Decision Vindicates Artists, Validates American Illustrators Collecting Society

Artists’ Reprographic Royalties Remain Unaccounted For

(LEXINGTON, KY) May 12, 2011 – The Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) applauds Judge Debra James’ ruling dismissing the million-dollar tortious interference and defamation lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named defendants.

GAG alleged that IPA interfered with a "business relationship" which enabled GAG to collect and use artists’ reprographic royalties, by IPA’s creation of a collecting society to return royalties directly to artists.

When published artwork is photocopied, U.S. and international Reprographic Rights Organizations (RROs) collect royalties through fees, including photocopying charges, on behalf of copyright holders whose work appear in those publications. The American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP), founded, in part, by members of the IPA, is the first and only domestic illustrators’ copyright collecting society legally recognized by our federal government to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of illustrators—¬including medical illustrators—who assign their mandate to ASIP.

IPA’s statements—that between 2000 and 2007, GAG took more than $1.5 million of artists’ royalties and has not returned any to artists—were found to be true by Judge James. She ruled that artists had a “common interest” in the subject of reprographic royalties and concluded that there was no merit to GAG’s claim that rightsholders are interfering with GAG’s “business” of collecting artists’ royalties. Approximately 84% of AMI members mandated ASIP to collect and return their reprographic royalties to them. Cynthia Turner is a medical illustrator, an AMI member, a board member of IPA, and one of the defendants named in the lawsuit. “We are pleased that Judge James ruled on the evidence and facts. Truth is the ultimate defense against defamation. It should now be clear to all artists why for over a decade the Graphic Artists Guild has vehemently opposed and disparaged the creation of a collecting society to return royalties to artists.”

The AMI is committed to seeing the establishment of a successful collecting society for published commercial artists, similar to the Artist Rights Society (ARS) for fine artists. “I believe this lawsuit was meant to intimidate and thwart the formation of ASIP. These tactics confused artists, delayed collecting mandates, and pushed our efforts underground,” says Ethan Geehr, Chair of the Board of Governors, AMI. While the battle over reprographic royalties is not over, this court decision vindicates the IPA and validates the formation of a collecting society. It clearly shows the need for full transparency and accountability in both the amount and use of the royalties GAG has received.

Immediately following the court decision, GAG filed a notice of appeal.

The AMI is an international organization committed to advancing the understanding of science, medicine and healthcare through visual media. It is a charter member of the Illustrators Partnership of America (IPA) and a coalition member of the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP). For more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Cynthia Turner or Ethan Geehr, please call Tracy Tucker, Executive Director, Association of Medical Illustrators at 866-393-4264 or E-mail Tracy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For more on mandating the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP) as a collecting society for reprographic royalties visit: