Archive for November, 2014

New Blog image

Friday, November 28th, 2014

AOI member and current Publications intern, Maia Fjord, has created a brand new image for the AOI homepage Blog section.

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Maia said, “I wanted the illustration to fit with the bright colours on the AOI homepage, and obviously it needed to register well at a small scale. It had to feature the word ‘blog’ to make its purpose instantly apparent, but I didn’t want it to just be typographic. In the end, I chose a design that I felt was exciting and dynamic, and I had a lot of fun creating it.”

You can view more of Maia’s work on her website here or blog here.

Wall – book review

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

By Tom Clohosy Cole

ISBN 978-1-78370-077-6

Published by Templar Publishing

Review by Maia Fjord

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Wall by Tom Clohosy Cole was released this year to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Focusing on themes of separation, the book centres around one boy’s struggle to reunite his family which has been torn apart by the wall, with his father on one side and him, his mother and his sister on the other.

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Immediately, the visuals of the cover design stand out. It’s filled with vivid colours and textures, and this is true for the rest of the book as well. The colour palette of Wall is very dramatic, with lots of soft yellows and oranges alongside deep blues and purples. These contrasting colours allow Cole to create some interesting compositions with light and dark that reflect the separation caused by the Berlin Wall. This contrast could also signify the perceptions of East Germany and West Germany- for example, in one spread we see the boy’s father as the boy is imagining him, sitting in a sun-soaked park whilst families stroll around peacefully together. Opposite we see the other half of the family sitting in a dark room, accompanied by the text “Mum said things were better over there”.

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Throughout the book, the wall itself is depicted as an ominous presence. It can be found somewhere within almost every double page spread, whether it’s as a giant, looming obstacle dwarfing the boy, or only just visible through a window or in a reflection. This constant presence seems to represent the notion that the wall is always on everyone’s mind and affecting their day-to-day lives. These subtle depictions are cleverly illustrated by Cole, and make for some of the most intriguing and beautiful spreads in the book.

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Visuals aside, tackling a subject like the Berlin Wall within a children’s picture book is no easy task, and Cole is brave to have attempted it. In general, Wall seems as if it would be a really good way to introduce children to the topic, and a good starting point for parents who wish to begin explaining the history of the Berlin Wall. However, it’s difficult to portray such a heavy subject 100% successfully in a children’s book, as if you leave the narrative too rooted in non-fiction it can quickly become too gruesome and complicated for young children, but at the same time you don’t want to gloss over the seriousness of the situation.

Cole has tried to find a balance between these two extremes by using a narrative approach, and telling a fictional story inspired by the incredible risks people took to cross the wall. The narrative isn’t exactly light-hearted, but is more of an adventure story that will captivate a child’s imagination, perhaps lacking some of the horror of the actual events. However, Cole hasn’t necessarily tried to skim over the situation, and there is one spread in the book which effectively captures the awfulness of the wall. This striking spread is the only one in the book which is illustrated in black and white, and shows one of the many attempts at crossing the wall which ended in death.

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Overall, Wall is a very emotive book, and a brave attempt at introducing a very grim and important moment in history to children through a picture book. At times it may not fully depict the seriousness of what really happened, but it is nonetheless a good starting point. The visuals of the book are spectacular, and as a hardback it is an object to treasure, which will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike.

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You may also be interested in this book review

The Glass Mountain: Tales from Poland

Copyright exceptions – challenge over Private Copying exception

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

The Musicians’ Union (MU), The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music have launched an application for Judicial Review of the Government’s introduction of a private copying exception without providing fair compensation for songwriters, musicians and other rights holders within the creative sector.

The decision of the UK Government not to provide fair compensation to songwriters, composers and musicians is in stark contrast to the vast majority of countries in Europe who have introduced private copying exceptions. The EU Copyright Directive states any private copying exception should be accompanied by fair compensation for rights-holders. The absence of a compensatory mechanism has led to the judicial review being applied for. For more on the Judicial Review go here.

Personal copying for private use: The new personal copying exception permits the making of copies of media (CDs, ebooks, etc.) legitimately bought, for private purposes such as format shifting or backup without infringing copyright. For example the exception would allow the copying of content that has been bought on a CD onto an individual’s mp3 player, provided it is for private use.

