Archive for the 'censorship' Category

Reprint from THe Observer

I am posting this as an educational service.  The original link I

provided is acting as a broken link although it takes you to the

Observer world page. Sorry about the bold.

Kate Bolick: why marriage is a declining option for modern women

Approaching 40, Kate Bolick has come to a profound insight: that she – and many women like her – might never marry. But revealing that realisation in an article in an American magazine caused frenzied comment. Here’s what she had to say

kate bolick

Kate Bolick at home in Brooklyn Heights. Photograph: Mike McGregor for the Observer

In 2001, when I was 28, I broke up with my boyfriend. Allan and I had been together for three years, and there was no good reason to end things. He was (and remains) an exceptional person, intelligent, good-looking, loyal, kind. My friends, many of whom were married or in marriage-track relationships, were bewildered. I was bewildered. To account for my behaviour, all I had were two intangible yet undeniable convictions: something was missing; I wasn’t ready to settle down.

The period that followed was awful. I barely ate for sobbing all the time. (A friend who suffered my company a lot that summer sent me a birthday text this past July: “A decade ago you and I were reuniting, and you were crying a lot.”) I missed Allan desperately – his calm, sure voice; the sweetly fastidious way he folded his shirts. On good days, I felt secure that I’d done the right thing. Learning to be alone would make me a better person, and eventually a better partner. On bad days, I feared I would be alone forever. Had I made the biggest mistake of my life?

Ten years later, I occasionally ask myself the same question. Today I am 39, with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a “good enough” mate. At this point, certainly, falling in love and getting married may be less a matter of choice than a stroke of wild great luck. A decade ago, luck didn’t even cross my mind. I’d been in love before, and I’d be in love again. This wasn’t hubris so much as naivety; I’d had serious, long-term boyfriends since my freshman year of high school, and simply couldn’t envision my life any differently.

Well, there was a lot I didn’t know 10 years ago. The decision to end a stable relationship for abstract rather than concrete reasons (“something was missing”), I see now, is in keeping with a post-Boomer ideology that values emotional fulfilment above all else. And the elevation of independence over coupling (“I wasn’t ready to settle down”) is a second-wave feminist idea I’d acquired from my mother, who had embraced it, in part, I suspect, to correct her own choices.

I was her first and only recruit, marching off to third grade in tiny green or blue T-shirts declaring: “A Woman Without A Man Is Like A Fish Without A Bicycle”, or: “A Woman’s Place Is In The House – And The Senate”. Once, in high school, driving home from a family vacation, my mother turned to my boyfriend and me cuddling in the backseat and said, “Isn’t it time you two started seeing other people?” She adored Brian – he was invited on family vacations! But my future was to be one of limitless possibilities, where getting married was something I’d do when I was ready, to a man who was in every way my equal, and she didn’t want me to get tied down just yet.

This unfettered future was the promise of my time and place. I spent many a golden afternoon at my small New England liberal-arts college debating with friends the merits of leg-shaving and whether or not we’d take our husband’s surname. (Even then, our concerns struck me as retro; hadn’t the women’s libbers tackled all this stuff already?) We took for granted that we’d spend our 20s finding ourselves, whatever that meant, and save marriage for after we’d finished graduate school and launched our careers, which of course would happen at the magical age of 30.

That we would marry, and that there would always be men we wanted to marry, we took on faith. How could we not? One of the many ways in which our lives differed from our mothers’ was in the variety of our interactions with the opposite sex. Men were our classmates and colleagues, our bosses and professors, as well as, in time, our students and employees and subordinates – an entire universe of prospective friends, boyfriends, friends with benefits, and even ex-boyfriends-turned-friends. In this brave new world, boundaries were fluid, and roles constantly changing.

In 1969, when my 25-year-old mother, a college-educated high-school teacher, married a handsome lawyer-to-be, most women her age were doing more or less the same thing. By the time she was in her mid-30s, she was raising two small children and struggling to find a satisfying career. What she’d envisioned for me was a future in which I made my own choices. I don’t think either of us could have predicted what happens when you multiply that sense of agency by an entire generation.

But what transpired next lay well beyond the powers of everybody’s imagination: as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up – and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.

In the 1990s, Stephanie Coontz, a social historian at Evergreen State College in Washington, noticed an uptick in questions from reporters and audiences asking if the institution of marriage was falling apart. She didn’t think it was, and was struck by how everyone believed in some mythical Golden Age of Marriage and saw mounting divorce rates as evidence of the dissolution of this halcyon past. She decided to write a book discrediting the notion and proving that the ways in which we think about and construct the legal union between a man and a woman have always been in flux.

What Coontz found was even more interesting than she’d originally expected. In her fascinating Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, she surveys 5,000 years of human habits, from our days as hunters and gatherers up until the present, showing our social arrangements to be more complex and varied than could ever seem possible. She’d long known that the Leave It To Beaver-style family model popular in the 1950s and 60s had been a flash in the pan, and like a lot of historians, she couldn’t understand how people had become so attached to an idea that had developed so late and been so short-lived.

For thousands of years, marriage had been a primarily economic and political contract between two people, negotiated and policed by their families, church and community. It took more than one person to make a farm or business thrive, and so a potential mate’s skills, resources, thrift and industriousness were valued as highly as personality and attractiveness. This held true for all classes. In the American colonies, wealthy merchants entrusted business matters to their landlocked wives while off at sea, just as sailors, vulnerable to the unpredictability of seasonal employment, relied on their wives’ steady income as domestics in elite households. Two-income families were the norm.

Not until the 18th century did labour begin to be divided along a sharp line: wage-earning for the men and unpaid maintenance of household and children for the women. Coontz notes that as recently as the late 17th century, women’s contributions to the family economy were openly recognised, and advice books urged husbands and wives to share domestic tasks. But as labour became separated, so did our spheres of experience – the marketplace versus the home – one founded on reason and action, the other on compassion and comfort. Not until the postwar gains of the 1950s, however, were a majority of American families able to actually afford living off a single breadwinner.

All of this was intriguing, for sure – but even more surprising to Coontz was the realisation that those alarmed reporters and audiences might be on to something. Coontz still didn’t think that marriage was falling apart, but she came to see that it was undergoing a transformation far more radical than anyone could have predicted, and that our current attitudes and arrangements are without precedent. “Today we are experiencing a historical revolution every bit as wrenching, far-reaching, and irreversible as the Industrial Revolution,” she wrote.

Last summer I called Coontz to talk to her about this revolution. “We are without a doubt in the midst of an extraordinary sea change,” she told me. “The transformation is momentous – immensely liberating and immensely scary. When it comes to what people actually want and expect from marriage and relationships, and how they organise their sexual and romantic lives, all the old ways have broken down.”

For starters, we keep putting marriage off. In 1960, the median age of first marriage in the US was 23 for men and 20 for women; today it is 28 and 26. Today, a smaller proportion of American women in their early 30s are married than at any other point since the 1950s, if not earlier. We’re also marrying less – with a significant degree of change taking place in just the past decade and a half. In 1997, 29% of my Generation X cohort was married; among today’s Millennials (those born in the late-70s to 90s) that figure has dropped to 22%. Compare that with 1960, when more than half of those aged 18 to 29 had already tied the knot. These numbers reflect major attitudinal shifts. According to the Pew Research Centre, a full 44% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Xers think that marriage is becoming obsolete.

Even more momentously, we no longer need husbands to have children, nor do we have to have children if we don’t want to. For those who want their own biological child, and haven’t found the right man, now is a good time to be alive. Biological parenthood in a nuclear family need not be the be-all and end-all of womanhood – and in fact it increasingly is not. Today 40% of children are born to single mothers. This isn’t to say all of these women preferred that route, but the fact that so many upper-middle-class women are choosing to travel it – and that gays and lesbians (married or single) and older women are also having children, via adoption or in vitro fertilisation – has helped shrink the stigma against single motherhood. Even as single motherhood is no longer a disgrace, motherhood itself is no longer compulsory. Since 1976, the percentage of women in their early 40s who have not given birth has nearly doubled. A childless single woman of a certain age is no longer automatically perceived as a barren spinster.

Of course, between the diminishing external pressure to have children and the common misperception that our biology is ours to control, some of us don’t deal with the matter in a timely fashion. Like me, for instance. Do I want children? My answer is: I don’t know. But somewhere along the way, I decided to not let my biology dictate my romantic life. If I find someone I really like being with, and if he and I decide we want a child together, and it’s too late for me to conceive naturally, I’ll consider whatever technological aid is currently available, or adopt (and if he’s not open to adoption, he’s not the kind of man I want to be with).

Foremost among the reasons for all these changes in family structure are the gains of the women’s movement. Over the past half century, women have steadily gained on – and are in some ways surpassing – men in education and employment. From 1970 (seven years after the Equal Pay Act was passed) to 2007, women’s earnings grew by 44%, compared with 6% for men. In 2008, women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollar – but that figure doesn’t account for the difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like nursing or education. A 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that the women actually earned 8% more than the men. Women are also more likely than men to go to college: in 2010, 55% of all college graduates aged 25 to 29 were female.

By themselves, the cultural and technological advances that have made my stance on childbearing plausible would be enough to reshape our understanding of the modern family – but, unfortunately, they happen to be dovetailing with another set of developments that can be summed up as: the deterioration of the male condition. Of late, men have been rapidly declining – in income, in educational attainment, and in future employment prospects – relative to women. As of last year, women held 51.4% of all managerial and professional positions, up from 26% in 1980. Today women outnumber men not only in college but in graduate school; they earned 60% of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded in 2010, and men are now more likely than women to hold only a high-school diploma.

No one has been hurt more by the arrival of the post-industrial economy than the stubbornly large pool of men without higher education. An analysis by Michael Greenstone, an economist at MIT, reveals that, after accounting for inflation, male median wages have fallen by 32% since their peak in 1973, once you account for the men who have stopped working altogether. The Great Recession accelerated this imbalance. Nearly three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost in the depths of the recession were lost by men, making 2010 the first time in American history that women made up the majority of the workforce. Men have since then regained a small portion of the positions they’d lost – but they remain in a deep hole, and most of the jobs that are least likely ever to come back are in traditionally male-dominated sectors, like manufacturing and construction.

The implications are extraordinary. If, in all sectors of society, women are on the ascent, and if gender parity is actually within reach, this means that a marriage regime based on men’s overwhelming economic dominance may be passing into extinction. As long as women were denied the financial and educational opportunities of men, it encouraged them to “marry up” – how else would they improve their lot? Now that we can pursue our own status and security, and are therefore liberated from needing men the way we once did, we are free to like them more, or at least more idiosyncratically, which is how love ought to be, isn’t it? When Gloria Steinem said, in the 1970s, “We’re becoming the men we wanted to marry,” I doubt even she realised the prescience of her words.

But while the rise of women has been good for everyone, the decline of males has obviously been bad news for men – and bad news for marriage. For all the changes the institution has undergone, American women as a whole have never been confronted with such a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be “marriageable” men – those who are better educated and earn more than they do. So women are now contending with what we might call the new scarcity. Even as women have seen their range of options broaden in recent years – for instance, expanding the kind of men it’s culturally acceptable to be with, and making it OK not to marry at all – the new scarcity disrupts what economists call the “marriage market” in a way that in fact narrows the available choices. This shrinking pool of traditionally “marriageable” men is dramatically changing our social landscape, and producing startling dynamics in the marriage market, in ways that aren’t immediately apparent.

In their 1983 book, Too Many Women? The Sex Ratio Question, two psychologists developed what has become known as the Guttentag-Secord theory, which holds that members of the gender in shorter supply are less dependent on their partners, because they have a greater number of alternative relationships available to them; that is, they have greater “dyadic power” than members of the sex in oversupply. How this plays out, however, varies drastically between genders.

In societies where men heavily outnumber women – in what’s known as a “high-sex-ratio society” – women are valued and treated with deference and respect and use their high dyadic power to create loving, committed bonds with their partners and raise families. Rates of illegitimacy and divorce are low. Women’s traditional roles as mothers and homemakers are held in high esteem. In such situations, however, men also use the power of their greater numbers to limit women’s economic and political strength, and female literacy and labour-force participation drop.

One might hope that in low-sex-ratio societies – where women outnumber men – women would have the social and sexual advantage. (After all, didn’t the mythical all-female nation of the Amazons capture men and keep them as their sex slaves?) But that’s not what happens: instead, when confronted with a surplus of women, men become promiscuous and unwilling to commit to a monogamous relationship. (Which, I suppose, might explain the Amazons’ need to keep men in slave quarters.) In societies with too many women, the theory holds, fewer people marry, and those who do marry do so later in life. Because men take advantage of the variety of potential partners available to them, women’s traditional roles are not valued, and because these women can’t rely on their partners to stick around, more turn to extrafamilial ambitions like education and career.

As a woman who spent her early 30s actively putting off marriage, I have had ample time to investigate, if you will, the prevailing attitudes of the high-status American urban male. (Granted, given my taste for brainy, creatively ambitious men – or “scrawny nerds,” as a high-school friend describes them – my sample is skewed.) My spotty anecdotal findings have revealed that, yes, in many cases, the more successful a man is (or thinks he is), the less interested he is in commitment.

Take the high-powered magazine editor who declared on our first date that he was going to spend his 30s playing the field. Or the prominent academic who announced on our fifth date that he couldn’t maintain a committed emotional relationship but was very interested in a physical one. Or the novelist who, after a month of hanging out, said he had to get back out there and tomcat around, but asked if we could keep having sex anyhow, or at least just one last time. Or the writer (yes, another one) who announced after six months together that he had to end things because he “couldn’t continue fending off all the sexual offers”. And those are just the honest ones.

To be sure, these men were the outliers – most of my personal experience has been with commitment-minded men with whom things just didn’t work out, for one reason or another. But the non-committers are out there in growing force. If dating and mating is in fact a marketplace – and of course it is – today we’re contending with a new “dating gap”, where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players.

