Congress hasn't paid much attention to intellectual property rights this year, so the leader of the Copyright Alliance has decided to high-tail it out of town.
Patrick Ross, executive director of the artists' coalition focused on copyright issues, isn't abandoning his cause. He's hitting the road for a 35-state tour to showcase artists contributing to their communities through their copyrighted crafts.
"We are going to artists where they live and work, talking with them about their creativity, their jobs, the new opportunities of the digital age, and the increasing burden of protecting their work from theft," Ross said.
One goal of the road trip, which begins in a week, is to collect material for an Alliance Web feature called "Creators Across America" that "tells the stories of individuals who depend on copyright protection to earn a living."
The site currently includes video interviews with New York City illustrator and typographic designer Daniel Pelavin; Birmingham, Ala., documentary filmmaker Melanie Jeffcoat; Albuquerque, N.M., writer and editor Carolyn Flynn; and more than a dozen other creative talents from across the country. Ross and Lucinda Dugger, director of outreach and field initiatives for the Alliance, hope to eventually profile artists from all 50 states.
Ross' upcoming tour in a rented hybrid car will take the Alliance more than two-thirds of the way toward its goal. The itinerary goes from New England down through the Mid-Atlantic and South, up through the Midwest and across the Mountain West to the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, Ross plans to interview music producers, novelists, painters, filmmakers and others whose work is putting dollars and vitality into local economies.
Ross' 15-year-old daughter Marisa, a budding illustrator and photographer, plans to join him on the tour through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia.
For Ross, a Glendale, Ariz., native, the cross-country trip will rekindle memories of his late '80s drive from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in search of a job after graduation from Pomona College.
He landed on the staff of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who was then new to the Senate, and spent a couple of years on Capitol Hill before moving into freelance writing. He later became a reporter at Communications Daily and was the first Washington bureau chief for CNET News.com.
In 2004, Ross joined the Progress and Freedom Foundation, where he focused on copyright issues. That work led him to help found the Copyright Alliance in 2007.
This article appears in the August 7, 2010, edition of NJ Daily.