It will be unlawful to make copies for anyone else or to make a copy of something not already owned or acquired illegally, without the copyright owner’s permission.

DACS Dutch PLR

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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Illustrators have until the 31 January 2015 to apply for their share of Dutch Public Lending Right (Dutch PLR) royalties, for the lending of books featuring their work by libraries in the Netherlands. Illustrator, author and creator of animated children’s TV programme 64 Zoo Lane, An Vrombaut, talks to DACS about Dutch PLR – See more here

Last year DACS paid artists and estates over £200,000 in Dutch PLR royalties, with individual royalty payments ranging from £100 to just over £5,000.

Illustration from ‘The Dragon Festival’, by An Vrombaut

AOI Illustration Awards 2014 Exhibition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The AOI Illustration Awards exhibition tour has begun, by starting at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

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The exhibition opened on the 15 of November and will be on show until 10 January 2015, before it moves on to the second tour venue at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea.

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Aberystwyth Arts Centre is one of four locations that will be holding the exhibition, displaying many works by professional and new talent illustrators worldwide.

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Click here to view all award winning work.

Click here to view all shortlisted work.

15 November 2014 – 10 January 2015

Admission is Free

Opening Times:

Mon – Wed 10am – 5pm

Thur – Sat 10am – 8pm

Sun 1pm – 5pm.

Click here for more info

Illustrators – The Last Issue 1989 – archive

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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Cover by Pippa Sterne

We’ve uncovered another issue of Illustrators Magazine from 1989 as we’ve been looking through the archive of the AOI membership publications. Issue 69 – The Last Issue was the final issue of Illustrators ever published. The cover features an illustration of a phoenix rising from the flames, described within the magazine as representing the “death and rebirth” of Illustrators, as the AOI put their funding into more necessary things. The Last Issue features a selection of work from 1989’s final-year college shows (including an early illustration by AOI Patron, Marion Deuchars), an in-depth article on technical illustration for planes, and a piece examining the life’s work of Edward Bawden.

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‘The Boy’ – portrait of Eric Ravilious by Edward Bawden, 1930

Edward Bawden was 86 years old when this article was written. At the time, he was exhibiting his work in a solo show called ‘Edward Bawden: The Art of Design’ at the V&A Museum, and the article in this issue of Illustrators celebrated both his work and the man behind it.

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Frontispiece for The Folio Society‘s edition of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Edward Bawden, 1987

Author of the piece, Steve Jenkins, wrote, “Bawden was working mainly in line and rejecting any attempt to create ‘solid form.’ His work held a primitive quality, an intentional flatness and unreality, and similarly his own space was in a state of almost abnormal tidiness, considering his occupation. His desk was rigorously regimented and pristine, like the desk of an architect.”

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Cover design for The Twentieth Century Magazine by Edward Bawden, 1957

This Is Bacon – book review

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

By Kitty Hauser, illustrations by Christina Christoforou

Published by Laurence King ISBN 9871780671857

Review by Derek Brazell

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With short concise texts which offer enough information to take the reader, should they wish, to investigate further, This is Bacon is an introduction to Francis’ life and artwork, combining reproductions of his paintings with drawings from Christina Christoforou illustrating elements of his life.

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This combination of text and image makes the biography very accessible – illustrations drop in indications that are not always spelt out in the text, such as when the young Bacon, having left home in disgrace, is put in the charge of an ‘uncle’ known to his father. This man is described as sadistic, although no more is said. However the illustration of the young man in a hotel bed with said ‘uncle’ contains a leather whip lying on the floor. Conclusions are drawn.

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Christoforou’s illustrations occasionally reflect the paintings. She echoes the splat of white which ejaculates across the Portrait of George Dyer in a Mirror on the opposite page, below the text discussing the image – “Painting and sex,” it says of this portrait of Bacon’s lover Dyer, “the visual and the carnal: it’s impossible to separate them here”.

Illustrated spreads detail Bacon’s social life in the bohemian, reckless space that was central London’s Soho, showing the dens he habituated and the characters who populated them. Bacon’s lifestyle could be interpreted as sleazy, but also comes across as exciting, and its volatility appears to be reflected in his paintings – awkward, ugly, atmospheric and challenging.

