Calendar and Association News by Gary Schnitz, CMI, FAMI

This section contains information relating to our associations' professional annual meetings. These meetings are vital not only for the financial health of our organizations, but they also represent great opportunities for all of us to gain new skills, to share academic or research interests, and to acquire continuing education hours for certification.

We continue to expand this section to include recent manufacturer press releases and other noteworthy items of information for our JBC subscribers and Association members. Please let us know how we may improve this section, as well as other components of your Journal.

The JBC hopes that you will take advantage of these annual meetings and the opportunities they offer, and we encourage you to support your professional Associations.

Upcoming 2009 Meetings

OPS San Francisco Educational Program

October 23–27, 2009
40th Annual Meeting

Parc 55 Union Square Hotel
55 Cyril Magnin Street
San Francisco, CA

The ‘City by the Bay’ will host the 2009 Annual Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society Educational Meeting! San Francisco is a wonderful world-class city with many amazing sights to see and fun to be had!

The program this year will offer a balanced mix of the new and the old, with the main themes being imaging, professional development, digital lab, and patient care. New imaging courses will include an expanded selection of courses, each focusing on imaging a different part of the eye, from the front to the back.

For further information about this OPS meeting, please visit:

Upcoming 2010 Meetings


PMA 2010
February 21 – 23, 2010

PMA 2010 International Convention and Trade Show
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, California

Next year's PMA International Convention and Trade Show is coming to Southern California. The 2010 PMA is scheduled for February 21–23, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The organizers promise new product solutions for boosting customer loyalty and business models for attracting new customers. Attendees will find renewed energy to pursue new opportunities and ideas for immediate action.

Check this link for future information and upcoming details:

OPS Denver Mid–Year Program

Mid–Year Program 2010
Denver, Colorado
Summer, 2010

For further information about this OPS meeting, please visit:

BioCommunications Association (BCA)
80th Annual Meeting – BIOCOMM 2010

Boston, MA
June 2 – 6, 2010

(Full day photography workshop is scheduled for Sunday June 6th)

Save the Date for Boston 2010! The 80th Annual Meeting of the BioCommunications Association will be June 2 - 6, 2010 in Boston, MA.

We are excited to report that this will be a joint meeting of the Biomedical Communications Association (BCA), the Association of Biomedical Communications Directors (ABCD), and the Health and Sciences Communication Association (HeSCA).

For more information, please visit:

Association of Biomedical Communications Directors (ABCD)

Annual Meeting and Retreat
Boston, MA

June 2 – 5, 2010

The Annual Meeting and Retreat of the ABCD will be held June 2–5, 2010 in Boston, MA. We are excited to report that this will be a joint meeting with the Association of Biomedical Communications Directors (ABCD), the Biomedical Communications Association (BCA), and the Health and Sciences Communication Association (HeSCA).

For more information please visit:

Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) 65th Annual Conference

On the Campus of Portland State University
Portland, Oregon

July 28 – 31, 2010

Make plans to attend the 2010 AMI annual meeting to be held in fabulous Portland, Oregon. Once you’ve visited Portland, you’ll understand why the city has been proclaimed as North America's "Best Big City," according to Money magazine.

The AMI meeting venue will be on the campus of Portland State University, with a block of hotel rooms available at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. For those more cost-conscious members, we also will have dorm rooms available on campus.

Meeting program information will be made available in early 2010 at:

The following links will provide additional information about the city itself, the attractions, Portland State University, the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, and the PSU dormitory:


Related Association News

SBA Roundtable Web Cast Link
by Illustrators' Partnership of America

The web cast of the Orphan Works Roundtable is now available at:

Orphan Works legislation currently before the U.S. Congress will drastically change the way biocommunicators and others market and manage their copyrighted images. Under this proposed legislation, images that have been determined that to be “orphaned” can be then be used by anyone, at anytime will little or no repercussion. The Orphan Works Roundtable was held recently to openly discuss this legislation, and the negative effect it would have on the illustration community if it should pass.

The Orphan Works Roundtable has been described as:
"A Seminal Event"
"The most effective advocacy in opposition to these bills I have seen."
"The Gathering of the Tribes"

These were some of the comments we received from the recent Roundtable Discussion on Orphan Works (held August 8, 2008), conducted by the Small Business Administration. Artists, photographers, songwriters, musicians, writers and spokesmen for collateral businesses all made this the best attended Roundtable the SBA has ever conducted.

As one member of the audience said, perhaps the only good thing about the Orphan Works bill is that it's brought so many creative communities together. The full house is the best measure of the concern creators have about this effort to undermine copyright law.

Here are some of the key points to emerge from the discussion:

  • The high cost of digitizing and registering work with commercial databases will make compliance impossible for most artists.
  • This will cause billions of unregistered works to fall into the public domain.
  • To make money, commercial databases will have to promote and facilitate infringement.
  • Infringer-friendly databases will compete with artists for clients.

As one panelist summed up: this bill "will socialize costs and privatize profits."