When I turned 36, I’d been in the dating game for longer than I’d ever thought possible, and I wanted out. (Is there an expiry date on the fun, running-around period of being single captured so well by movies and television?) My escape came to me in the form of a revelation: all this time, I realised, I’d been regarding my single life as a temporary interlude, one I had to make the most of – or swiftly terminate, depending on my mood. Without intending to, by actively rejecting our pop-culture depictions of the single woman – you know the ones – I’d been terrorising myself with their spectres. But now that 35 had come and gone, all bets were off. It might never happen. Or maybe not until 42. Or 70, for that matter. Was that so bad? If I stopped seeing my present life as provisional, perhaps I’d be a little… happier. Perhaps I could actually get down to the business of what it means to be a real single woman.

It’s something a lot of people might want to consider, given that now, by choice or by circumstance, more and more of us (women and men), across the economic spectrum, are spending more years of our adult lives unmarried than ever before. The numbers are striking: The Census Bureau has reported that in 2010, the proportion of married households in America dropped to a record low of 48%; 50% of the adult population is single (compared with 33% in 1950) – and that portion is very likely to keep growing, given the variety of factors that contribute to it. The median age for getting married has been rising, and for those who are affluent and educated, that number climbs even higher. (Indeed, Stephanie Coontz told me that an educated white woman of 40 is more than twice as likely to marry in the next decade as a less educated woman of the same age.) Last year, nearly twice as many single women bought homes as did single men. And yet, what are our ideas about single people? Perverted misanthropes, crazy cat ladies, dating-obsessed shoe shoppers, etc – all of them some form of terribly lonely. The single woman is very rarely seen for who she is – whatever that might be – by others, or even by the single woman herself, so thoroughly do most of us internalise the stigmas that surround our status.

In 2005, social psychologist Bella DePaulo coined the word singlism, in an article she published in Psychological Inquiry. Intending a parallel with terms like racism and sexism, DePaulo says singlism is “the stigmatising of adults who are single [and] includes negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles”. In her 2006 book, Singled Out, she argues that the complexities of modern life, and the fragility of the institution of marriage, have inspired an unprecedented glorification of coupling. (Laura Kipnis, the author of Against Love, has called this “the tyranny of two.”) This marriage myth – “matrimania”, DePaulo calls it – proclaims that the only route to happiness is finding and keeping one all-purpose, all-important partner who can meet our every emotional and social need. Those who don’t have this are pitied. Those who don’t want it are seen as threatening. Singlism, therefore, “serves to maintain cultural beliefs about marriage by derogating those whose lives challenge those beliefs”.

The cultural fixation on the couple blinds us to the full web of relationships that sustain us on a daily basis. We are far more than whom we are (or aren’t) married to: we are also friends, grandparents, colleagues, cousins, and so on. To ignore the depth and complexities of these networks is to limit the full range of our emotional experiences.

Personally, I’ve been wondering if we might be witnessing the rise of the aunt, based on the simple fact that my brother’s two small daughters have brought me emotional rewards I never could have anticipated. I have always been very close with my family, but welcoming my nieces into the world has reminded me anew of what a gift it is to care deeply, even helplessly, about another. There are many ways to know love in this world.

This is not to question romantic love itself. Rather, we could stand to examine the ways in which we think about love; and the changing face of marriage is giving us a chance to do this. “Love comes from the motor of the mind, the wanting part that craves that piece of chocolate, or a work promotion,” Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and perhaps this country’s leading scholar of love, told me. That we want is enduring; what we want changes as culture does.

Our cultural fixation on the couple is actually a relatively recent development. Though “pair-bonding” has been around for 3.5 million years, according to Helen Fisher, the hunters and gatherers evolved in egalitarian groups, with men and women sharing the labour equally. Both left the camp in the morning; both returned at day’s end with their bounty. Children were raised collaboratively. As a result, women and men were sexually and socially more or less equals; divorce (or its institution-of-marriage-preceding equivalent) was common. Indeed, Fisher sees the contemporary trend for marriage between equals as us “moving forward into deep history” – back to the social and sexual relationships of millions of years ago.

It wasn’t until we moved to farms, and became an agrarian economy centred on property, that the married couple became the central unit of production. As Stephanie Coontz explains, by the middle ages, the combination of the couple’s economic interdependence and the Catholic church’s success in limiting divorce had created the tradition of getting married to one person and staying that way until death do us part. It was in our personal and collective best interest that the marriage remain intact if we wanted to keep the farm afloat.