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Bacon’s paintings can repulse and fascinate. I’ve always leaned to the first reaction, while recognising that the power the images hold draws many observers to the latter. The success of this book leans upon its open acceptance of Bacon’s life and oeuvre – revealing the relationship between both areas which offer a way into the artist’s life. And give those of us who have shied away from him in the past an opportunity to re-evaluate this puzzling and influential artist.

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Other reviews you may like

This is Gauguin

The Prize for Illustration 2015 – The Exhibition Selection

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Congratulations to the selected entrants to feature in the Prize for Illustration 2015 exhibition at London Transport Museum. This year’s theme was London Places and Spaces and invited submissions from illustrators from all over the globe.

The Serco Prize for Illustration 2014 - Private View

The Serco Prize for Illustration 2014 - Private View

There was a high standard of talent this year. The judges commented on the tough decision it was to select the 100 images + 1 animation . Those who have been chosen will have their work exhibited at the London Transport Museum, and winners will be announced at the private view.

Serco Prize for Illustration 2014 - Exhibition

Serco Prize for Illustration 2014 - Exhibition

Thank you to everyone who entered this year, we are delighted by the continued support of this fantastic competition.

Please find below the full list of successful entrants.

Ximo Abadía
Carly Allen-Fletcher
Viktoria Anopolska
Federico Babina
Suzanne Barrett
Alex Beeching
Chris Belson
James Benn
Rose Blake
Gill Bradley
Rebecca Bradley
Celyn Brazier
Susan Brown
Kathi Burke
James Carlisle
Frances Castle
Hyeone Choi
Beverley Coraldean
Christopher Corr
Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Esther Cox
Lizzie Mary Cullen
Elisa Cunningham
David Cutts
Abi Daker
Summer Du Plessis
Matthew Eveleigh
Mouni Feddag
Emma Fisher
Paul Garland
Elena Godina
Russ Gray
Lydie Greco
William Grill
Maria Ines Gul
John Holcroft
Claire Horgan
Jasmine Hortop
Leilei Huang
David Humphries
Amael Isnard
Alex Jeffries
Véronique Joffre
Soonmi Jung
Oleksandra Kvyk
Lara Lee
Ashling Lindsay
Shira Malka
Steph Marshall
Carrie May
Paul McBride
David McConochie
Marina Medvedeva
Belle Mellor
Faye Moorhouse
Lina Mumgaudyte
Ciaran Murphy
Zoe Nash
Emily Nash
Cat Neligan
Josue Noguera García
Melissa North
Eamonn O’Boyle
Laura Ochando Jurado
Jojo Oldham
Paul Pateman
Zara Picken
David Pintor
Rebecca Pomroy
Emma Reynolds
Jake Richardson
Hannah Rollings
Thereza Rowe
Ignacia Ruiz
Alice Russell
Kate Sampson
Laura Schofield
Eleanor Shakespeare
Tatyana Shevchenko
Ewelina Skowronska
Miranda Sofroniou
Claire Softley
Eliza Southwood
Pete Starling
Anna Steinberg
Ulla Steinhauer
Johanna Tarkela
Eleanor Taylor
Simon Termignon
Papee Thirawat
Jacob Tomlinson
Vicki Turner
Joe Waldron
Beth Walrond
Bill Walsh
Hannah Warren
Drew Webster
Amanda White
Olivia Whitworth
Richard Williams
Suya Zhang

www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions

European Illustrators Forum meeting – Sharing Possibilities

Friday, November 14th, 2014

European Illustrators Forum (EIF) two-day congress October 30-31st at Grafill, Oslo, Norway

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Outside the Grafill office

The positives of what illustration organisations are able to bring to their members were celebrated at the recent meeting of many European illustration groups in Norway’s capital city.

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Introducing the congress, Tyra von Zweigbergk (Sweden), Martin Biehl and EIF President Catherine Louise Finstads (Norway) and Anders Suneson (Sweden)

The Norwegian and Swedish illustration organisations collaborated on putting on an event called Sharing Possibilities to bring more European illustration groups together, “We have a lot of experience and knowledge to share,” said EIF President Catherine Louise Finstads of Grafill, Norway. The congress event was facilitated through Grafill and Svenska Technare (Sweden) applying for grants from national organisations, and Kristina Ketola Bore had been employed to project manage the event.

Handmade map for the Grafill wall (so all delegates knew where they were coming from)

Handmade map for the Grafill wall (so all delegates knew where they were coming from)

At the beginning of the first day Anders Suneson, illustrator and Board member of Svenska Technare introduced the EIF with an appropriately illustrated presentation, giving the history of the group from 2003, from its launch in 2004 at the Bologna Book Fair up to the present. EIF had investigated the potential to become an incorporated organization in recent years, but it had been decided that it was going to be too legally complicated. He talked about illustrators ‘sharing possibilities’ and the benefits of the EIF allowing us to share our experiences as illustrators’ organisations.

The day followed with several ‘Best Case’ presentations, a best case being something successful an organisation has produced. First up was Manuela Vladic-Mastruko from Croatia. She introduced her organisation, Arte Insula, and told the attendees about their project called Island of Childhood, “a place we have forgotten as we grew up, we had so much else to remember”, and how art plays “a constructive role in the development and completion of the human being”. She showed examples of her published work and the events Arte Insula held.

Manuela Vladi-Mastruko from Croatia

Manuela Vladic-Mastruko from Croatia

Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi from Kuvittajat, the Finnish group, then described the Kuvita! Illustration festival held in 2012 in Helsinki as one of Kuvittajat’s best cases. The event’s theme was ‘illustration in conjunction with art and design’ and consisted of displays, live painting and family events. The festival celebrated Kuvittajat’s tenth anniversary, and was something they’d not organised before. Eili-Kaija posed the question, “Does illustration have a national identity, or have styles merged?” Kuvittajat wanted to celebrate illustration ‘locally’ to help illustration in Finland grow stronger. The festival was more work than a small organization could easily handle (Kuvittajat has 300 members), but they hope to start a tradition of illustration festivals in Scandinavia.

Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi from Finland

Eili-Kaija Kuusniemi from Finland

Then Tyra von Zweigbergk, Board member from Svenska Technare, Sweden presented their organisation, which has 1400 illustrator and designer members. One of their focuses is on raising awareness and getting better terms for members. Their best practice is on three levels: Personal contact with a legal advisor; agreements with commissioning companies (publishers, newspapers and TV companies); membership of a political Swedish umbrella organisation for lobbying.

Tyra von Zweigbergk form Sweden

Tyra von Zweigbergk from Sweden

Martin Biehl, manager of the host Norwegian organisation, Grafill, talked about the background of the group, saying that their best case was moving from premises located in the suburbs of Oslo to the present expansive gallery/office in the centre, which had improved their profile. Grafill has 1450 illustrator, designer and animator members, and has ten local groups (as a long, thin country towns are far apart), and separate interest groups which include an Illustration Group. Eivind Vetlesen is the head of that group.

Sally Cutting, representing FADIP, the umbrella group of organisations from Spain, reported on the situation in that country, saying that FADIP had worked hard to counteract the attitude in Spain that “creation is not considered a cornerstone of cultural wealth”.

Photos from each organisations' office were pinned up

Photos from each organisations' office were pinned up

Gemma Cortabitarte Amorós, the manager of Spain’s Associació Professional d’Il·lustradors de Catalunya (APIC) organisation, spoke on their best case, an International Project which followed on from a survey of members asking them about working abroad, and what they needed to help facilitate that. 25% of their members actually seek work overseas and many others wished to, but wanted additional skills to do it with confidence. The conclusion from the survey was that APIC would provide training and information to members, which would include lessons in English. The organisation also targeted publishing, advertising commissioners and illustration agents overseas, and organised a trip to meet international clients.

In between every two presentations, the attendees were divided into groups of four to respond to questions about the presentations and how they were reacting to them, if they sparked any ideas for their own organisations, and how those might be activated. The groups came together to discuss any overriding themes in the afternoon.

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Groups doing workshops

The delegates discuss the workshops. Photo by Anja Nolte

The delegates discuss the workshops. Photo by Anja Nolte

The Illustrators Guild of Ireland was represented by Alé Mercado who described their best case as a new style exhibition event, which gave more value to their members through expanding the involvement outside the group to include art directors and others involved in illustration. This lead to their Art of Superstition and Illustrated Beatles exhibitions, the latter benefiting from the involvement of DJ’s and music people who could promote the show through their own networks.

Alé Mercado from Ireland

Alé Mercado from Ireland

AOI’s Derek Brazell then gave a presentation on Varoom magazine, as the AOI’s best case, covering the history of the magazine and how editor, John O’Reilly approaches each issue. He gave a breakdown of the format of the magazine and the themes and subjects which Varoom covers, as well as talking about the VaroomLab illustration research network.

Derek Brazell for AOI. Photograph by Anja Nolte

Derek Brazell for AOI. Photograph by Anja Nolte

Following the best case presentations, in the afternoon the group were treated to a behind the scenes tour of Oslo’s dramatic iceberg-like opera house completed in 2008. Made of white marble with an interior using oak wood, the building was impressive yet welcoming.

Oslo's Opera and Ballet House

Oslo's Opera and Ballet House

EIF members outside the Opera House

EIF members outside the Opera House

All organisations were invited to bring along representative materials to show, and these were displayed near the talks area. The issues of Varoom were quickly snapped up by delegates.

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Publications from delegates' organisations

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Friday commenced with the first of three invited speakers, André Letria from Portugal, who has worked as an illustrator since 1992, winning several awards for his work, including the Portugese Illustration Award and the Award of Excellence for Illustration by the Society for News Design. His books have been published in several countries, including the USA, Korea, Norway, UK and Spain.

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André Letria from Portugal

He introduced the audience to his independent illustrators publishing house, Pato Lógico. Saying he wanted to do his own self generated work, where “if I’m not well paid, at least I’ll do what I want”. He regards the books produced as a point of departure, and follows publication with extensive promotional events and school visits – “connecting with people”.

The first book from Pato Lógico was a ‘poetic’ football themed work which was not all that successful (“maybe football fans don’t read much”, he said), but subsequent publications started to sell and win awards.

He wanted to promote illustration as a separate craft with textless illustrated books with one word titles (Vazio, Capital) to show “illustrators are capable of being authors, as writes are”.

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In 2013 he started the project Nave Especial, dedicated to digital publishing, with a regular conference and an award for digital illustrated stories. He believes that digital books should have a “new way of telling stories” – as a digital device is not a book. He asked, “What should we call a digital book?”

Charlie Hood was the next invited speaker. He runs Beach gallery in London’s East End, and the Beach set up includes doing commercial projects with brands with partner, Matt Lucas. The gallery has predominately exhibited London based illustrators, but has shown Europeans too, and encourages artists “to explore and develop their practice in a fine art context”.

Charlie Hood of Beach in the UK

Charlie Hood of Beach in the UK

Charlie came to illustration through a love of skateboarding and after studying fine art (which felt “too fussy and formal”, although he has retained an interest in ‘experiencing’ objects). He likes artists who create work purely online, but then find a way to bring it into the physical world.

Selling artworks isn’t easy, so Beach focus on bringing artists together and showing work, and generate income through doing fun things at launch events. Beach are keen to give people a reason to come to the gallery, and they encourage exhibiting illustrators to paint directly on to the gallery walls for their shows, “telling the story of how they work”.

Sofie Hannibal of Hvass & Hannibal was due to talk next in person, but due to an injury had to Skype from Denmark instead. Sofie covered the history of Hvass&Hannibal, a multi-disciplinary arts and design studio based in Copenhagen, and what she and partner, Nan Na Hvass, enjoyed doing, from their early commissions decorating the walls of a cool music venue in their hometown to recent fabric designs for Heals of London furniture store.

Hvass&Hannibal music venue decoration

Hvass&Hannibal music venue decoration

“We value freedom and experiences rather than reliable income’” she said, and as Nan Na and herself work collaboratively they “don’t have personal ownership of the work”. The way they work together is under constant change, and they debate about whether to expand into becoming a larger design studio, as they take on large projects where “a certain amount of anxiety and stress is inevitable”. The Skype presentation worked well, especially as Sofie was having to talk to her computer rather than the audience!