If you missed this important industry event, please watch it now at your convenience. You may review the agenda, the panelists and their biographies on the Illustrators' Partnership blog located at:

The Illustrators' Partnership of America

The Association of Medical Illustrators, in conjunction with The Society of Illustrators, The National Cartoonists Society, The American Society of Architectural Illustrators, and The Illustrators' Partnership of America, continues to seek better ways to market and license the rights to their creative work.

One of the goals of this working coalition is still to explore the possibility of collecting and pooling artists' reprographic fees in order to create a collective rights administration to return reproduction royalties to illustrators. Since the birth of the Illustrators' Partnership of America, the organization's key mission has been the development of a licensing agency that would truly represent the best interests of American artists and illustrators.

For more information about the Illustrators' Partnership of America, visit the IPA Website at

For information about protecting your copyrights:

Proposed Legislation Could Orphan Copyrights

On January 23, 2006 the U.S. Copyright Office issued their Orphan Works Report, outlining their recommendations to Congress for changes to the 1976 Copyright Act. While we know the Copyright Office made a sincere effort to solve the problem of copyright availability for users, we believe these proposed changes will undermine copyright protections for artists.

The report defines an "orphan work" as any work where the author is unidentifiable or unlocatable, regardless of the age of the work. It extends to both published and unpublished works, and includes both U.S. and foreign works. At 127 pages, the report is too long to analyze in detail here, but you can access it at the Copyright Office website. For those who wish to cut to the chase, the explicit language for their proposed changes can be found on page 127.
To understand the effect these changes may have, consider what the 1976 Act currently guarantees to you. It guarantees that you have the exclusive right to authorize or withhold reproduction of your work and to create derivative works. It guarantees this from the moment you fix the work in a tangible form, and it guarantees this without imposing formalities such as a copyright mark or registration. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works forbids such formalities as a condition on the enjoyment and exercise of copyright. The U.S. formally acceded to Berne in 1988.
Placing Relevant Information on Your Work
The legislation proposed by the Orphan Works Study would not officially return artists to pre-Berne status, but for practical purposes, it would have that effect. It would not require you to mark each picture with a copyright notice and your name. But failure to do so on your part (or your publishers') could be used by infringers to justify their own use of your work. Here's the relevant part of the Copyright Office's explanation:

"For authors and copyright owners, marking copies of their works with identifying information is likely the most significant step they can take to avoid the work falling into the orphan works category. This is particularly true for works of visual art, like photographs and illustrations, that otherwise do not contain text or other information that a user can rely on to help determine the identity of the copyright owner. Nothing in the Office's recommendation would make such markings mandatory . . . Nevertheless, the presence and quality of the information on particular copies will be a highly relevant fact as to whether a reasonable search will find the copyright owner."  (p. 9, emphasis added)  

In other words, the "information" that has been placed on your work will be a "highly relevant fact" in determining - for legal purposes - whether a user has made a "reasonable search" to find you before he or she uses your work. But since the report doesn't set objective standards for what constitutes a "reasonable search," it paves the way for endless ambiguity. What do you do if a user infringes your work after what he regards as a reasonable effort to find you? What if someone simply uses your work on the grounds that you may not find out about it, and if you do, justifies his actions by citing the "fact" that your work lacked "relevant information?"
No Penalties For Infringing Orphan Work
Those who have demanded this legislation have argued that users should not be subject to penalties for infringing orphan work. They say that the public should be encouraged to use this work and that penalties would discourage use. The Copyright Office has agreed:  

"Our recommendation follows this suggestion by limiting the possible monetary relief in these cases to only 'reasonable compensation' which is intended to represent the amount the user would have paid to the owner had they engaged in negotiations before the infringing use commenced." (p. 12)

In other words, if someone infringes your work because they couldn't find you - and you come forward to claim authorship - this system would only require the infringer to pay you the fee they presume you would have "negotiated." Yet if someone has already published your work - and faces no risk for statutory damages, attorneys‚ fees and court costs, they'll be in a better position than you to dictate what constitutes a "reasonable" fee. And unless you can work with the fee they offer, you'll have no choice but to take the issue to court, knowing that the cost of litigation could well exceed whatever "reasonable compensation" the courts might determine.
By considering and rejecting remedies for infringement, the Copyright Office acknowledged the complaints by creators‚ groups that individual authors generally lack the resources to police unauthorized usage:

"While corporate copyright owners were generally in favor of a reasonable compensation approach, individual authors like photographers, illustrators and graphic artists noted that under current conditions, obtaining a lawyer to even file an infringement case is prohibitively expensive, so much so that only where statutory damages are available is it possible to file a case. If compensation were limited to only a reasonable royalty, they fear that it will likewise be practically impossible even to recover that compensation given the cost of litigation." ( p. 117)

