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CAA Needs Your Copyright Anecdotes!

posted by March 15, 2005

The College Art Association is preparing to file formal comments with the U.S. Copyright Office in support of a proposal to alter the current copyright law to address the problem of "orphan works"— works that are still in copyright, but where the copyright holder cannot be found and the rights cleared.

Scholars and publishers working in 20th-century art are familiar with this problem: You want to publish a picture or quote a text; you are ready to clear permissions and pay any necessary fees, but you can’t find the artist or author, or an estate. What do you do?

CAA needs your anecdotes as soon as possible, detailing specific examples where you were unable to use material in your research or publication because you could not find the rights holder, or where you were obliged to publish without obtaining permission, after making every effort to find a rights holder. Your stories will be cited anonymously, without identifying information, and sources will be kept confidential.

Summary of the U.S. Copyright Office Initiative
The U.S. Copyright Office has begun a proceeding to seek information about "orphan works." Orphan works are works (images/photos, letters, books, works of art, and others) that are still formally protected by copyright, but where a potential user—scholar, teacher, artist, publisher or other person or institution—is unable to clear rights because a) there is no copyright information associated with the work; b) the information is inadequate or inaccurate; or c) attempts to contact possible rights holders have proved futile (no one at last known address; publisher out of business, no responses to letters, etc.). Examples of such orphan works might be unsourced/uncredited photographs in older books; foreign works without copyright information; unsigned works of art; and letters written by persons who died within the last seventy years but who left no (findable) heirs. For CAA members, the problems posed by orphan works can be considerable. The Copyright Office has recognized that there is some value in being able to use these works, even if rights cannot be cleared. The Copyright Office issued a Notice seeking information on the "orphan works" problem on January 26, 2005.

The problem of finding the holders of rights in orphan works has been exacerbated by the recent extension of the term of copyright, which has postponed the date on which certain older works would otherwise enter the public domain (usually if the author has died before 1923). However, the problem of orphan works is certainly not confined to older works; information accompanying far newer and even recent works may also be inadequate for a user today to find the rights holder.

What CAA Is Doing
The College Art Association, with many others (including libraries, museums, public-interest groups and associations), plans to file comments in response to this Notice. CAA will ask the Copyright Office to recognize the substantial problems posed for individual users, publishers, museums, libraries and others by their inability to clear rights in orphan works. As part of the proceeding, the Copyright Office will consider proposals for ways to improve this situation. These might include amending the copyright law to permit uses of orphan works without users being unduly fearful that rightful copyright owners might emerge to claim a copyright infringement. This is an opportunity for us to make our voices heard in Washington on how copyright affects us!

Letter to the Editor at the New York Times

To the Editor:

David Staba’s June 7th article highlights the vulnerability of the freedom of artistic expression since the enactment of the USA Patriot Act. Based on Staba’s report, Steve Kurtz’s detention and the grand jury investigation being faced by him and some fellow members of the Critical Art Ensemble appear unwarranted. Such actions adversely affect art and arts-related institutions and chill the right of Americans to question authority.

The College Art Association urges Congress to carefully review the USA Patriot Act. Since some of these provisions are likely to be abused, we strongly support not renewing the USA Patriot Act.

The artistic freedoms established by America have long been sources of national pride and have been emulated by other nations. Revoking the extreme measures incorporated into the USA Patriot Act will insure that the US once more becomes the standard against which we measure artistic freedom of expression throughout the world.

Ellen K. Levy, President
Susan Ball, Executive Director
College Art Association

Click here to read David Staba’s article in the New York Times

CAA has also sent a letter to the US Attorney in Buffalo, NY involved in this case to express our concern that a Joint Terrorism Taskforce (JTTF) has issued grand jury sobpoenas to call members of the Critical Arts Ensemble before a grand jury. Our letter states that we fear that the JTTF’s actions could exert a chilling effect on speech, including artistic freedom of expression.

Background – In October 2003 the House passed by unanimous voice vote HR 3077 to reauthorize Title VI — the section of the Higher Education Act (HEA) dealing with foreign language and international studies. It was referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee which is likely take it up during 2004. The House bill contains several improvements over present legislation, but it also includes an advisory board for Title VI projects. The HR 3077 advisory board would have extraordinary powers to investigate individual faculty members and specific classes on campus that are of concern to many because of its significant potential for politicization.

