Today I met Daisy (she seems understanding, and easy to work with) and Daisy’s administrative team, and the head of the team. His name is Sean. I corrected him on a mistake that he made in an important form for signing. Sean seems nice, I hope I get to work with him more often. I had my first team meeting and was offered to join the team or pick and choose other designers that Daisy is going to bring on board and be the head of the design team. The latter seems best.
After reading the first portion of the ethical standards rolled out by AIGA, I now have to ask Daisy a question. The answer that she gives me might very well lead to a tough conversation. The problem that’s risen is that I was given an ebook to convert. It is possible that some alterations might need to be done and if she has not alerted the previous designer and I end up making alterations to the design that came before me, I would be violating this ethical standard. Ultimately this portion of the project needs to be put to a stop until I get a confirmation that both meets the guidelines and makes me a little more comfortable (which would require some form of evidence). What I know of is, I have been given strict instructions on sourcing images by stating what I would need from the organization in terms of images and graphics that are not my own. The organization has a budget for that. Even more so, the images I choose must go through a culturally aware team within the feminist and Muslim demographic within the company. The rest of the guidelines on professional standards and ethics are all being met. Considering this is a human rights organization, the section on environment and human rights is being adhered to adamantly. I was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement by Sean and I had no problem with doing so. Before I apply for a future job I will be sure to revisit the Non-disclosure agreement to make sure that I am not breaching the standards laid out by the AIGA or the terms and agreements of the legal text regarding the non-disclosure agreement. The WISE team has been very clear about where they source their licensing for typefaces and we have yet to use stock photos or illustrations of any sort for our assignments. I am unsure of who designed the logohead for WISE and will ask to be sure that he has received the proper recognition and licensing capital for his work. I am wondering if asking whether or not I can see the contract is going overboard.
I read both the 29 page document that recounts the Fairey Copyright case and the New York Times article. They were both very informative and brought me to really question the ethical practices of my own design. The copyright laws are very murky and seem to be maturing and developing with time. There aren’t many statutes and clauses the way legal circumstances surround other parts of civil life. Before I begin, I can say that I found it very upsetting that the copyright laws allow design firms to have ownership over the copyright laws of their partners. As a future employee, I will have to ask a special contract be drawn up with my own personal limitations between geography and use of the work before I can say “yes” to a job offer. Moving forward, the Fairey copyright case made me think about improper appropriation, fair use, and the “transformative” constitute. One of my designs has an image Jan Tschichold in a booklet with nothing more than an angle tilted. Now I am sure that in the past century, the copyright laws regarding the image would stave off a civil lawsuit, but I had never questioned whether or not, in a more relevant scenario, that my work could damage the fruition of another designer. Fairey was only able to come to an agreement with the suing party because he removed all of the elements that could be considered original work and completely transformed the image to one that is his. Furthermore, I very much believe that he would have won the case based on this reality.