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CAA News Today

The official Google Book Settlement website recently posted an update that extends the deadline to file for an upfront payment in the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement. Authors whose works were scanned by Google on or before May 5, 2009, may be entitled to claim a cash payment once the amended settlement is approved. The former deadline was March 31, 2011. The new deadline is one year after the approval of the settlement—a date yet to be determined.

The lawsuit, titled Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc. (Case No. 05 CV 8136, S.D.N.Y.), was brought by authors and lawyers who claim that by scanning books still under copyright for the Google Books Library Project, Google violated the creators’ rights. The federal court originally approved a settlement to the lawsuit in November 2008, and then preliminarily approved an amended settlement in November 2009.

A second class-action suit for copyright infringement was brought against Google in April 2010 by visual artists excluded as plaintiffs in the first suit, including the American Society of Media Photographers, several other photography associations, the Graphic Artists Guild, and independent photographers and illustrators. The outcome of this case (No. 10 CV 2977, S.D.N.Y.) will be determined after the settlement of the first case.

What does the extended deadline mean for authors and publishers? According to the Google Book Settlement website, if “you did not previously opt out of the Original Settlement and do not opt out of the Amended Settlement, you are ‘in’ the Amended Settlement,” and you can claim your copyrighted material. The website contains all documents related to the settlement and forms and instructions for registering your work. The Authors Guild also publishes updates about the settlement.

CAA will publish an additional notice once the new deadline is established.

The Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors has reviewed and approved the support of the following statement, published on February 2, 2011, under the aegis of the Association of Art Museum Directors. You may download a PDF of the letter.

Statement regarding Egypt

New York, NY—February 2, 2011—Recent news reports about the turmoil in Egypt have varyingly reported that some damage was done to works of ancient art in Egyptian museums—and that those who attempted to do harm were stopped. Just as we worry about the safety of Egypt’s citizens in this time of civil unrest, so, too, do we worry about the safety of the country’s cultural heritage—works of art and material culture crucial to our understanding of world civilization and humanity.

We, the representatives of the leading American museums and university art and art history departments, stand with the people of Egypt in their determination to protect 5,000 years of history, including those objects from history that remain unexcavated. Our members—more than 21,000 institutions and individuals—stand ready to assist in any way possible to secure the art and artifacts of Egypt.

Association of Art Museum Directors, Kaywin Feldman, President
American Association of Museums, Ford Bell, President
Association of Art Museum Curators, John Ravenal, President
Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, David Alan Robertson, President
College Art Association, Barbara Nesin, President

Contact

Janet Landay and Christine Anagnos
Association of Art Museum Directors
212-754-8084

Sascha Freudenheim and Elizabeth Chapman
Resnicow Schroeder Associates
212-671-5172 and 212-671-5159

CAA will highlight intellectual property and copyright in two back-to-back sessions at the 2011 Annual Conference. First, CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property will host an informal, participatory session on the rapidly changing world of copyright as it affects the work of contemporary artists and scholars. A second panel, part of the regular conference program, will trace the evolution of intellectual property since ancient times. Both sessions will take place on Friday, February 11, 2011, at the Hilton New York, the conference headquarters hotel. The first will be held in Petit Trianon, Third Floor (12:30–2:00 PM); and the second moves to Gramercy A, Second Floor (2:30–5:00 PM).

For the committee-sponsored “Copyright, CAA, and the Next Century,” the session cochairs—Ken Cavalier, an art historian and lawyer based in British Columbia, and Christine Sundt, editor of Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation—will facilitate discussion about today’s critical issues. Open to the public, the session allows attendees to speak freely on issues they think CAA should address, or that are starting to brew regarding copyright in the United States and Canada. Cavalier and Jeffrey Cunard, CAA’s counsel, will serve as legal experts and guides, and committee members will be on hand to answer questions. CAA is especially interested in how it can improve coverage of intellectual-property issues on its website, in its conference sessions, and in outreach efforts, as well as how the organization can define its leadership role (and work with other groups) to advocate copyright legislation that benefits the artistic community.

For the program session, “Intellectual Property in the Visual Arts, Antiquity through Early Modern,” Beth Holman, an independent scholar and the session’s chair, will shift the focus from print and print privileges to shed light on other strategies of asserting and protecting intellectual property. Kristen Seaman of Kennesaw State University will talk about “Ancient Greek Theories of Authorship and the Creation of Art History,” and Giancarla Periti of the University of Toronto will speak on “Authorship and Early Modern Manuscript Collections of Antiquarian Artifacts.” Moving forward chronologically, C. Jean Campbell of Emory University will discuss “Working Knowledge: Ownership and the Representation of Inventive Capacity in Early Renaissance Art,” and Alexandra Hoare of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts will address “‘Né tocchi mai da nessuno’: Salvator Rosa’s Contribution to Seventeenth-Century Concepts of Intellectual Property.” Ken Cavalier will serve as the session’s discussant.

The Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors adopted the following statement on December 7, 2010. At the bottom of the page is information about a special session at the upcoming CAA Annual Conference, chaired by Jonathan Katz, a scholar and the cocurator of Hide/Seek.

CAA Statement

The College Art Association regrets the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, on display at the National Portrait Gallery. It was taken out on November 30 by G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in response to outside pressure. CAA further expresses profound disappointment that the House speaker–designate, John A. Boehner of Ohio, and the incoming majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, have used their positions to question future funding for the Smithsonian Institution.

CAA applauds the National Portrait Gallery for its groundbreaking exhibition, which presents the long-suppressed subject of same-sex orientation. Furthermore, CAA commends the thorough, pioneering scholarship and the challenging curatorial judgment made by the organizers of Hide/Seek—David C. Ward, a historian at the museum, and Jonathan Katz, director of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. That the work of everyone involved has been heedlessly compromised is deeply troubling. The pressure brought to bear on the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian sounds a familiar note from 1989, when direct federal funding to artists was ended due to political pressure. Then as now, CAA strongly protests such tactics.

Government has a long tradition of supporting universities, museums, and libraries—institutions that have produced research that expresses a variety of positions on all subjects. Freedom of expression is one of the great strengths of American democracy and one that our country holds up as a model for emerging democracies elsewhere. Americans understand that ideas expressed in books and artworks are those of their makers, not of the institutions that house them, and certainly do not represent public policy.

CAA urges all members to let your senators and representatives know of your support for the exhibition, its curators, and the National Portrait Gallery. You may also use advocacy tools provided by the National Humanities Alliance or Americans for the Arts.

Special Conference Session

This week CAA invited Jonathan Katz, cocurator of Hide/Seek, to chair a special Centennial session at the 2011 Annual Conference in New York. He will present “Against Acknowledgement: Sexuality and the Instrumentalization of Knowledge” on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 9:30 AM–NOON in the Rendezvous Trianon Room at the Hilton New York. Please check the conference website soon for a list of panelists, their institutional affiliations, and topics of discussion.

In the past week, numerous art and museum associations, advocacy groups, nonprofit and commercial galleries, art critics, and newspapers have spoken out against the removal of an artwork by David Wojnarowicz that was on view in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. CAA is compiling a list of organizations, companies, and people who have published official statements, editorials, and letters to the editor.

Organizations

Critics, Journalists, Scholars, and Curators

Museums and Galleries

Press and Publishing

Social Networking and Web Resources

The above list will be cumulative. If you would like to send CAA a link to an official or organizational statement, please write to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor.

On November 30, G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, ordered the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from display at the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, incoming Republican leaders in Congress urged that the entire exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, be closed. Thankfully this did not happen.

Our government clearly needs to hear from you. At this critical time of federal budget planning—when sufficient funding for the Smithsonian museums may be in doubt—it is crucial that you let Capitol Hill know about your support for the visual arts, humanities, and art museums. CAA encourages you register and take part in three upcoming events this winter and spring in Washington, DC: Museums Advocacy Day, Humanities Advocacy Day, and Arts Advocacy Day. At each, participants meet their senators and representatives in person to advocate for increased federal support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Previous lobbying experience isn’t necessary. Training sessions and practice talks take place the day before the main events—that’s why, for example, Arts Advocacy Day is actually two days, not one. Participants are also prepped on the critical issues and the range of funding requested of Congress to support these federal agencies. It is at these training sessions where you meet—and network with—other advocates from your states. The main sponsoring organization for each event makes congressional appointments for you.

You may have mailed a letter or sent a prewritten email to your congressperson or senator before, but legislators have an algorithm of interest for pressing issues, in which a personal visit tops all other forms of communication. As citizen lobbyists, it’s also important to have a few specific examples about how arts funding has affected you: don’t be afraid to name-drop major cultural institutions—such as your city’s best-known museum or nonprofit art center—in your examples of why the visual arts matter in your state.

If you cannot attend the three advocacy days in person, please send an email or fax to your representatives expressing your concern about continued and increased funding for the visual arts. If you don’t know your representative or senators, you can look them up at www.congress.org.