Sofie of Hvass&Hannibal

Sofie of Hvass&Hannibal

All three speakers took questions after their talks.

After lunchtime the European Illustrators Forum formal meeting took place with the EIF Board members and other the invited groups. This years projects were reported on, with the organisation of this congress being a worthwhile time consuming project, and with work on the new website continuing. EIF had lent its support to the Italian group AI, following a request from EIF Vicepresident Paolo Rui , as they challenged copyright issues in their country.

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Treasurer, Tyra von Zweigbergk, then reported on EIF finances (EIF is funded my organisations membership fees).

General EIF concerns were discussed, including how the regular EIF meetings with representatives from organisations were a valuable community building exercise and how that could be built on, to encourage European concerns to come from an entity which encompassed the European groups. Could this size of event (which was funded through Scandinavian grants) be done again? Groups agreed to look into possible funding opportunities.

An EIF survey had been discussed at the previous EIF meeting, and this was expanded on, with Secretary, Peter Diamond (of Illustria, Austria), reporting on his research into this. It would need to be short and clear and definitions would be need to be concise, it would also have to be funded. The group talked about what any survey results could be used for to ensure it would be of good value. Svenska Technare’s legal advisors would be asked if info on the European illustrators situation could be used by them. If EIF wanted to know about how each country was faring, then individual surveys could be undertaken.

EIF meeting

EIF meeting

The next Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany was covered next, as a space to curate has been offered by the Fair organisors to EIF.  It was discussed how, if at all, this could best be used and what EIF may wish to present to the publishing world who attend the fair.

The meeting ended with commitments from attendees to share more information and to investigate funding. Attendees then dispersed to catch planes or spend a further evening in Oslo crispy air.

EIF Mission

Oslo street

Oslo street

Photos by Derek Brazell

Payback challenge

Friday, November 14th, 2014

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Every year, thousands of illustrators, photographers, fine artists, sculptors and cartoonists benefit from Payback Royalties distributed by DACS. These are paid in addition to other copyright royalties you may receive and cover secondary uses of your images, such as photocopying.

These royalties derive from licences that are negotiated by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) – and others, although the CLA represents the largest proportion – and DACS shares these royalties with other parties such as publishers  – which amount to over £4 million per year for our members. Payments are made as part of a long-standing agreement between DACS and the CLA, which has operated successfully for more than 16 years. Through this agreement, DACS has been in a position to provide maximum benefit for our members from the proportion of licence revenues collected by the CLA.

In May this year, the CLA told DACS that they believe that they are no longer bound by this agreement, claiming that new legal and regulatory changes required it to bring the arrangement to an end. DACS has taken legal advice on this point and the opinion of DACS’ legal advisors is that such a claim is without merit.

In DACS’ view, the CLA (and we believe primarily the publishers) is trying to use its market power effectively to pressure DACS into accepting new terms. DACS has agreed to take part in a new valuation process to determine the appropriate shares of secondary rights royalties for all collecting societies, but this will take many months to complete. DACS has insisted that the existing agreement must continue until its scheduled end date of September 2017.  This will help manage the transition to any new arrangements and protect our members’ incomes in the interim. To date the CLA has not accepted this.  This dispute will not impact on the payment of 2014 Payback royalties. However it has the potential to affect Payback in 2015 and beyond.

DACS has written to the Government’s Intellectual Property Minister, Baroness Neville Rolfe and has taken the issue up with the Prime Minister’s IP adviser, Mike Weatherley MP, and other Parliamentarians.

But we also need your help to enable us to continue to support you in your work. There are two  immediate things we would like you to do:

1.     Agree to be part of the sample group for us to collect all the data necessary to assert the rights of visual artists in a valuation exercise currently being carried out by the CLA.

2.     Send us any examples of where you believe you have been treated poorly or unscrupulously. We are also looking for any examples of where publishers are pressing contributors to waive or sign away their secondary rights. These rights include reproduction by photocopying or scanning. Has that happened to you? Send your emails to Derek Brazell Email at the AOI.

Together AOI, Association of Photographers, EPUK, National Union of Journalists and DACS are fighting to protect your rights and the additional income Payback generates for you. We know how important this is for you; please help us.