That said, being too emotionally attached to one’s spouse was discouraged; neighbours, family, and friends were valued just as highly in terms of practical and emotional support. But as the 19th century progressed, and especially with the sexualisation of marriage in the early 20th century, these older social ties were drastically devalued in order to strengthen the bond between the husband and wife – with contradictory results. As Coontz told me: “When a couple’s relationship is strong, a marriage can be more fulfilling than ever. But by overloading marriage with more demands than any one individual can possibly meet, we unduly strain it, and have fewer emotional systems to fall back on if the marriage falters.”

Some even believe that the pair bond, far from strengthening communities (which is both the prevailing view of social science and a central tenet of social conservatism), weakens them, the idea being that a married couple becomes too consumed with its own tiny nation of two to pay much heed to anyone else. In 2006, the sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian published a paper concluding that unlike singles, married couples spend less time keeping in touch with and visiting their friends and extended family, and are less likely to provide them with emotional and practical support. They call these “greedy marriages”. I can see how couples today might be driven to form such isolated nations – it’s not easy in this age of dual-career families and hyper-parenting to keep the wheels turning, never mind having to maintain outside relationships as well. And yet we continue to rank this arrangement above all else!

Now that women are financially independent, and marriage is an option rather than a necessity, we are free to pursue what the British sociologist Anthony Giddens termed the “pure relationship”, in which intimacy is sought in and of itself and not solely for reproduction. (If I may quote the eminently quotable Gloria Steinem again: “I can’t mate in captivity.”) Certainly, in a world where women can create their own social standing, concepts like “marrying up” and “marrying down” evaporate – to the point where the importance of conventional criteria such as age and height, Coontz says, has fallen to an all-time low (no pun intended) in the United States.

Everywhere I turn, I see couples upending existing norms and power structures, whether it’s women choosing to be with much younger men, or men choosing to be with women more financially successful than they are (or both at once). My friend M, a successful film-maker, fell in love with her dog walker, a man 12 years her junior; they stayed together for three years, and are best friends today. As with many such relationships, I didn’t even know about their age difference until I became a member of their not-so-secret society. At a rooftop party last September, a man 11 years my junior asked me out for dinner; I didn’t take him seriously for one second – and then the next thing I knew, we were driving to his parents’ house for Christmas.

In the months leading to my breakup with Allan, my problem, as I saw it, lay in wanting two incompatible states of being – autonomy and intimacy – and this struck me as selfish and juvenile; part of growing up, I knew, was making trade-offs. I was too ashamed to confide in anyone, and as far as I could tell, mine was an alien predicament anyhow; apparently women everywhere wanted exactly what I possessed: a good man; a marriage-in-the-making; a “we”.

So I started searching out stories about those who had gone off-script with unconventional arrangements. In August, I flew to Amsterdam to visit an iconic medieval bastion of single-sex living. The Begijnhof was founded in the mid-12th century as a religious all-female collective devoted to taking care of the sick. The women were not nuns, but nor were they married, and they were free to cancel their vows and leave at any time. Over the ensuing centuries, very little has changed. Today the religious trappings are gone (though there is an active chapel on site), and to be accepted, an applicant must be female and between the ages of 30 and 65, and commit to living alone. The institution is beloved by the Dutch, and gaining entry isn’t easy. The waiting list is as long as the turnover is low.

I’d heard about the Begijnhof through a friend, who once knew an American woman who lived there, named Ellen. I contacted an old boyfriend who now lives in Amsterdam to see if he knew anything about it, and he put me in touch with an American friend who has lived there for 12 years: the very same Ellen.

The Begijnhof is big – 106 apartments in all – but even so, I nearly pedalled right past it on my rented bicycle, hidden as it is in plain sight: a walled enclosure in the middle of the city, set a metre lower than its surroundings. Throngs of tourists sped past toward the adjacent shopping district. In the wall is a heavy, rounded wooden door. I pulled it open and walked through.

Inside was an enchanted garden: a modest courtyard surrounded by classic Dutch houses of all different widths and heights. Roses and hydrangea lined walkways and peeked through gates. The sounds of the city were indiscernible. As I climbed the narrow, twisting stairs to Ellen’s sun-filled garret, she leaned over the railing in welcome – white hair cut in a bob, smiling red-painted lips. A writer and producer of avant-garde radio programmes, Ellen, 60, has a chic, minimal style that carries over into her little two-floor apartment. Neat and efficient in the way of a ship, the place has large windows overlooking the courtyard and rooftops below. To be there is like being held in a nest.

When an American woman gives you a tour of her house, she leads you through all the rooms. Instead, this expat showed me her favourite window views: from her desk, from her (single) bed, from her reading chair. As I perched for a moment in each spot, trying her life on for size, I thought about the years I’d spent struggling against the four walls of my apartment, and I wondered what my mother’s life would have been like had she lived and divorced my father. A room of one’s own, for each of us. A place where single women can live and thrive as themselves.

