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Stu Rees responds to Copyright Czar’s request for comments

Last week I posted news that the White House Copyright Czar was soliciting comments from copyright holders on ways to improve copyright protection. I’ve received the following response from entertainment attorney Stu Rees, who was awarded the 2007 Silver T-Square by the National Cartoonist Society for “demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession.”

He writes:

I will be sending the following response to the new Copyright Czar’s request for comments. For more information on the request, please see http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/02/23/intellectual-property-and-risks-public and http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/ I encourage you to send your own comments, which can be on other relevant topics or a crib of my points.

Re: Group Registration of Published Works

Dear Ms. Espinel:

I am an attorney who has represented approximately 500 professional cartoonists, illustrators, and writers over the last thirteen years. I am also a professional cartoonist with over 1,500 published cartoons. I request a simplification of the copyright registration process for groups of published works.

My clients and I create a stream of cartoons, illustrations and stories that are sent out to many different publishers. My clients often sell their work for less than $200 per cartoon, and have no idea what date it’s actually published or any other details required in the current copyright forms (title of publication, volume, page number, tear sheets, etc.). We are faced with a time-consuming, costly, and in some cases, practically impossible process for registering our works. Therefore, I request that you:

(1) allow cartoonists, illustrators and writers to group register a year of published works on a form similar to the form used for photographers (Form GR/PPh/CON), and

(2) only require the year of publication if the specific date of publication is not known.

Under the current regulations, many works go unregistered because my clients do not have all of the information necessary to register their published works. Practically speaking, copyrights must be registered in order for the government to protect them. So, my recommendations are a natural fit for your mandate.

I am available for any further questions or assistance.

Sincerely,

Stu Rees, Esq.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to submit your suggestions, please do so. Open comments are being taken until Wednesday, March 24, 2010, at 5 p.m. EST

Community Comments

#1 Dan Reynolds
March/23/2010
@ 11:43 am

Stu
Nice letter. This is a great idea, and much needed. Making life more simple for the busy cartoonist is much appreciated.
Dan

#2 kevin eason
March/23/2010
@ 1:31 pm

Stu,
This is much needed and long overdue.
Thank you

#3 kevin eason
March/23/2010
@ 1:34 pm

Stu,
All praises due.

#4 Stu Rees
March/24/2010
@ 1:14 pm

Several creators have asked me what they should send. Something like the following would be helpful, although the deadline is 5 EST today, so you’ll have to hurry. The email address to send your response is: intellectualproperty@omb.eop.gov

Re: Group Registration of Published Works

Dear Ms. Espinel:

I am [a professional cartoonists, etc.]

The greatest problem I face in enforcing my intellectual property is the cumbersome and often impossible task of complying with the copyright registration process for published works. Please loosen the registration requirements by (1) allowing cartoonists, illustrators and writers to group register a year of published works on a form similar to the form used for photographers (Form GR/PPh/CON), and (2) require only the year of publication if the specific date of publication is not known.

My works usually go unregistered because I do not have all of the information necessary to register my published works. Practically speaking, copyrights must be registered in order for the government to protect them. So, my recommendations are a natural fit for your mandate.

Sincerely,

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