Creator Spotlight with the American Influencer Council (AIC)
The American Influencer Council (AIC) is the sole 501(c)6 not-for-profit membership trade association in the U.S. that’s led by and for career creators. The AIC harnesses resources to advance digital marketing education, research of the digital economy as it relates to creators’ contributions to the GDP, professional standards for career creators, sponsored content standardization, think tank development, and curation of publicly available business growth resources, amongst others. Below, you will meet the Founding Members leading the AIC Art & Culture Committee.
Blair Breitenstein has partnered with some of the most revered names in fashion and beauty. As an illustrator working primarily with pastels and marker, her fashion photography-influenced creations have been featured in exuberant collaborations with the likes of Prada, Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue, MAC Cosmetics, and world-renowned publications like British Vogue, Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour Spain, where she has appeared over 20 times. Blair is a Founding Member of the AIC and co-chair of the Art & Culture Committee and can be found on social channels as @blairz.
Kendra Dandy is an illustrator/surface designer and Philadelphia native. As a Founding Member of the AIC, she translates the concerns of fellow artists and pushes for creator copyrights. Her entrepreneurial ingenuity has fueled her ability to build a global following. Her unique artwork continuously captures the attention of household name brands such as Anthropologie, Coach, Vans, Nike, Sephora, Estée Lauder, and Bobbi Brown, who have commissioned Kendra for custom campaigns. Kenda can be found on social media as @theebouffants.
Katie Rodgers is an artist whose colorful artwork dances in the realm of fashion-meets-nature. Her art offers a whimsically modern and feminine view of the world, which often dances to life through her simple animations and three-dimensional pieces. Katie has collaborated with Estée Lauder, Veuve Clicquot, Diptyque Paris, Focus Features, Christian Louboutin, Google, and Disney, among others. Her work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. As a Founding Member of the AIC and co-chair of the Art & Culture Committee, Katie is committed to helping guide fellow creatives through the challenges of building a business, particularly one that is built on their art and vision. Kate can be found on social media as @katierodgers.
Explain how the AIC Art & Culture Committee got formed and its purpose. Tell us about your roles.
Blair Breitenstein: The AIC launched with five mission pillars, but Art & Culture was not one of them. As Founding Members of the AIC, Katie and I felt it was mission critical to add a sixth pillar. Since a Committee supports each AIC mission pillar, Katie and I started the Art & Culture Committee. Our goal is to cultivate public goodwill for digital-first artists and empower creators with the resources and tools to safeguard their works and copyrights. We also want to help promote the importance of public art. A huge population of the influencer industry is artists and our committee is devoted to this segment. From photographers to illustrators and musicians, we want to bring the interests of this type of creator to the forefront.
Katie Rodgers: As a co-chair of the AIC Art & Culture Committee, it is our goal to create conversations and resources for fellow creatives to feel supported by the online community.
What type of services or programs does the Committee offer to creators?
Katie: The AIC Art & Culture Committee offers quarterly programs with creator-to-creator support via our Lunch and Learn webinar series, which tackles various industry topics as well as offers resources for copyright guidance with help from organizations such as the Copyright Alliance.
What is your (and your organization’s) interest in copyright law?
Kendra Dandy: Our interest is in understanding how to use copyright law to protect our intellectual property and to empower other creators to understand it as well.
How do the AIC and/or its members rely on copyright law to support their livelihoods?
Kendra: Being able to use copyright law to stop infringers and recoup financial damages is very important as it helps us protect our work and set standards for others in our industry.
If there was one thing that you wished the public understood about copyright, what would it be?
Katie: With art, there can be some blurred lines. One common issue I’ve seen is when an artist copies other artists’ works and then attempts to profit from that infringement—whether that be selling it on their own platforms or selling the artwork to a larger brand. I always support creatives in their attempts to learn new techniques from a fellow artists’ works—but it’s never okay (or legal) to copy someone’s work and call it your own, and then profit from what someone has copied. When such an action occurs, it’s called infringement.
What is your organization’s biggest copyright-related challenge?
Blair: Large corporations with marketing budgets using our members’ content without permission or payment. We hope to shed light on misbehaving brands and provide ways to take action in response to infringing behavior.
If there was one aspect of copyright law that you could change, what would that be and how would you change it?
Kendra: I would make it so that creators would not have to wait until after receiving a copyright registration to file a lawsuit, as that adds a lengthy wait to the process.
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