© 2011 The Atlantic Media Co. A longer version of this article first appeared in the Atlantic Magazine. Read the full version here. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services

Making the Rounds

Here’s a bit of information that is making the rounds of well intentioned information via email.  It’s something we each need to be aware of.  It’s a small percentage of risk but one bad egg, etc.
How many of you would believe that a Copying Machine would need a hard drive similar to what you have in your computers???
I always assumed that when you placed a document into a Copying Machine, the scan would be transferred directly to the copy paper.
Not so and this has awesome ramifications as described in the attached video of a CBS investigation.
Check it out at the below web address.  It will blow your mind and you need to tell everyone you know about this.
Makes you wonder what the people at Kinko or the US Postal Service do with their coin operated machines that some of you may use for your important documents!!!    Better to be careful than sorry!

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6412572n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

Call to Artists – Art of Democracy Posters/Political Art –

deadline September 30
Open to all artists living in Arizona, California Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. For the exhibition of the Art of Democracy posters we will be show original print posters, e.g. screen prints or other traditional printmaking. Submit unframed and the Union Gallery will mount in a uniform way. These posters will not be returned. and/or for the Political Art original prints is the primary focus, but we will also accept a variety of work in different media as well. For artists exhibiting original work (who will want it returned) we will need to have an exhibition application. Download it here or at the website.

http://www.union.arizona.edu/csil/gallery/exhibiting.php deadline September 30. Artists who would like to submit are encouraged to contact Holly Brown at brownhb@email.arizona.edu or at the gallery, 520-621-6142.

Copy Right or Copy Wrong

The brilliant minds that created the likes of Halliburton, Enron, and Blackwater, are bringing you another corporate privatization of enormous evil and profitable intent. The ethics and integrity of this action is unconsciounable. This one quote: “INTERNATIONAL LAW FORBIDS COERCED REGISTRATION as a condition of protecting your copyright.” should be enough to wade through this long article.

It applies even to personal images you may have posted on the internet. You may be the subject of a theft you have no protection against if this legislation passes.

This article by Mark Simon, reprinted with permission, gives you the blunt, pithy, facts.

This article was printed from Animation World Magazine.


Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art
Mark Simon is mad as hell and, in this month’s “Mind Your Business,” he tells you why you should be too. As you know, I usually handle the subjects in my articles with a sense of humor. That is not the case this month. I find nothing funny about the new Orphan Works legislation that is before Congress. In fact, it PISSES ME OFF! As an artist, you have to read this article or you could lose everything you’ve ever created!

An Orphaned Work is any creative work of art where the artist or copyright owner has released their copyright, whether on purpose, by passage of time, or by lack of proper registration. In the same way that an orphaned child loses the protection of his or her parents, your creative work can become an orphan for others to use without your permission.

If you don’t like to read long articles, you will miss incredibly important information that will affect the rest of your career as an artist. You should at least skip to the end to find the link for a fantastic interview with the Illustrators’ Partnership about how you are about to lose ownership of your own artwork.

Currently, you don’t have to register your artwork to own the copyright. You own a copyright as soon as you create something. International law also supports this. Right now, registration allows you to sue for damages, in addition to fair value.

What makes me so MAD about this new legislation is that it legalizes THEFT! The only people who benefit from this are those who want to make use of our creative works without paying for them and large companies who will run the new private copyright registries.

These registries are companies that you would be forced to pay in order to register every single image, photo, sketch or creative work.

It is currently against international law to coerce people to register their work for copyright because there are so many inherent problems with it. But because big business can push through laws in the United States, our country is about to break with the rest of the world, again, and take your rights away.

With the tens of millions of photos and pieces of artwork created each year, the bounty for forcing everyone to pay a registration fee would be enormous. We lose our rights and our creations, and someone else makes money at our expense.

This includes every sketch, painting, photo, sculpture, drawing, video, song and every other type of creative endeavor. All of it is at risk!

If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we’ve created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run (by the friends and cronies of the U.S. government) registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won’t successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free.

In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!

Why is this allowed to happen? APATHY and MONEY.

Artists have apathy and corporations have money.

We need to be heard in order to protect our incomes, our creations and our careers. GET OFF YOUR ASS!

That means writing letters to our congressmen and representatives. That means voicing your opinion about how we need copyright protection, as we’ve had since 1976, that protects everything we create from the moment we create it. This is the case around the world.

However, an Orphan Works bill is also in the works in Europe. I was speaking recently with Roger Dean, the famed artist of the Yes album covers, and he is greatly concerned with what will happen if Orphan Works bills become law.

