www.cmsimpact.org/fair-use), Elisa Kreisinger, video artist and artist-in-residence at Eyebeam and Public Knowledge (http://elisakreisinger.wordpress.com/), and Michael Weinberg, Co-Vice President of Public Knowledge, a digital advocacy group in Washington DC (http://publicknowledge.org/).

Kreisinger began the discussion by presenting her work Mad Men: Set Me Free, a video based on dialogue among the female characters in the television series and remixed into an effective and witty feminist presentation. Kreisinger recounted the challenge she faced posting her video on YouTube, when the hosting site automatically took down the piece because of a scanning system that alerted Mad Men’s producer, Lionsgate Films, about the work. Lionsgate has an ongoing policy with YouTube that asks the company to remove anything from the site that uses their films and TV shows. Kreisinger is in the process of appealing this action. She organized Eyebeam’s panel in order to air her concerns and engage two advocates of the fair use principles that are part of the copyright law to open the discussion on what artists can do in similar situations. Kreisinger stated that when she was faced with YouTube takedowns, Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi’s book, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, was very helpful in guiding her actions. Especially as an artist working on her own, the book helped her prepare a fair use defense of using sections of the television series for her work.

Kreisinger then asked Aufderheide and Weinberg to discuss the principle of fair use. They described the original intent of copyright law: to promote the dissemination of creative work while attributing credit and ownership to the originator. The complexity of copyright law can be daunting to individual creators of new work. Fair use was instituted to allow users of copyrighted works greater leeway of access and use in certain circumstances. Reclaiming Fair Use discusses what the courts focus on in disputes regarding copyright and fair use: transformativeness (did you re-use the material for a new purpose, and thus add value to the work?) and appropriateness (did you use the right amount of the work, which could be up to 100% if you have a go od reason?). These questions set the priorities, for today’s courts, for interpreting the traditional “four factors” that the law sets down to consider: the character of the new use, the nature of the original work, the amount, and effect on market value.

But many artists don’t know their rights. Aufderheide discussed the Issues Report recently-released by CAA (http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/FairUseIssuesReport.pdf), which summarized 100 recent interviews with art historians, artists, museum curators, editors and publishers regarding issues with third-party images in creative and scholarly work. As she and Peter Jaszi, professor of law at American University, wrote in the report, 34% of the visual arts professionals interviewed altered or abandoned a work because of copyright: 21% were artists, 38.3% were art historians and curators and 57% were editors and publishers. This indicates a critical loss of creative and scholarly work due to complications and costs of copyright and licensing images. There is no doubt that confusion about the lawful use of fair use has led to a reluctance to employ it; this in turn has had a chilling effect on the visual arts community.

Kreisinger had completed a survey of digital artists, especially remixers, and discovered that many said they did know they had fair use rights, but found them blocked by scanning systems used by hosting platforms such as YouTube that identify copyrighted work. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 protects Internet hosts from monetary liability if they take down work that copyright holders claim infringes on their rights in a work. The automated systems finding digital matches do not discriminate between fair use and infringement. Sometimes artists’ work, even when employed under fair use, was matched with advertising according to a previous contract between Google and copyright holders, and sometimes it was taken down.  For many artists, it feels like a David and Goliath situation.

Both Aufderheide and Weinberg acknowledged the frustrating situation of the ad matches, and emphasized the importance of bringing counter-takedown notices when your work has been unfairly taken down. Most takedowns happen as a result of automatic searches of databases, which don’t distinguish fair uses from infringing uses. So counter-takedowns are crucial to keeping work circulating. Artists, they noted, get tired of contesting sometimes-bogus claims, but persistence is critical to preventing private censorship.

Aufderheide noted that it is hard to push back against a takedown notice unless you are sure you are within your fair use rights. In some fields, codes of best practices exist, identifying common practices that employ fair use, asserting the rationale for that employment and also showing fair use’s limits in those situations. The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video is one such code; another is the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. Both have been used by remixers making counter-takedown arguments.

The College Art Association has decided to create a code of best practices in fair use for the visual arts communities. Over the next six months Aufderheide and Jaszi will be conducting discussion groups to continue to develop a code of best practices in utilizing fair use for creative and scholarly work. These discussions will be held in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. with art historians, artists, museum curators, editors, publishers, visual resources officers and gallerists. They will provide a basis for the development of a code of best practices, which will be reviewed by CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property, its Task Force on Fair Use, and a Legal Advisory Committee. Once finalized, the code of best practices will be presented to the CAA Board of Directors for approval and widely disseminated.

