Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Reprographic Royalties Update

1. Artists Getting Paid
In January 2019, illustrators who have signed reprographic agreements with the Artists Rights Society (ARS) began receiving reprographic royalty checks. Last month, ARS sent out another round of checks to more new members. These payouts are a milestone: the first time American illustrators have ever received a share of these international reprographic royalties. 

On March 25, many of us (through ARS) filed claims with the French collecting society ADAGP for illustration work dating back to 1995. In two weeks, April 22, 2019, another deadline will give us an opportunity to file additional claims with the United Kingdom.

This success is the result of efforts by the American Society of Illustrators Partnership. ASIP is the coalition of illustrators groups that have worked for years toward this goal.

To join, the only requirement is that you must be a published illustrator and you must apply for ARS membership directly. There is no membership fee and all published US artists are eligible. Once you are an ARS Illustrator member, you can then file claims for your published work. 

The Artists Rights Society (ARS is Latin for Art) is a widely-respected, long-established fine art collecting society. It is one of 41 international "Sister Societies" monitored by the quasi-governmental body CISAC. CISAC conducts audits of each organization. It checks their books and makes sure that their income and distribution models fulfill the strictest international  guidelines. ARS is a member of CISAC and has a 30-year history of seeing that fine artists are paid for the use of their work. We're pleased that ARS has agreed to add illustrators' reprographic rights to their agenda.

Step 2: Join the Artists Rights Society
1. Download the pdf Illustrators Member Agreement from the ARS website. There are helpful FAQs at this link.
2. Fill out the Member Agreement, listing all names, pseudonyms, and other variations under which your work is credited. 
3. Sign the agreement with a digital signature or a traditional signature.
4. Return one copy to ARS, along with the completed W9 Form, via email
5. ARS will return a counter-signed agreement to you.
This procedure will allow ARS to issue you an IPI (Interested Party Information) Number. This is a unique identifying number assigned by the international CISAC database to each creative artist.

IPI numbers are used by more than 120 countries and three million creators. Collecting societies require these identity numbers in order to pay royalties to the proper rightsholders and to avoid fraudulent claims.

Joining ARS will NOT interfere with your normal individual licensing arrangements.  Your ARS contract will only apply where collective fees are already being collected under blanket licenses such as photocopying usage, cable retransmission fees, etc. These are royalties which until now, illustrators have never been able to claim.

Creating a Catalog
For the record, we are NOT suggesting that ASIP (through ARS) is offering artists easy money. According to the General Papers of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations:
"One of the basic principles of collective administration is that remuneration should be distributed individually to rightholders according to the actual use of their works."  
This means that by joining ARS, illustrators will have the opportunity to supply ARS with a catalog of published works, dating back to your first publication. ARS in turn, will supply these records to its sister societies in other countries. 

For most artists, this will mean researching and/or reconstructing records from multiple sources: tear sheets, diaries, calendars, invoices and the Internet; then entering the information on a spreadsheet. Most artists who have already started this process report finding it time-consuming but rewarding. Like this, from one of the country's leading medical illustrators:
"I had never catalogued my life’s work before, and joining the ARS effort has been challenging and rewarding. I will continue to build my list of published works, and look forward to reaping the benefits as time goes by..."

Step 3: File A Claim for Foreign Royalties

UK Reprographic Royalty Claim are Open Now
Illustrators whose work has been published -  or is available for sale - in the UK are eligible to file a claim for reprographic royalties with the British Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS). 

DACS distributes royalties for the secondary use - such as from photocopying - of images published in the UK. This can include American books and magazines sold in the UK or housed in the British Library, for example, the CA Magazine Illustration Annual, among others. ARS Illustrators may apply online directly with DACS, or via ARS by filling out the form which can be downloaded here.

 The rules for the UK are the following:
1. You must own the copyright. Under US copyright law, you do own the copyright on your work (whether it was registered or not) unless it was done under a work-for-hire contract.

2. There is no backward limit to when the work needs to have been published. You may count your entire publication history through December 31, 2018.

3. There are two forms: Payback 2019 and Publication History
Payback will not take long to fill out. It is due end-of-day April 22.
Publication History will take longer, but you will have eleven months to complete it. ARS Illustration Members will receive the Publication History form later.  