The Senate HELP Committee staff is currently hoping to write and complete its own bill sometime early in the year. [Note that the Higher Education Act is scheduled to be reauthorized by the end of September 2004.] The Senate HELP Committee may or may not choose to incorporate the House amendments to Title VI in their own bill. However, since HR 3077 passed the House without significant dissent, several majority members are said to be giving the House amendments very serious consideration.

Appropriate actions to take now – Congress will reconvene in mid to late January. We understand that many in our community wish to express their views about the HR 3077 advisory board and other provisions in the House bill. The following are some suggested ways of acting on this:

1. Make calls to Senate HELP Committee staff briefly expressing your concerns to frame the debate. Below is a list of talking points for a conversation. [A contact list for Members and key staff follows.] If you have a Member on the committee, then call that office. If not, then call the committee offices of Senators Gregg and Kennedy, the chair and ranking minority members respectively. You might also contact your own Senators about this issue.

Points for a conversation:

a.) The House passed International Education bill (HR 3077), which is part of the Higher Education Act and would reauthorize Title VI. The Senate has not yet really started to deal with this issue but it is important that you know of concerns about the House bill.

b.) In general, there are many aspects of the bill that are quite good and merit support, not the least of which is that all Title VI programs are extended in tact.

c.) The House bill also creates what it calls an “advisory board” that, in fact, is much more. This board has the power to “investigate” individual faculty members and specific classes on campus and it can issue reports. An advisory board ought to be truly advisory. It shouldn’t have broad, nearly unlimited powers and it should not be free of reasonable supervision by the Department of Education. What’s more, the composition of the board is too narrow to reflect the broad range of needs in international education.

d.) The Senate may choose other, alternative mechanisms to strengthen how Title VI meets its mission. If the Senate chooses the advisory body approach, I urge a properly constructed advisory board: that its powers are well defined and simply advisory; and that it falls under the supervisory authority of the Secretary of Education, as do other advisory boards for comparable programs such as the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

e.) Please urge the Senator to make sure that any Senate bill addresses these concerns.

2. Write/fax letters to your Member on the Senate HELP Committee, or if your state is not represented on the committee, write to Senators Gregg and Kennedy with a copy to your two Senators. [Note: Because of security procedures, letters take unpredictable amounts of time to reach members of Congress. Therefore faxing letters before or instead of mailing is preferred.]

Points to make:

a.) As the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee prepares to act on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, I write to share information about Title VI programs at [University of ____, or other institution] as well as some observations on the House passed bill, HR 3077, the International Studies in Higher Education Act.

b) Provide evidence of outstanding Title VI activities that contradict recent charges against Title VI, such as:

* alumni who have gone on to serve in high level government or business positions, including the Department of Defense and other
security agencies (identify where and who if appropriate, and/or numbers of students who went on to work for the federal government in the last few years);
* faculty consultancies or other service with government agencies (give a few examples listing agencies and world areas);
* strategic languages taught mainly or only in Title VI institutions;
* exemplary outreach and/or websites for K-12, government, media and business that present a multiplicity of viewpoints;
* other activities that address recent national strategic needs, etc.

c) Assert that Title VI programs do not promote any one intellectual paradigm, ideology, or political agenda, and if appropriate and
possible, indicate examples of intellectual balance.

d.) Make the point that there is much that is good in HR 3077, not the least of which is an extension of all programs in tact.

e.) Express your concerns about the HR 3077 advisory board (points noted above). Indicate that Title VI had an advisory board once before and that a new, properly constructed Title VI advisory board is not objectionable.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Republican Members

Judd Gregg, NH
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
393 Senate Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510-2904
TEL 202-224-3324
FAX 202-224-4952
Committee Majority Staff: Tracy Locklin 202-224-6770

Bill Frist, TN [Senate Majority Leader and members of the HELP committee]
461 Senate Dirksen Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4205
TEL 202-224-3344
FAX 202-228-1264
Staff: Andrea Becker

Michael B. Enzi, WY
379A Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-5004
TEL 202-224-3424
FAX 202-228-0359
Staff: Scott Fleming

Lamar Alexander, TN
302 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4206
TEL 202-224-4944
FAX 202-228-3398
Staff: Kristin Bannerman