Filed under: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Obama and Art History

posted by January 30, 2014

The College Art Association has great respect for President Obama’s initiative to provide all qualified students with an education that can lead to gainful employment. We support all measures that he, Congress, State Legislatures and colleges and universities can do to increase the opportunities for higher education. However, when these measures are made by cutting back on, denigrating or eliminating humanities disciplines such as art history, then America’s future generations will be discouraged from taking advantage of the values, critical and decisive thinking and creative problem solving offered by the humanities. It is worth remembering that many of the nation’s most important innovators, in fields including high technology, business, and even military service, have degrees in the humanities. Humanities graduates play leading roles in corporations, engineering, international relations, government, and many other fields where their skills and creating thinking play a critical role. Let’s not forget that education across a broad spectrum is essential to develop the skills and imagination that will enable future generations to create and take advantage of new jobs and employment opportunities of all sorts.

Read more coverage on this topic:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-art-history-majors-power-the-us-economy/2012/01/06/gIQAUv36hP_blog.html

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/31/obama-becomes-latest-politician-criticize-liberal-arts-discipline

http://chronicle.com/article/No-Laughing-Matter-/144327/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

http://hyperallergic.com/109775/presidents-obama-pens-personal-apology-to-an-art-historian/

Filed under: Government and Politics

Obama and Art History

posted by January 30, 2014

The College Art Association has great respect for President Obama’s initiative to provide all qualified students with an education that can lead to gainful employment. We support all measures that he, Congress, State Legislatures and colleges and universities can do to increase the opportunities for higher education. However, when these measures are made by cutting back on, denigrating or eliminating humanities disciplines such as art history, then America’s future generations will be discouraged from taking advantage of the values, critical and decisive thinking and creative problem solving offered by the humanities. It is worth remembering that many of the nation’s most important innovators, in fields including high technology, business, and even military service, have degrees in the humanities. Humanities graduates play leading roles in corporations, engineering, international relations, government, and many other fields where their skills and creating thinking play a critical role. Let’s not forget that education across a broad spectrum is essential to develop the skills and imagination that will enable future generations to create and take advantage of new jobs and employment opportunities of all sorts.

Read more coverage on this topic:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-art-history-majors-power-the-us-economy/2012/01/06/gIQAUv36hP_blog.html

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/31/obama-becomes-latest-politician-criticize-liberal-arts-discipline

http://chronicle.com/article/No-Laughing-Matter-/144327/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags:

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, NY) announced on Monday, November 22, 2013 his intent to introduce a revised Equity for Artists bill early in 2014. He and Senator Edward J. Markey (R-Mass) who will co-sponsor the bill finished a draft on Monday and support has already been committed by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D, Wis). The bill is similar to HR 3688 introduced last year and not acted upon by the Judiciary Committee. This bill maintains the 5% of the sales price for works auction for prices at $5,000 and above for living artists and those deceased plus 70 years, which follows the copyright law. The motivation for the bill is to ensure that artists do not lose out on any increase in value for future sales and provides reciprocity with the 70 countries that already have adopted similar legislation. The new bill eliminates the portion allocated in the first bill to art museums for new acquisitions. The AAMD requested that this clause be eliminated. Only those sales through auction houses are included in the bill. Nadler indicated that galleries were not included at this time in order to provide greater opportunity to get the bill passed.

Nadler spoke on Monday as part of a five-person panel sponsored by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) at Scandinavia House. In addition to Nadler the panel included Philippa S. Loengard, Assistant Director and Lecturer in Law, Kernochan Center, Columbia Law School; Karyn Temple Claggett, Associate Register of Copyrights; Director of Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Copyright Office; Theodore H. Feder, Ph.D., Founder and President, Artists Rights Society (ARS); and Sandra L. Cobden, General Counsel, Dispute Resolution and Legal Public Affairs, Christie’s. Loengard provided the historical context of artists’ resale royalty rights from the 1920s in France and the 2006 updated legislation of the European Union to the most recent legal action in the U.S. regarding the California resale royalty law originally instituted in 1976 and ruled unconstitutional by California Judge Nguyen. This case is currently on appeal brought by Chuck Close and other artists in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court and is expected to be decided early in 2014 http://clancco.com/wp/2012/05/art-law-droit-de-suite/.

