President Obama joined the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in celebrating the agency’s 50th anniversary, with the message that “The arts and humanities have always been central to the American experience.”
The full greeting reads as follows:
September 28, 2015
I am pleased to join in marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965.
The arts and humanities have always been central to the American experience. Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson helped lift up this legacy by establishing the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, affirming: “The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.” Today, President Johnson’s vision—of a society that honors its artistic and cultural heritage and encourages its citizens to carry that heritage forward—endures as an essential part of who we are as a Nation.
Through their efforts to shape a future of opportunity and creativity for all, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities reflect a notion that has always driven America’s promise—that ours is a country where all things are possible for all people. If we join in common purpose and continue believing in the possibilities of tomorrow, I know that groundbreaking explorations and innovations—in the humanities, in the arts, and throughout our society—will always lie ahead.
As you reflect on a half century of progress, you have my best wishes.
About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
During a conference call on July 9, 2015, with representatives of learned societies, auction houses, and government agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed that looting of antiquities in Syria and Iraq has taken place. They have also received confirmation from informants and found evidence of industrial levels of looting from satellite photos. The FBI asked the participants on the call to ask their constituents to follow due diligence and to reach out if anyone suspects objects to have been looted. They emphasized that most of the art market is relatively “clean,” meaning that most objects bought and sold have not been looted or illegally sold. However, it usually takes two years for looted items to begin to flood the market.
The FBI requested expert cooperation. Trafficking in cultural property is covered by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property and by the US Criminal Code, in which it is considered criminal to “providing material support” if an expert in antiquities even suspects that objects have been looted and a report is not made to the FBI. one can call 855-835-5324.
The responsibility of the FBI is to dismantle illegal trafficking networks, not to provide data or set policy. The FBI is currently working on outreach that will better inform the public, create more awareness, and address reporting procedures.
CAA has invited FBI to address CAA members at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2016, on what antiquities experts should be aware of if they suspect they have found looted objects, and if reporting to the FBI would involve antiquities experts in legal processes and disclosure to the public. The FBI will also provide an update of the sites that have been looted in Syria and Iraq, and they will address current criminal law and international treaties related to sale, purchase, and possession of antiquities.
Improve Opportunities for International Cultural Activity; Support the Arts Requirement Timely Service (ARTS) Act
posted by CAA — July 10, 2015
The CAA Board of Directors has approved its support of the following notice.
Improve Opportunities for International Cultural Activity
Support the Arts Requirement Timely Service (ARTS) Act
We write to urge your support for the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, which improves processing for visa petitions filed by, or on behalf of, nonprofit arts-related organizations by simply ensuring enforcement of current statutory requirements.
Action now will ensure that the U.S. visa process for artists is reliable, efficient, and affordable. Congress recognized the time-sensitive nature of arts events when writing the 1991 federal law regarding O and P visas, in which the USCIS is currently instructed to process O and P arts visas in 14 days. While USCIS has made recent efforts to observe this timeframe, there is a history of extreme unpredictability in the timing of the artist visa process, with wait times of up to six months.
The ARTS Act would consistently reduce the USCIS processing times for nonprofit O and P arts-related visa petitions to a total of 29 days—twice the current statutory requirement. USCIS would be required to treat any nonprofit arts-related O and P visa petition that it fails to adjudicate within the current statutory 14-day timeframe as a Premium Processing case (an additional 15-day turn-around time), free of additional charge. Previous consideration of the ARTS Act has had strong bipartisan support.
American nonprofit arts organizations and artists—in communities large and small across our country—provide an important public service and boost international diplomacy by presenting foreign guest artists in performances, educational events, and cultural programs in communities across the country. Only with consistent improvements over time, will confidence in the U.S. visa process continue to be re-built among U.S. petitioning organizations and foreign artists alike, greatly enhancing international cultural exchange.
Enactment of this provision will make enduring improvements to the visa process. Please support the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act.
American Alliance of Museums
American Association of Independent Music
American Federation of Musicians
Americans for the Arts
Association of Art Museum Directors
Association of Performing Arts Presenters
Chamber Music America Dance/USA
League of American Orchestras
Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education
National Alliance for Musical Theatre
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures
Network of Ensemble Theaters
New Music USA
North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents
Performing Arts Alliance
The Recording Academy
Theatre Communications Group
CAA sent the following letter on April 9, 2015.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Letter
Daniel Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Mr. Ashe:
We are writing on behalf of the 11,000 art historians, curators, artists and conservators who comprise the membership of the College Art Association, a learned society for higher education professionals in the visual arts, regarding the changes suggested by the Association of Art Museum Directors to the proposed regulations, “Endangered Species Listed Objects and Objects with African Elephant Ivory (“Objects”).
CAA supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s and the Association of Art Museum Directors’ efforts to end the poaching of elephant tusks throughout Africa and to end the commercial gain from these slaughters. At the same time we also understand the difficulties that import and export regulations impose on museums, collectors and conservators to traveling exhibitions, loans of individual art works, bequests of works of art, donations of art works and importation of art objects that contain ivory.
