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AMICO Rights Committee

Summary of Meeting
May 25, 1998
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Notes prepared by J. Trant, A&MI

The Rights Committee Meeting in Toronto discussed two main issues:

1. AMICO Membership Agreement

We reviewed in detail a draft membership agreement, that Michael Shapiro had prepared. Marked up copies were returned to Michael, and a revised version [penultimate] will be posted this week, for institutional review, prior to its curculation for signature. These agreements must be in place by June 30, 1998.

2. Agreements with Contemporary Artists

After debate about strategies for approaching contemporary artists, it was agreed that a "Standard Operating Procedure", that included an AMICO model agreement, was the best approach. This could be tied in to negotiations between AMICO and Artists' RIghts Societies, such as ARS, that would aslo reach the same agreement terms.

We agreed that each member would approach artists represented in their collection individually, as this was the best way to leverage personal contacts and relationships. However, each artist would be asked to sign a standard AMICO letter of agreement, that would be circulated by all AMICO institutions. This way, the artists would become used to having such an agreement presented to them, and they would sign it as a matter of course. This 'normality' would be strengthened by the appearance of many copies of the same agreement from different institutions. Artists with a good history with a particular instituion could be approached first by that institution, and then asked by others to sign the same agreement.

We discussed the possibility of diluting the surprise [dismay?] that artists might feel about receiving a deluge of these letters and agreements without any prior warning, and agreed that we should investigate the possibility of working with organizations such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and/or the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a forum for discussing licensing issues with contemporary artists. The CAA's Committee on Intellectual Property is also another venue for such a conversation to take place.

The possibility of setting a standard rate of compenstation for the grant of educational use rights was raised and reviewed. While this is attractive on some levels, it is problematic for some AMICO members who do not have a history of compensating artists represented in their collections for the use of their works.


Michael Shapiro will work with the Rights Committee to draft a model letter to artists and the standard agreement, once his work on the AMICO Membership Agreement and the University Subscribers Agreement is complete. Penultimate drafts will be circulated shortly: Expect the Membership Agreement, this week and the University Subscription Agreement next week. Each will have a two week period for comment and suggested revisions.

As preparation, members of the Rights Committee are asked to share 'language that works' and suggest possible phrases or points to be covered in such a letter.

We'd also like to hear feedback from members not present in Toronto about the strategy for Contemporary Art, and get some mementum up to move forward on this question.


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