Christopher S. Bond, MO
274 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2503
TEL 202-224-5721
FAX 202-224-8149
Staff: Julia Jolly

Mike DeWine, OH
140 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3503
TEL 202-224-2315
FAX 202-224-6519
Staff: Lindsay Morris

Pat Roberts, KS
109 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-1605
TEL 202-224-4774
FAX 202-224-3514
Staff: Jennifer Swenson

Jeff Sessions, AL
335 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-0104
TEL 202-224-4124
FAX 202-224-3149
Staff: John Little

John Ensign, NV
364 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2805
TEL 202-224-6244
FAX 202-228-2193
Staff: Lindsay Lovlien

Lindsey O. Graham, SC
290 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4003
TEL 202-224-5972
FAX 202-224-1189
Staff: Jessica Efird

John W. Warner, VA
225 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4601
TEL 202-224-2023
FAX 202-224-6295
Staff: J.K. Robinson

Democrat Members

Edward M. Kennedy, MA
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
317 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2101
TEL 202-224-4543
FAX 202-224-2417
Committee Minority Staff: Jane Oates 202-224-0767
Alt: Kathy Kruse 202-224-4543

Christopher J. Dodd, CT
448 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-0702
TEL 202-224-2823
FAX 202-224-1083
Staff: Mary Ellen McGuire

Tom Harkin, IA
731 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-1502
TEL 202-224-3254
FAX 202-224-9369
Staff: Ellen Murray

Barbara A.Mikulski, MD
709 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2003
TEL 202-224-4654
FAX 202-224-8858
Staff: Rebecca Litt

Jeff Bingaman, NM
703 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3102
TEL 202-224-5521
FAX 202-224-2852
Staff: Carmel Martin

Patty Murray, WA
173 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4704
TEL 202-224-2621
FAX 202-224-0238
Staff: Jamie Fosteau

John F. Reed, RI.
728 Senate Hart Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3903
TEL 202-224-4642
FAX 202-224-4680
Staff: Elyse Wasch

John R. Edwards, NC
225 Senate Dirksen Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3306
TEL 202-224-3154
FAX 202-228-1374
Staff: James Kvaal

Hillary Rodham Clinton, NY
476 Senate Russell Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-3204
TEL 202-224-4451
FAX 202-228-0282
Staff: Susie Saveeda

Independent Member

James M. Jeffords, VT
413 Senate Dirksen Building
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510-4503
TEL 202-224-5141
FAX 202-228-0776
Staff: Sherry Kaiman

Art Now

posted by March 15, 2002

The National Coalition Against Censorship announces Art Now. Art Now is an online register of artistic responses to the events of September 11 and their aftermath, and a discussion forum on related issues. Art Now archives responses from artists and curators in all media, as well as the work of performance spaces, museums, and art-related websites, as they develop from documentation and memorials to critical explorations of the present and future. The Art Now Discussion Forum is hosting a conversation on the ethical, political, and historical aspects of creative statement in times of crisis.

Art Now is specifically interested in documenting artistic responses�from college art galleries, art departments, faculty, and students�that provide a perspective on the current state of the world, as defined by recent events in the United States, Asia, and the Middle East. For more information, please contact Rebecca Metzger at 212-807-6222, ext. 16;

More information on funding for the arts and humanities will be available throughout the coming year on the advocacy pages of CAA’s website.

If you would like to receive email notification of Advocacy Action Alerts, please contact Marta Teegen, Manager of Governance, Advocacy, & Special Projects, at with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject field and your email address in the body of the email.

Rebecca Cederholm, manager of governance, advocacy, & special srojects

In July of this year, CAA was one of twenty-one education-related organizations from around the world that joined the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR). NEAR posts information on its website,, concerning human rights in education and breaches of academic freedoms. It also sends alerts to member organizations so that they in turn can inform their respective members. CAA’s participation in NEAR is in keeping with its long-standing commitment to the support of academic freedom. In 1970, CAA adopted the American Association of University Professors’ 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments, which promotes public understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to assure these protections in colleges and universities.

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The College Art Association supports all practitioners and interpreters of visual art and culture, including artists and scholars, who join together to cultivate the ongoing understanding of art as a fundamental form of human expression. Representing its members’ professional needs, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, connoisseurship, criticism, and teaching.