Museums Advocacy Day

The American Association of Museums (AAM) leads Museums Advocacy Day, taking place February 28–March 1, 2011, with support from numerous other nonprofit organizations. AAM is developing the legislative agenda for this year’s event. Likely issues will include federal funding for museums, museums and federal education policy, and charitable giving issues affecting museums. The entire museum field is welcome to participate: staff, volunteers, trustees, students, and even museum enthusiasts. Museums Advocacy Day is the ideal chance for new and seasoned advocates to network with museum professionals from their state and meet with congressional offices. Register online now.

Humanities Advocacy Day

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sponsors Humanities Advocacy Day, to be held March 7–8, 2011, in conjunction with its annual meeting. Scholars, higher education and association leaders, and policy makers will convene first at George Washington University for the conference and then on Capitol Hill for congressional visits and a reception. The preliminary program includes NHA’s annual business meeting for voting members, commentary on the postelection landscape, discussion of humanities funding and other policy issues, a luncheon and keynote address, and presentations of current work in the humanities. Learn more about registration.

Arts Advocacy Day

To be held April 4–5, 2011, Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together America’s cultural and civic organizations with hundreds of grassroots advocates, all of whom will underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Sponsored by Americans for the Arts, the event starts at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on the first day, before advocates head to Capitol Hill on the second. Registration is open now.

CAA joined with artists and other arts-support organizations in filing an amicus brief asking the US Supreme Court to grant a petition to review a case involving an artwork removed from public view in San Marcos, Texas. In that case, Kleinman v. City of San Marcos, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the First Amendment only protects “great” works of art.

The brief explains how this new, “great” art standard is inconsistent with the First Amendment and would give governments the ability to ban disfavored art and contemporary art that has not yet become iconic. It points out that whether art is “great” art is not susceptible to an objective, value-neutral determination, but would require courts to act as art critics based on expert evidence of what constitutes “greatness” in art. The brief also highlights a number of examples of artists and art whose work was not initially regarded as “great,” but only became so over time. For all of these reasons, the brief argues, the new and unprecedented “great” art standard of the Fifth Circuit is troubling, and the Supreme Court should review and reverse the appellate decision.

Background

In the city of San Marcos, Texas, participants at a charity event for the opening of a store, Planet K, were invited to smash up an old car. The car was then converted into a cactus planter and painted on the exterior by two local artists, with scenes from San Marcos, abstract designs, and the phrase “Make Love, Not War.” The stated intention of one of the petitioners, Michael Kleinman, organizer of the event and owner of the store, was always to turn the wrecked car into an artwork. The resulting artwork was displayed on private property (the Planet K parking lot) and was easily visible to the public from thoroughfares.

A San Marcos ordinance prohibits, as a public nuisance, any display of a “junked vehicle” that can been seen by the public. Based on the First Amendment—that their artwork is protected speech—Kleinman and the artists sued the city, to enjoin it from applying the ordinance to their artwork. The US District Court for the Western District of Texas found for the city. The court held that the ordinance did not violate the First Amendment, as applied to plaintiffs’ artwork, because they had alternative avenues of communicating their message.

This past February, the Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision. It first questioned whether the wrecked car/planter/artwork could be considered constitutionally protected expression. In particular, the appeals court read a prior Supreme Court decision to indicate that the First Amendment protects only “great” works of art, and that the Supreme Court has not otherwise set out the First Amendment framework to be applied to visual works of art. The Fifth Circuit also went on to hold that even if the First Amendment did apply in this case, under prevailing standards the city’s nuisance law could apply to the artwork. After the decision of the Fifth Circuit, the city seized and removed—but has not yet destroyed—the artwork.

The artists filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, requesting that the court review the decision of the Fifth Circuit. There are several grounds for the petition, one of which is that “great art” should not be the test for whether an artwork is protected by the First Amendment.

First Amendment protection for works of art has long been a core concern of CAA and important to its advocacy program. In the last Supreme Court term, CAA joined the National Coalition Against Censorship in filing an amicus brief in the case of United States v. Stevens. In that case, the Supreme Court ultimately held, 8–0, that the federal statute criminalizing depictions of animal cruelty violated the First Amendment, agreeing with the position taken by CAA in its brief. Earlier, CAA joined an amicus brief in the NEA Four case (National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley), in which the Supreme Court ultimately held, in 1998, that it was not unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that the National Endowment for the Arts take into account “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public” when funding artists.