We support the Association of Art Museum Director’s suggested changes and respectfully request that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife adopt these changes to the Endangered Species Listed Objects and Objects with African Elephant Ivory.
DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President
Linda Downs, Executive Director
Cc: Judith McHale
Chair Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking
c/o Cane Investments, LLC
3 West Main St.
Irvington, NY 10533
Americans for the Arts sent the following email on March 24, 2015
Today is Arts Advocacy Day!
Today, Americans for the Arts and its affiliate the Arts Action Fund celebrate National Arts Advocacy Day, part of the National Arts Action Summit, with thousands of arts advocates across the country and hundreds of partnering state, local, and national arts and arts education organizations.
If you can’t join us in Washington, DC, today, then join us by letting your member of Congress know that you support the arts!
Today, more than 550 dedicated arts supporters from 48 states will come together in Washington, DC, for the 28th annual Arts Advocacy Day, the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations.
- Participating in events are actor and Turnaround Artist Doc Shaw; actress, writer, dancer, and Americans for the Arts Artists Committee Member Victoria Rowell, American actress and playwright Holland Taylor, musicians Marc Roberge and Richard On from the American rock band O.A.R, and singer and performer Grace Weber
- Last night, multi–Grammy Award winning artist COMMON introduced the 28th Annual Americans for the Arts’ Nancy Hanks Lecturer on Arts and Public Policy and groundbreaking television producer, author, and social activist, Norman Lear, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
These hundreds of arts advocates represent a united effort to tell Capitol Hill how important the arts are to our communities, how much arts education means to our future, and how the arts improve our daily lives. With 87 national cosponsoring organizations, Arts Advocacy Day helps shape this united arts message to Congress.
Ways You Can Take Part
Ask your members of Congress to support the arts. Visit our E-Advocacy Center and you’ll be able to send a message in less than two minutes directly to your representative and senators telling them why the arts are important to you and your community. Take two minutes and send your message to Congress today!
Join the discussion on the Arts Advocacy Day Facebook page.
On Twitter? Tweet your proarts support, follow @Americans4Arts, and track all the action in Washington, DC, at #AAD15 and #ArtsVote!
Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.
Thank you for your support of the arts.
CAA has signed on to this Petition to the US Copyright Office for Proposed Exemption Under 17 U.S.C. 1201 to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for the use of audiovisual media by college and university students or faculty in an educational setting. The DMCA prevents users from unlocking digital media or software. Congress has allowed review of the DMCA every three years to determine whether the law is affecting legitimate use of audiovisual material. In compliance to this three-year review the US Copyright Office has requested that examples be gathered of evidence where students or faculty were stopped from including a video clip in their teaching materials because of no access to decryption codes.
Student lawyers at American University are working on gathering examples and would appreciate hearing from those CAA members who have attempted to use audiovisual material from DVDs or off the web and were prevented from doing so. Please refer to the Google Form created to gather evidence and provide an easy forum for individuals to share their stories. This information will then be sent to the US Copyright Office to demonstrate the need for an exemption for students and faculty use of locked audiovisual materials. Deadline: December 30, 2014.
We would also like to share a piece for Forbes, written by Peter Decherney, which is an interesting read about some of the technology policy issues raised by the DMCA rulemaking.
Thank you for participating in this important petition.
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/.
Anne Collins Goodyear, President
Linda Downs, Executive Director and CEO
posted by Linda Downs — March 26, 2014
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.” 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. 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, 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).
“Orphan works” constitute a class of materials for which no copyright owner can be located. 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. 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.”
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or President Anne Collins Goodyear (AGoodyear@bowdoin.edu) by April 7th.
 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.
 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.
 Due to the strong outpouring of interest in the topic, participation by each organization had to be limited, and CAA prioritized these sessions.
 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.”
 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.
Humanities Advocacy Day 2014, sponsored by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), took place in Washington, DC, on Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11, 2014. As a member of NHA, CAA supports that organization’s advocacy efforts and sends representatives to its annual meeting each year. CAA’s participation in these activities allows the association to promote the visual arts and to persuade others—in this case the members of both houses of Congress—to embrace the value of the humanities in education and in daily life.
The annual meeting on Monday included an opening welcome by George Washington University’s president, Steven Knapp, followed by a presentation by Stephen Kidd, NHA executive director, outlining the alliance’s advocacy agenda for the year. Knapp introduced additional speakers whose interests and projects intersect with the NHA’s four-pronged argument for stressing the value of the humanities: promoting opportunity for all Americans, fostering innovation and economic competitiveness, ensuring productive global engagement, and strengthening civic knowledge and practice. Knapp also identified two initiatives outside Congress to promote the humanities in the public sphere: Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact (see item 5) and Call for Videos. Aimed directly at the public rather than elected officials, these initiatives will help to establish to those outside the academy that the humanities are an area worth funding.