“This will devastate the livelihood of artists, photographers and designers in a number of ways,” Dean says. “That at the behest of a few hugely rich corporations who got rich by selling art that they played no part in the making of, the U.S. and U.K. governments are changing the copyright laws to protect the infringer instead of the creator. This is unjust, culturally destructive and commercial lunacy. This will not just hurt millions of artists around the world.

“On the other side of the coin, what argument will a U.S. court have with a Chinese company that insists it did its research in China and found nothing? If the cost of this is onerous for a U.S.-based artist, what will it be like for artists and small businesses in emergent economies?”

If an artist whose work is as famous as Roger Dean’s is concerned with this legislation, it should be of great concern for all of us.

The people, associations and companies behind the Orphan Works bill state that orphaned works have no value. If that were true, no one would want them. However, these same companies DO WANT your work, they just don’t want to pay for it. If someone wants something, IT HAS VALUE. It’s pretty simple. Some major art and photography associations, or I should say, the managers of the associations, support this bill. The reason they support it is that they will operate some of the registries and stand to make a lot of money. Some have already been given millions of dollars by the Library of Congress. Follow the money and you will see why some groups support this bill of legalized theft of everything you have ever created.

Two proponents of this new legislation are Corbis and Getty Images. They are large stock photo and stock art companies. They sell art and photos inexpensively and are trying to build giant royalty-free databases. Do you see how they could benefit from considering most works of art in the world orphans? Do you know who owns Corbis? Bill Gates. He doesn’t do anything unless it can make a huge amount of money. Helping you lose the copyright to your art is big business for Gates.

For years we’ve heard of Hollywood fighting with China to protect copyrights and stop the pirating of DVDs. Our government has worked with the studios to protect their investment.

Our government is NOW WORKING AGAINST US by allowing our own fellow citizens TO STEAL OUR CREATIVE WORKS.

It will be easy for them to get away with it unless we make ourselves heard.

Your calls and letters do work. I’ve seen many instances in which a single letter made a difference in public policy. Tens of thousands of calls and letters help even more.

This is not empty talk. I have written letters to my congressmen and I will do so again. I do what I can to let every creator know about terrible legislation like this… thus you are reading articles like this one and you can listen to interviews I’ve posted online.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR:
Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to quickly find the phone number, address and e-mail of every U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor and state legislator.

Forward this article to every creator you know and urge them to take a moment to protect their very livelihood. I am giving everyone the right to reprint this article in any form to help spread the word to protect our creative rights.

Instead of sitting around watching TV tonight, TiVo that show, write a letter and make yourself heard.

Letters to our government officials don’t have to be long, but they should be heartfelt. A good story helps. Tell them who you are, how this legislation negatively affects you and that you want them to vote against the Orphan Works legislation. It’s that easy!

If you don’t, you will have only yourself to blame when you see other people making money from your art and you don’t see a dime.

Spider-Man comic artist Alex Saviuk is also concerned about the loss of copyright protection. “When I found out all the negative aspects of the new legislation, it would almost behoove us to want to do something else for a living,” says Saviuk. “If we would have to register with all the different companies, we would never be able to make a living.”

“It would be impossible for me to register all my art,” continues Saviuk. “It would put me out of business.”

You can listen to my complete interview with Alex online. Think this doesn’t apply to you? Maybe you don’t license your artwork? How about this?

Photos on the internet could be orphaned. With tens of millions of photos shared online with services like Flickr, Shutterfly and Snapfish, there is a huge opportunity for unauthorized use of your photos… legally.

You could see photos you take of your family and kids, or of a family vacation, used in a magazine or newspaper without your permission or payment to you. You would have to pay to register your photos, all of them, in every new registry in order to protect them. Say the average person takes 300 photos per year (I take a lot more than that). If a registry only charges $5 per image, that is a whopping $1,500 to protect your photos that are protected automatically under the current laws. If there are three registries, protecting your images could cost an amazing $4,500. Not to mention the time it would take to register every photo you take. Plus, you will also have to place your copyright sign on every photo.

That’s not including all your art, sketches, paintings, 3D models, animations, etc. Do you really have all that extra time and money? Plus, even if you do register, the people stealing your work can still claim it was orphaned and, unless you fight them, they win. Even if you win, you may not make back your legal fees.

It gets even better. Anyone can submit images, including your images. They would then be excused from any liability for infringement (also known as THEFT) unless the legitimate rights owner (you) responds within a certain period of time to grant or deny permission to use your work.

That means you will also have to look through every image in every registry all the time to make sure someone is not stealing and registering your art. You could actually end up illegally using your own artwork if someone else registers it. DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS?

Do you think the U.S. Copyright Office is here to protect you from this legislation? Think again.

Brad Holland of the Illustrators’ Partnership shares his notes from a recent meeting with David O. Carson, general counsel of the Copyright Office.