Other Signers to the Brief

The amicus brief to which CAA is a party was filed on July 8, 2010. The other signers are: Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts; Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (formerly Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts); Northwest Lawyers and Artists (Portland, Oregon); Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; ArtCar Fest; the artist historian Douglas Nickel; and artists Butch Hancock, Kelly Lyles, Leo Aston, Alan Pogue, Jan D. Elftman, Philo Northrup, Harrod Blank, Emily Duffy, and Graydon Parrish.

Downloads

Download a PDF of the Kleinman amicus brief. A second PDF contains the petition for certiorari, the District Court and Fifth Circuit opinions, and, at the end of the file, photographs of the artwork in question.

According to a new report published by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Americans who participate in the arts through the internet, television, radio, computers, and handheld devices are almost three times more likely to attend live arts events than nonmedia participants (59 percent versus 21 percent). Users of technology and electronic media also attend, on average, twice as many live arts events—six versus three in a single year—and see a wider variety of genres.

The report, called Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation, looks at who is participating in the arts through electronic media, what factors affect their participation, and the relationships among media-based arts activities, live attendance, and personal arts creation. Audience 2.0 has determined that media-based arts participation appears to encourage—rather than replace—attendance at live arts events. Among the conclusions:

  • Education continues to be the best predictor of arts participation among adults, both for live attendance and through electronic media. Survey respondents with at least some college education were more likely than respondents with a grade-school education to have used electronic media to participate in the arts
  • For many Americans—primarily older Americans, lower-income earners, and racial/ethnic minority groups—electronic media is the only way they participate in arts events
  • The 15.4 percent of US adults who use media only to engage with the arts are equally likely to be urban or rural
  • Twenty-one percent (47 million) of all US adults reported using the internet to view music, theater, or dance performances in the last twelve months. Twenty-four percent (55 million) obtained information about the arts online

Audience 2.0 expands on the research published in the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). This survey, conducted in partnership with the US Census Bureau and released last year, is the nation’s largest, most representative study of arts participation among American adults. Since 1982, SPPA has measured American adult participation in activities such as visits to art museums or galleries and attendance at jazz and classical music concerts, opera and ballet performances, and musical and nonmusical plays. SPPA categorizes these as “benchmark” activities, providing a standard group of arts activities for more than two decades of consistent trend analysis. Audience 2.0 takes a closer look at how audiences use electronic media to engage in these benchmark activities.

In an agency first, the new report is being released only in an electronic format that includes multimedia features. Chairman Rocco Landesman’s video greeting is accompanied by a video commentary on the report from Sunil Iyengar, NEA director of research and analysis. Additionally, each chapter will open with videos from arts organizations that represent each of the benchmark disciplines tracked by the report. Arts organizations can use findings from Audience 2.0 to better understand their audiences’ uses of technology and electronic media.

As part of its ongoing analysis of SPPA data, the NEA is making raw data and detailed statistical tables available to researchers and the public. The tables highlight demographic factors affecting adult participation in a variety of art forms.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has released a podcast interview with Susan Blakney, a senior painting conservator and the founder of Westlake Conservators. She traveled to Haiti May 4–8, 2010, to assess the conservation needs of artwork damaged by the January earthquake.

Blakney and two other conservators visited a dozen museums, which she reports have made great strides in retrieving and storing damaged artwork. She describes seeing five hundred paintings that were stacked “in a pile like pancakes,” awaiting conservation care. Haitians are anxious to save their paintings, which are one of their “national loves and largest exports,” she says. However, the country does not have the materials it needs to conserve these integral parts of its social history, she adds. Conservators will be needed for many years to help restore the country’s artwork and to train Haitian artists on conservation techniques. Blakney is certain that the paintings she assessed can be restored to exhibition standards.

Blakney was part of emergency conservation team sent to Haiti by the American Institute for Conservation (a CAA affiliated society) with support from IMLS. These efforts are part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Haitian Cultural Recovery Project, which is also receiving support from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Broadway League. The US Committee of the Blue Shield, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to the protection of cultural property affected by conflict or natural disasters, is serving as the international coordinator of this conservation effort.

The following twenty-one United States senators signed onto the Dear Colleague letter circulated by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) earlier this month. The letter, which supported increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), was submitted last week. If your senator(s) signed on, please send a thank-you email using the National Humanities Alliance’s website. A customizable form letter is posted on the Online Advocacy Tools section.

A PDF of the Dear Colleague letter, addressed to Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HA) and Vice Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS), and to Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), is available for download.

Final List of Signatures

Tom Udall (D-NM), letter sponsor
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Filed under: Government and Politics