But while the Report expresses "sympathy" for this fact of life, it states that "[t]his problem . . . has existed for some time and goes beyond the orphan works situation, extending to all types of infringement of the works of individual authors . . . It is not, however, within the province of this study on orphan works." (p.114, emphasis added)
Yet if the problem is not within the province of the Orphan Works Study, we must introduce it into the coming debate over legislation. Otherwise, a law that exposes vast quantities of copyrighted work to potential abuse could make the existing bad situation worse, making payment for usage the option of last resort for any user who chooses to exploit this glaring loophole.
Are Registries a Solution?
The Orphan Works Report notes that many respondents to the Study proposed "registries or other databases of owner or user information" as a possible solution of tracking rights holders.  A publicly available visual artists registry would match unidentified art to an artist and/or the artist's contact information. But creating a registry requires technology and staff unavailable to independent artists. Other countries protect their artists' exclusive rights through the administration of collecting societies. The Orphan Works Report states that "such administrative mechanisms might ultimately be of great assistance in helping put owners and users of orphan works together" (p. 95), but says the Copyright Office lacks the resources to create and administer them:

"[W]e believe that registries are critically important, if not indispensable, to addressing the orphan works problem, as we explain above. It is our view that such registries are better developed in the private sector, and organically become part of the reasonable search by users by creating incentives for authors and owners to ensure that their information is included in the relevant databases."  (p.106, emphasis added)

But if Congress can’t allocate funds to create the kind of registry that Orphan Works legislation would make "indispensable," Congress should not impose that burden on rights holders as a condition of maintaining their copyrights.  Especially since the effect of these changes would be retroactive, that is, affecting work created over the last 28 years, during which time artists did work with the expectation that it would be protected - whether marked and registered or not, for their lifetime plus 50 (now 70) years.
Specific Exemptions as a Solution
We believe most artists would agree with the Copyright Office that an orphan works problem exists.  Any of us who have ever wanted to duplicate old family photos will understand how troublesome (even futile) it can be to try tracking down a long-lost photographer or other potential rights-holder. But if Congress concludes that legislation is necessary to solve problems like this, we urge them to craft specific, limited exemptions instead of sweeping legislation that shifts the burden of diligence from users to copyright holders.

A limited exemption could be crafted to solve family photo restoration and reproduction issues without otherwise gutting photographers' copyrights. Usage for genealogy research is probably already covered by fair use, but could be specifically exempted if necessary. Limited exemptions could be designed for documentary filmmakers as well. Libraries and archives already have generous exemptions for their not-for-profit missions, but if their missions are changing to include for-profit ventures, they should abide by commercial standards for the usage of copyrighted material.
The Next Step
In conducting this study, the Copyright Office identified as the primary goal of Orphan Works legislation: "to make it more likely that a user can find the relevant owner in the first instance, and negotiate a voluntary agreement over permission and payment, if appropriate, for the intended use of the work." (p. 8) Yet we're afraid that this system as proposed will do little to "bring users and authors together." In fact, it could well force authors into the "marketplace" of the courts to attempt recovery of compensation after their work has been used and their copyrights compromised.

Last spring nearly 2,000 individual artists and 42 organizations joined us in opposing Orphan Works legislation. We thank all of you for your responses to our submission to the Study. Since then, we've had several opportunities to express our opposition directly to the Copyright Office. We participated in the government‚s two-day Orphan Works roundtables last July 26 and 27, and at their invitation, we met individually with Copyright Office attorneys on November 17. Now we'll need to rally again to see that the proposals in this study are not enacted into law. This will require a practical strategy and a concerted effort. We'll keep you informed as this develops, and we'll let you know how you can help.

Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner
for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership of America

The Vesalius Trust

About The Vesalius Trust

The Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences was incorporated as a nonprofit public foundation in 1988. Established under the direction of the Board of Governors of the Association of Medical Illustrators, the Trust strives to develop and support education and research programs in the field of health science communications.

History of the Trust
Since its founding in 1988, the Trust has endeavored to identify and secure funding for educational and research activities in visual communications in the health sciences, and to act as a conduit for these resources. Currently, the Trust supports: scholarships, research grants, continuing professional education, and an international recognition program for exceptional contributions to medical education.

The Frank H. Netter, M.D. Award and Vesalius Trust Awards of Excellence recognize and honor significant contributions to the field of health science communications.

Mission of the Trust
To provide leadership for the advancement of education and research in visual communications for the health sciences.

Vision Statement
To be known as the premier resource for funding of visual communications in the health sciences.

Our Commitment
Our commitment to support visual communications in the health sciences is broad. During the past year, the Trust has endeavored to form alliances with related groups and associations within the field of biocommunication. The Trust not only supports scholarship and research in the profession of medical illustration, but also includes and supports the areas of biomedical and scientific photography, biomedical visualization, anatomical animation, life science and zoological illustration, microbiological and molecular visualization, video production, and biomedical research.

We welcome financial contributions of any size from individuals or corporations interested in the Trust's mission. Those individuals interested in making a tax deductible contribution to the Vesalius Trust are encouraged to visit the Trust's website below.

E-mail inquiries regarding the Vesalius Trust are also encouraged at:

Please visit The Vesalius Trust's web site for additional information:

Copyright 2009, The Journal of Biocommunication, All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents for VOLUME 35, NUMBER 2