PPA Board Takes to the Hill

On March 23, Professional Photographers of America’s (PPA) Board of Directors visited with senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill to deliver two messages:

  • Photographers require strong copyright laws to protect their livelihood.
  • As small business owners, photographers need access to quality and affordable health care to protect themselves, their families and employees.

PPA regularly voices photographers’ concerns on both of these fronts. This advocacy trip to Capitol Hill was an opportunity to give legislators insight on what it means to be a professional photographer in today’s world.

“It was refreshing to see how receptive congressional staff was in listening to us explain the daily challenges we face as both photographers and business owners,” said 2010-2011 PPA President Louis Tonsmeire. “I definitely encourage PPA members to personally express comments and concerns with their legislators—about anything from copyright laws to business issues—just as we did. After all, they’re on Capitol Hill to work hard for you.”

Timing of this visit did coincide with President Obama’s signing of H.R. 3590 – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This did not significantly impact our message concerning health care, as the H.R. 4872 – Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the bill that merges both the House and Senate versions of health reform) was not passed by the Senate at that time.

“The timing of was coincidental, but it was good to be on the Hill while the health care discussion unfolded. We were delighted to have our board members there to witness this process,” commented PPA Chief Executive Officer David Trust. “It remains to be seen whether the new legislation will help or hurt small business.”

The board’s trip was also on the eve of the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s (OIPEC) final day to submit comments concerning existing IP enforcement mechanisms, the economic impact of copyright infringement, and recommendations for executing their strategic plan. PPA joined its allied organizations in the Alliance of Visual Artists (AVA) and fellow photographic trade association American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) in preparing comments to be received by Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.

“Having our board members add testimonials about copyright infringement from a real-world perspective adds to the message we normally give on Capitol Hill,” said Trust. “It was our way of showing, in firsthand accounts, that copyright infringement is a battle fought across all creative industries.”

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