At the request of Congressman Nadler the U.S. Copyright Office undertook an extensive study and analysis of the status of artists in regard to copyright and in relation to other artists such as writers, actors, screen writers and musicians who receive residuals for their work and whether artists are fully exploiting their rights within the current copyright law. The Copyright Office will issue their findings on or before December 12th. The issues they addressed were 1) financial—are visual artists benefiting within the allowance of the copyright law; 2) morality issues—are visual artists benefiting as well as other artists; 3) fairness—would this benefit a large number of professional artists, is the proposed amount reasonable and are the administrative aspects a burden; 4) limitations—what regulations or limitations should be put in place considering that the art market is generally unregulated. The Copyright Office requested formal comments in March and 59 individuals and organizations sent formal comments. On April 23, 2013 the Copyright Office held a hearing in which among other organizations, CAA made its case for the artists resale royalty represented by Anne Collins Goodyear, President. The Copyright Office also reviewed all the government studies on the effectiveness of the European Union system of resale royalties.

While many of the specifics of the Copyright Office could not be presented until it is published in December the following general observations were shared by Claggett: 1) Of all the world art markets, only China and the U.S. (the two largest art markets) do not have resale rights programs; 2) government studies indicate that these programs have no negative impact on the art market; 3) it is difficult to grasp how artists are hindered by current law and practice and the Copyright Office questions whether the resale royalty law is the best solution; 4) opposing parties are using the same statistical information to “prove” opposing perspectives on the legislation. The Copyright office staff refers to this as the “Rorschach Test.” Claggett stated that given the different perspectives on this issue that the Copyright Office report will not make any of the interested parties happy.

Ted Feder from ARS pointed out that this is only visual artists who currently do not get royalties and cited the current rates that Christie’s “taxes” buyers, from 20% to 25% and sellers from 1% to 10% depending on the price of the art work. He believes that the small percentage increase in sales required by the resale royalty legislation would be negligible to Christie’s clientele.

Sandra Cobden from Christie’s stated that while the auction house supports the rights and interests of artists it believes that the proposed resale royalty legislation is a “broken model.” She cited the study commissioned by Christie’s of the impact of the EU art market after the latest 2006 legislation where the art market in the EU grew 32% while that in the US grew 120% and China’s grew 121% in the same period. This was countered by Nadler who  indicated that the EU at that time was in a general economic slump. She also suggested that this legislation is unconstitutional since it would only require auction houses and no galleries or ecommerce sites to institute this system. Her solution is to abandon this legislation and amend the tax laws so that artists may deduct the sales price when donating works to art museums and non-profit institutions.

Watch

Art for Sale? Bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts from Sharon Flescher on Vimeo.

New Developments among ACLS Associations

posted by November 19, 2013

Each fall the ACLS convenes a meeting for the chief administrative officers (CAOs) of learned societies to exchange information on new developments in our organizations and to explore possible conference sites. This year’s conference was held in Louisville, KY. My takeaways from Louisville were the unforgettable gleaming white nine-ton Carrara marble statue of Louis XVI (the city’s namesake) by Achille-Joseph-Étienne Valois (1829) commissioned in 1829 by the king’s surviving daughter Marie-Thérèse which stands in front of the Louisville City Hall; and the contemporary art museum-cum-hotel called 21C with an installation of Pierre Gonnord’s striking photos of people in rural Spain and a great menu at the restaurant called Proof (as in bourbon).

Among the new developments within the 50 associations that attended were:

The CAOs also heard presentations from the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature on how these societies dealt with the threat of union strikes at their conference hotels.

Trevor Parry-Giles of the National Communication Association presented a history of the development of impact factors and the pros and cons, inflation and gaming of current systems such as Thomson Reuters http://thomsonreuters.com/journal-citation-reports/, SCImago http://www.scimagojr.com/, Google Scholar Metrics http://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=top_venues; and the latest metric under development, Microsoft Academic http://academic.research.microsoft.com/?SearchDomain=3&entitytype=2 . Digital factors have yet to be fully addressed such as counting downloads versus citations and tracing social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

In 1964 the ACLS supported a Commission on the Humanities whose report eventually led to the establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of the recommendations from the Commission were to fund the humanities at the level of the sciences, give more national emphasis on higher education humanities, attract a more diverse faculty, and a demand for faculty to work together. Three learned societies compared then and now. It was noted that there was enormous expansion in humanities departments in the 1960s and so many teaching positions that PhD candidates left school before finishing their degrees to take teaching positions. While the humanities have not attracted a more diverse faculty and faculty positions and departments have been compressed, one very positive result is that faculty has embraced collaboration in both formal (humanities and digital humanities centers) and informal ways, and advocacy of higher education in the public sphere has assisted greater understanding of the value of a humanities education.

Filed under: Humanities, Learned Societies