PPA Meets with President-Elect Obama's Transition Team

As President-Elect Barack Obama prepares to take office, his transition team is turning to Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and other members of the creator community for advice. The transition team asked to meet last Friday with the seven-member board of directors of the Copyright Alliance—among them David Trust, PPA’s chief executive officer and a founding member of the Alliance.

Building a solid foundation with the incoming administration is key, especially with the creation of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator position at the White House level. That position was created with the passage of the Pro IP Act this year, a bill which PPA and the Copyright Alliance worked hard to pass. 

“We were pleased with the opportunity to express to the new administration our thoughts and concerns about copyright and intellectual property issues,” stated Trust after the meeting. “I doubt the photographic community has ever had an opportunity like this with an incoming president.” 

President-Elect Obama’s team wanted to have a clear understanding of intellectual property issues on the day it receives the keys to the White House. During the meeting, Trust pointed out that a major portion of the economy is under siege, and that photographers are an important part of that economic mix.

“I think I was most impressed with the genuine interest they displayed for our collective message,” added Trust. “This was not just a courtesy meeting—they listened intently and took pages of notes. It feels like we are doing some real good for photography and all creators.”

As a result of the meeting, PPA had a chance to submit written information about the photographic industry’s importance to the economy, indicating that “professional photography services generated an estimated $7.3 billion in revenue” (U.S. Census Bureau). The written materials also pointed out the vast professional photographic network (over 122,000 nationwide) encompassing every Congressional district…and the impact intellectual property and its domestic and international enforcement play in their livelihoods. After all, each of those 122,000 professional photographers create an estimated 20,000 works each year.

Transition team members attending Friday’s meeting were Daniel A. Sepulveda and Peter Cowhey. Sepulveda manages immigration, interstate commerce, labor, trade, and ethics and lobbying reform issues for President-Elect Barack Obama. Cowhey, an expert on international trade and regulatory issues, is Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

“It takes a lot of work to make sure PPA, and the photographic community as a whole, are heard on Capitol Hill,” said Trust. “And now we are getting the chance, along with our friends in the Copyright Alliance, to voice our issues with the next administration. Our Copyright and Government Affairs Department is the only one of its kind in the entire photographic world. We see this kind of advocacy as part our responsibility as a non-profit defender of photographers’ rights.”

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