Brad Holland: If a user can’t find a registered work at the Copyright Office, hasn’t the Copyright Office facilitated the creation of an orphaned work? David O. Carson: Copyright owners will have to register their images with private registries.

BH: But what if I exercise my exclusive right of copyright and choose not to register?

DOC: If you want to go ahead and create an orphan work, be my guest!

This cavalier and disrespectful dialogue should have you seeing red. Who the hell does he think he is? Carson should be fired and RUN OUT OF WASHINGTON!

None of this could happen with our current laws. Our current laws work and they protect us and our creations.

The only people who will benefit from the copyright law change are those who can’t create work on their own or companies who stand to make a lot of money from using our works of art. They make contributions to congressmen, which is why they get what they want. We need to stand up and be heard. Every one of you need to write your senators and representatives. We have to protect our livelihoods. It’s that serious.

Plus, the technologies being developed for locating visual art don’t work well enough. On March 13, 2008, PicScout, the creators of one of the software applications used in the registries, stated to the House IP subcommittee:

“Our technology can match images, or partial information of an image, with 99% success.”

A 1% margin of error is huge when you consider the millions of searches performed for art every day. That means for every million searches, 10,000 images could be orphaned.

Plus, this only takes into account images registered on their system. If you have registered all your work on another system, they won’t be searched here and, even though you may have spent thousands of dollars registering your creations, a new or unused directory could orphan everything you’ve ever created.

This is just one of the many reasons why INTERNATIONAL LAW FORBIDS COERCED REGISTRATION as a condition of protecting your copyright. The United States is about to break international law by making us register our works. The people behind the bill say it’s not forced registration, but you won’t have any rights unless you register. THIS IS SEMANTICS! Of course, this is forced registration and we can’t stand for it!

There are many, many other problems with the Orphan Works legislation. As a creator, YOU MUST understand what is going on.

For additional information on Orphan Works developments, go to the IPA Orphan Works Resource Page for Artists.

This is not something that is going to go away easily. We need to be vocal NOW!

This legislation has been beaten or delayed for the past two years and they will keep trying until it passes. This is no time to be quiet and see what happens. What will happen depends on you. Send e-mails and call your congressmen. Ownership of your own creations depends on it.

Roger Dean sums this up well. “Where are the colleges and universities in all this? Has the whole world gone to sleep?”

GET ON ORPHAN WORKS E-MAIL LIST
To be notified of the latest information on the Orphan Works bill and when to contact your legislators, send an e-mail and ask to be added to the Orphan Works list.

AUDIO INTERVIEW LINK
I have recorded a fantastic interview with Brad Holland of the Illustrators’ Partnership regarding this bill and what it means to us as artists. Please listen and learn more about how you may lose ownership of all your art and photos. This article and the recorded interview are available for anyone to use in print or online. Please forward this information to every person and group you know so that we can work together and protect our creations and livelihoods.

Mark Simon is an award-winning animation producer/director and speaker. He speaks around the world on subjects about art, animation and TV production. His copyrighted companies may be found online at www.SellYourTvConceptNow.com and www.Storyboards-East.com. He may be reached at marksimonbooks@yahoo.com.

Portions of this article use information and phrasing provided by the Illustrators’ Partnership.

The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AWN, Inc. and its affiliates.


© 1996 – 2008 AWN, Inc. All rights reserved.
No part of this article may be reproduced without the written consent of AWN, Inc.

Censorship

Reprinted from Women’s eNews as an educational service under the fair use doctrine of the U. S. Copyright Law.   Subscribe here.

As an aside, personally I subjected myself to a tubal ligation so that I would never face the emotional and psychological consequences of possibly having to make this sort of decision.  However, I will to my dying day stand tall for all women to retain the right to make their own choices.

“Abortion” as a search term had been blocked in POPLINE, the largest reproductive health database, according to an April 2 post by Women’s Health News blogger Rachel Walden. The research database is funded by the federal government as a project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The result is that a person who types abortion in to the database for a keyword search will retrieve no articles on the topic.

Database officials advised a librarian who queried about the omission that the term “unwanted pregnancy” should be substituted instead. A more difficult search through the database’s index can still be used to retrieve abortion-related articles, but most average library users will not know the workaround, Walden, who is a librarian, points out in her post.

The database is funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is prohibited from distributing foreign aid to international groups that provide abortions, make abortion referrals or lobby for change in their nation’s abortion laws, under the so-called global gag rule policy of the Bush administration.

On April 4, apparently in response to bloggers, Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School, reversed the decision to remove “abortion” as a search term and said he would launch an inquiry into the change. In a statement published on the school’s Web site, Klag said that USAID had found two items in the database that did not meet POPLINE’s criteria for “evidence-based information” and administrators decided to remove the search term.