Instructions for Payback:
a. Download the UK form here.

b. Fill in your name and Zipcode (Postcode). Ignore the Claim Reference Number. ARS will fill in this number for you.

c. Fill in the total number of books (as best you can) in which you have been published during your career; provide the detailed information requested on 3 example books, and estimate the total number of times your images were published in books during your career.

d. Repeat this process for the magazines section.

e. Count, or estimate, your total images published in books and magazines as closely as you can. When counting, count the number of times your images were used in total (e.g., cover, table of contents, chapter opener, article, etc.). You will need to back this information up on the detailed Publication History Form you will send in later.

f. For these three examples, either books or magazines, the UK requires the ISBN for books, and the ISSN and Issue No./Cover date for magazines. 
(The Issue No./Cover date is not required for the Publication History Form you will send in later.)
Tip: Most magazines have one permanent ISSN number; i.e. each issue of one publication will have the same ISSN number.

 g. If a book or magazine was published without an ISBN or ISSN number do not submit it. If you don't have a physical copy, the following online resources may help you identify the ISBN or ISSN:

    •     Copyright Licensing Agency's Title Search
    •     Integrated Catalogue of the British Library
    •     Worldcat
    •     JISC
    •     Searching Amazon or Google Books  may also help.

h. UK requires the 13-digit ISBN.
If you need to convert a 10-digit ISBN to a 13-digit ISBN do so here:
i. You are also eligible for royalties if your work was broadcast on BBC, Discovery, A&E, National Geographic, CBBS, CBeebi, or BBC News.

j. Send this form in by April 22.
The Payback website can be found here: Payback. The link to their Frequently Asked Questions page, detailing how the scheme works, and what is eligible (and what is not...!) is here: FAQs.

The deadline to submit to ARS for UK Payback 2019 is April 22, 2019. 

To apply via ARS, please download and fill out the Payback form according to the above instructions and send to Artists Rights Society by April 22nd.

We prefer to submit this on your behalf in one Excel form, but as you will note from the DACS site, you can also submit to DACS directly, which is also fine. Please direct questions to Janet Hicks, ARS Director of Licensing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome to the American Society of Illustrators Partnership Blog

Most artists haven’t known it, but many of them are entitled to reprographic royalties any time their published work is photocopied by libraries, institutions, corporations and other users. This income is earned when copyright collecting societies license secondary rights users to photocopy or digitally republish printed material anywhere in the world. Reprographic royalties may derive from articles, cartoons, illustrations, photographs, maps, charts, etc. in various published media.

Reprographic rights are held individually by each artist but are licensed collectively by a collecting society that artists have mandated to administer these rights. Regrettably, there has not been a U.S. collecting society to represent American illustrators, and illustrators do not receive any compensation for the exploitation of their reprographic rights.

Worldwide, the visual artists' share of reprographic collections averages 15% of total collections. This is expected to increase dramatically with the growing digital republication of published material. Germany is reporting 40% of collections attributable to visual art when digital licensing is available.

Status of Domestic Royalties due Visual Artists
In the U.S., total collections of reprographic licensing by the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) exceed 130 million dollars annually. CCC distributes some of this money to writers, but they don’t return any to visual artists.

Status of Overseas Royalties due Visual Artists
Foreign countries do collect royalties for American illustrators, but they can't pay it to American illustrators because there's no properly chartered Reprographic Rights Organization in the U.S. to track usage and distribute the money properly. Some money has been returned to the US since at least 1995, but it is going unaccounted for. American fine artists’ overseas reprographic rights have been protected; fine artists are paid their foreign-earned reprographic royalties through an appropriately chartered organization: The Artists' Rights Society (ARS).

An American Illustrators' Collecting Society

Illustrators were advised to claim their own reprographic royalties at the first Illustrators Conference in 1999. The advice came from intellectual property expert Bruce Lehman, former Director of U.S. Patents & Trademarks and principal author of both the 1976 Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Lehman endorsed the conference founders’ proposal for a visual arts collecting society and he compared the digital revolution in visual arts licensing to that of songwriters at the dawn of radio age. Just as songwriters had united to form the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) to protect their rights collectively, Lehman advised illustrators to do the same. At the invitation of conference founders Lehman then agreed to become a Founding Board member of the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA).

In 2001 the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) joined with IPA to form the Illustrators' Partnership Reprographics Coalition. From 2001 to 2007 the Coalition grew to twelve illustration associations, uniting the relevant rightsholder class of the American illustration repertoire of published works. The combined members include the most prolific and widely published illustrators and cartoonists in the world. Their pictures illustrate a wide spectrum of general and special interest publications. The majority are independent contractors and have reserved reproduction rights on a substantial body of their published work. All of the associations admit members that are working illustrators who pass portfolio reviews to professional standards.

In October 2007 the Coalition formalized as a new non-profit corporation, the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP). The ASIP now numbers 13 Associations with over 4,500 members. Each association appoints a member to serve on the ASIP Board. There is also one board seat for “At-Large” illustrators who are not members of any of the member organizations. The ASIP Board, Legal Advisors, Charter and Bylaws are available at

Establishing the Claim
ASIP is now establishing the proper claim on illustrators’ reprographic royalties. To proceed, we need to obtain a sufficient mandate from a critical number of working illustrators. This establishes a chain of rights demonstrating that each artist owns the rights to his or her work and that these members authorize ASIP to collect reprographic royalties on their behalf.

By giving ASIP this mandate you are not transferring copyrights or any other rights. The mandate authorizes ASIP to act as your representative for the purpose of attempting to collect reprographic royalties on your behalf. This will not affect the way that you currently license your work. There is no fee. You can retrieve your reprographic rights at any time, for any reason, with a 120 day written notice to ASIP. Detailed FAQs can be accessed at and the ASIP Reprographic Rights Authorization Agreement can be downloaded at

We want to be sure that all members with published work in print will have the opportunity to participate in the royalty revenue stream if ASIP is successful in making the claim.

A collecting society for American illustrators is new territory for illustrators. This unity among disparate niches of illustrators is unprecedented, and the assembly of the Board has been delightful and inspiring. If you haven’t yet been aware of this effort it is a lot of information to digest. To put it in perspective it is helpful to remember these things:

  • Reprographic royalties are not going to artists now.
  • They will not go to artists unless someone creates an administrative system to collect and distribute the money.
  • Reprographic royalties are currently small, but could be increased by instituting a rights administration to track usage.
  • This in turn would serve to license and collect work more efficiently.
  • Publishers have had 20 years to invite artists to participate in the distribution of these fees. They haven’t done so.
  • In the absence of a collecting society, others have been taking the money and using it without accountability.
  • Unless artists take the initiative to act on their own, it’s clear that no one else will.
  • If you join and ASIP succeeds, you may see an additional source of income, as well as a more effective way of protecting your rights collectively,
  • If you join and ASIP fails, you haven’t lost anything you already have.

In these challenging times when copyright and authors rights are under constant pressure and assault, and so much can seem unsurmountable, we should reflect on our successes. Illustrators have demonstrated a will and an aptitude to effectively advocate for our rights at the highest levels. We are visiting Capitol Hill, testifying before the House and Senate intellectual property committees, writing, calling and visiting our Senators and Representatives to defeat orphan works legislation that would eliminate exclusive rights. We have distinguished ourselves by acting individually with collective strategies, organization and execution.

If we continue to pull together, professional illustrators can create and administer their collecting society. The future possibilities of that society are boundless. Like Victor Hugo* before us, seeds planted with passion can flower in ways not fully imagined.

On behalf of all published American illustrators –

Cynthia Turner and Brad Holland, Co-Chairs, ASIP
Terry Brown, Executive Director, ASIP
Bruce Lehman, Legal Advisor and inspiration, ASIP
Ken Dubrowski, Director of Operations, IPA
and our distinguished Board of Directors of the
American Society of Illustrators Partnership
* The Berne Convention for the Protection of Artistic and Literary Works was developed at the instigation of Victor Hugo as the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale.

Learn more
Please visit the ASIP website:
The ASIP Resources and Library has useful downloads for further reading, and a webcast presentation. The FAQs are a fast way to absorb the history and purpose of ASIP.

For detailed reprographic rights information please see the comprehensive article about the state of illustrators’ rights, “First Things About Secondary Rights,” by Brad Holland, Columbia Journal of Law & The Arts, Volume 29, No. 3, Spring 2006,