The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has decided a potentially landmark copyright case in favor of an artist who had been sued for appropriating images from a book in his art. While this would seem to be a victory for fair use, the court’s opinion doesn’t provide much in the way of hard and fast guidance for future cases. Donn Zaretsky has been providing extensive coverage over at The Art Law Blog. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition Policy, and the Internet has been holding hearings on potential adjustments to current copyright law.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has proposed legislation that would bring tax incentives for Broadway productions in line with what film and television producers currently enjoy. The current tax code provides for essentially a tax shelter on the first $15 million of expenses provided that 75% of that goes to pay for services performed in the USA. Schumer’s bill, the STAGE Act of 2013, would extend that protection to live commercial theater productions. Of course, this is Congress we’re talking about here, so don’t hold your breath.
STATE AND LOCAL
Actually, all local news this month. The City of Chicago is investing $1 million to bolster arts education in its public schools, part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s commitment to implement the Chicago Cultural Plan completed in 2012. The money will go toward dedicated weekly instruction time, increasing professional development and training for teachers, increased community partnerships, and more funding assistance and supplies. Sadly, the Philadelphia public school system has a $304 million budget shortfall and is looking at potential cuts to music and art programs if the city and state don’t pony up some more cash.
The intrepid Guy Yedwab has been getting more involved with the League of Independent Theater in New York, which has been doing some admirable community organizing to put the arts on the platforms of local candidates. Guy has posted video from an event he helped organize with that specific purpose in mind, and notes from a mayoral forum that wasn’t arts-specific but had ramifications for the arts nevertheless.
A new law in the United Kingdom attempts to make it easier to license orphan works, but may open the door to online photo image plagiarism in the process. Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, the UK’s inaugural City of Culture festival, held in Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, is in financial trouble a third of the way through the yearlong program because “income from sponsorship and ticket sales is much less than…expected.”
Small steps toward a better world: Israel and Palestine have agreed to let UNESCO implement a 2010 plan to safeguard Jerusalem’s Old City and its holy sites, part of a larger process that is hoped will have the effect of depoliticizing the international cultural agency. Cultural diplomacy fans, this is where it’s at right here.
Remember when we had those stories last year of ancient culture being destroyed by Islamic militants in Timbuktu? Well, if this story from a Tibetan exile publication is to be believed, a similar, if less violent, destruction may be taking place in Tibet at the hands of the Chinese government in order to create a “tourist city” replete with shopping malls. Elsewhere in the Pacific, the Australia Council for the Arts has a new director in Tony Grybowski, an insider who had been heading up the council’s Major Performing Arts Board. Grybowski will be charged with implementing Australia’s new national cultural policy, which despite being championed by ousted arts minister Simon Crean seems to be moving through the legislative process without difficulty so far.