David Scobey, executive dean of the New School for Public Engagement, presented a talk called “E Pluribus Anthology: Why American Communities Need the Humanities,” which advocated a return to civic engagement as a way of reigniting the humanities. Carol Muller, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed a community project that she directs, West Philadelphia Music, which amplified Scobey’s argument. Other speakers during the day included Elva LeBlanc, president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College, who spoke on the relevancy of higher education and the importance of preparing students for change and complexity; and Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System. In the afternoon, Humanities Advocacy Day participants received issue briefs and background material concerning proposed funding levels for federal humanities programs and position papers that were helpful in preparing for congressional visits.
On Tuesday, six NHA delegates from the state of New York (listed in the next paragraph) visited the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Tom Reed, and José E. Serrano. In each instance, the group urged senators and representatives to support specific fiscal-year budgets for the National Endowment for the Humanities ($154.4 million), the Institute for Museum and Library Services ($226.5 million), and the Library of Congress ($593 million), and to properly fund the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Title VI/Fulbright-Hays international programs. NHA delegates also asked their legislators to sign “Dear Colleague” letters in support of these budgets based on the alliance’s funding recommendations, which are higher than those proposed by the Obama administration.
The New York delegates from NHA were: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication for the Modern Language Association; Peter Berkery Jr., executive director of the Association of American University Presses; Jennifer Steenshorne, junior associate editor for Columbia University Libraries; Jonathan Gilad, program assistant at the American Political Science Association; Michael Fahlund, CAA deputy director; and Betty Leigh Hutcheson, CAA director of publications.
Baldwin, Markey, and Nadler Introduce Legislation to Level the Playing Field for American Visual Artists
posted by Christopher Howard — February 27, 2014
US Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ed Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) have introduced legislation to level the playing field for visual artists in the United States by establishing copyright protections for their intellectual property.
“Artists and arts organizations make valuable contributions to our communities and strengthen our quality of life. Just as our copyright laws extend to musicians and authors to encourage their artistic creativity, they should also apply to our visual artists,” said Senator Baldwin, who serves on the National Council on the Arts. “The ART Act is a commonsense measure that helps protect the intellectual property of our artists.”
“Our visual artists are critical cultural contributors, and the ART Act ensures they are fairly compensated for their work,” said Senator Markey. “Their creativity is a currency that should be properly valued. The ART Act also brings the United States in line with over seventy other countries, so that American artists can receive royalties when their works are sold overseas.”
“American artists are being treated unfairly,” said Congressman Nadler, who first introduced a version of the ART Act in 2011 and serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Courts, Intellectual Property, and Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. “At a time when more than seventy other countries properly compensate visual artists for their work, it is time for the United States to do the same. The ART Act will ensure that visual artists get the compensation they deserve and will no longer be at a disadvantage on the international art market. It is the only fair thing to do.”
“Visual artists are the only members of the creative community in the United States who do not receive residual payments for their works. Composers, lyricists, actors, playwrights, screenwriters all deservedly receive royalties for the later productions, performances, or sales of their works,” said Frank Stella, one of the most renowned artists in the world and recipient of the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2009. “Unfortunately, visual artists in the US do not earn a penny in residual or resale payments. The benefits derived from the appreciation in the later sale of their works accrue entirely to the collectors, auction houses, and galleries. The adoption of the droit de suite in my country is therefore long overdue.”
Under current copyright law, visual artists—painters, sculptors, and photographers—are denied the ability to fully benefit from the success of their work over time. Unlike recording artists or publishers who, if successful, sell thousands of copies of their work and recoup a royalty from each purchase, artists sell their work only once. If they are successful, the price of their work increases but they recoup nothing if their original work is resold at a much higher price. The benefits derived from the appreciation in the price of a visual artists’ work typically accrues to collectors, auction houses, and galleries, not to the artist. In addition, United States artists are at a disadvantage in the global art market where more than seventy other countries have provided resale royalty rights for visual artists. The American Royalties, Too (ART) Act of 2014 remedies this inequity by providing a modest resale royalty right for visual artists.
The ART Act would:
- Provide a competitive resale royalty of five percent of the sales price (up to $35,000) for any work of visual art sold at auction for $5,000 or more
- The resale royalty applies to any auction where the entity conducting the auction has sold at least $1 million of visual art during the previous year
- Royalties are collected by visual artists’ copyright collecting societies who must distribute the royalties to the artists or their heirs at least four times per year
- Allows US artists to collect resale royalties when their works are sold at auction in the European Union and more than seventy other countries
- The ART Act requires further study by the Copyright Office after five years to determine the effects of the resale royalty on the art market and whether it should be expanded to cover works sold by dealers and other art market professionals
The ART Act includes many recommendations from the US Copyright Office’s December 2013 report, entitled Resale Royalties: An Updated Analysis.