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Results tagged “Copyright for Photographers” from PPA Today

By Aleighia Rouse

The month brings many loving and historical holidays and it also supplies new information on helpful and exciting happenings going on within the photography community.  Here are our top 10 blog posts of the week!

RIGHTS AND REGULATIONS: PPA's government affairs team has hit the New Year running, running for your rights as photographer, that is! This year will bring great happenings for professional photographers that own small business copyrights. The three primary priorities and most vital copyright concerns have been (1) creation of a small claims option for copyright enforcement; (2) modifications to copyright registration process to improve participation and functionality; and (3) modernization of the United States copyright office. 

IPC 2016: If you are thinking of entering the 2016 International Photographic Competition here is a informative article on the recent changes in the judging process. Don't be the one photographer left out of the loop and check out this article by Christine Walsh- Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. 

COMPETITIVE EDGE: Learn an interesting perspective on new competition in the photography industry, a terrific podcast by international award winning photographer and PPA member Ben Hartley. He focuses on why being in a cluttered market can be a good thing and how to get out a scarcity mindset for the success of your photography business. 

IUSA 2016: If you missed this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta, you missed out on some incredible new experiences in photography and great inspiration from our keynote speaker. Check out this post and amazed by the splendor and magnificence that is Amy Purdy. 

AESTHETICS: Personal style is so important to have when owning your own photography business. It is your signature, what you will be known for. In this article by the Exposure School, learn how to adapt and define your personal style as a professional photographer and "unleash your inner creativity." 

MARKETING WISELY: One of the big keys to having a successful photography business is making sure you take in consideration the concerns, needs, and wants of your clientele. Check out this article to find ways to promote your business and great techniques on approaching your marketing plan for your photography business.

PRO TIPS: Are you having trouble showing people the difference it can make by hiring you as a professional photographer? Here are some helpful approaches to use from PPA member Jeff Rojas on how to capture the potential clientele your business needs. 

CONNECT: As a professional photographer you know that you have to pull the best out of your subject and make them feel so comfortable that they don't know the lens is even in front of them. Check out this article by Fstoppers and learn how to break the barrier between you and your subject. 

PHOTOVISION: This month PhotoVision has released a wide variety of videos with many different topics to help you become better photographers. Remember that as a PPA member you have access to over 800 videos from PhotoVision, head on over to their recently redesigned website!

ZENSPIRATION: It can be difficult to separate your work life from your personal life, thanks to a few new TED talks it just got a little easier. Learn a few tips on how to develop a balance between your work environment and your personal life. 

There you have it, our Weekly Roundup of our top 10 blog post! What photography blogs or podcasts do you follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommitee @ PPA.com.

Aleighia Rouse is a graduating senior at Spelman College and PPA's Marketing and Communications intern. She aspires to hold a position just like the amazing people she works around. Aleighia is known by her happy personality and bubbly voice, and with over 6 years of film and photography experience, she can relate to and understand most of the issues faced by PPA photographers.

by Lindsey Forson

Last week, PPA CEO David Trust, made his first trip of 2016 to Capitol Hill to continue PPA's advocacy for the rights of professional photographers. PPA's government affairs team is already hard at work preparing for the next trip later this month.  As you may have read in last week's copyright update, 2016 could be a very big year for small business copyright owners such as professional photographers! PPA is fighting for three primary priorities that have been identified as the most vital copyright concerns for the photographic industry which could be addressed through the current Congressional Copyright Review:

1.    The Creation of a Small Claims Option for Copyright Enforcement
2.    Modifications to the Copyright Registration process to improve participation and functionality
3.    Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

As the House Judiciary Committee winds down on their formal review of Copyright Law, the exciting thing is that some of their priorities are the same as ours! Several lawmakers who serve on this committee have identified Copyright Office Modernization and Copyright Small Claims as their desired accomplishments of the Copyright Review. Copyright registration issues could very well be addressed along with these topics as all three relate to copyright processes.
This means that actual legislation which specifically accomplishes PPA's priorities may make progress in Congress as early as this year and definitely within the next couple of years! In other words - over the past few years, there has been a whole lot of copyright talk on the Hill, and now is the time for some copyright action!

During last week's trip to DC, PPA's CEO met with key stakeholders from other copyright industries, including motion picture and music groups, to discuss copyright issues from the small business perspective. We are very excited to report that there is a great deal of cooperation and support of these priority issues within the entire copyright community. Through the Copyright Alliance, an association of copyright stakeholders which PPA belongs to, we will continue to band together to create the strongest and most unified voice possible.

Trust also met with offices of House Judiciary Committee members, including Congresswoman Chu, Congressman Collins, and Congressman Marino, who are all strong and outright advocates for improving the copyright system for small business creators through key legislative changes such as those PPA has prioritized. We thank these lawmakers for their strong support of creator's rights and will continue to work with these offices and others to help to advance legislation that would accomplish our goals.

It is vital to PPA's cause that each and every member becomes educated on our advocacy priorities because, before long, we hope to be calling on you for help. When a bill on any key copyright issue(s) is scheduled for a vote in committee and especially once legislation moves to the House floor, we will call on members to contact your representatives. Because we think that may happen soon, but cannot know exactly when, we are beginning the education process now.

During the next several weeks, you will find on this blog detailed educational pieces on each one of our priorities, beginning next week with "Why Modernize the Copyright Office?" Stay tuned to Be More Informed to Be More Protected at PPA.com/Advocacy!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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by James Yates

As we turn the corner on January and what was an amazing Imaging USA month here at PPA, let's take a look at some of the best blog posts from Jan. 25-29, 2016. From the secrets of creative people to Imaging USA highlights and wrap-ups, there's something for everyone! Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Weekly_Top_Ten_Excited.jpg

1. Imaging USA 2016, Imaging USA 2016 Review, & Imaging USA Fresh Look
IMAGING TOURS: Ann-Marie Ford has a great set of pics from Imaging up on her AM blog. Brian Striegler Photography recapped all three days of Imaging in great detail. Judith Chauvette took tons of model shots from Imaging USA and posted them to her Fresh Look blog. If you missed out this year, look through these and be very jealous. Then, mark your calendar to join us for Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, January 8-10!

2. Copyright: PPA Helps You Be More Informed, Be More Prepared, and Be More Involved!
©ACTION NEEDED: PPA's Lindsey Forson educates us on all the latest developments in U.S. Copyright Law. PPA has been advocating tirelessly for changes to the law that will protect small business, high-volume photographers. Check out how you can get involved as soon as legislation makes it to the floor of Congress.

3. Six Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People
CREATIVITY BOOST: Inc.com studies some of history's greatest creative minds and came up with this eye-opening list of daily habits they have in common. These six strategies have the power to change the way you think about creativity.

4. A Beginner's Guide to Working with Flash Off-Camera
LIGHTING HOW-TO GUIDE: In this tutorial, Digital Photography School shows you the quick and easy steps to shooting portraits using off-camera speedlights. From gear and setting up to step-by-step lighting, this Beginner's Guide is a must-read if you're working with off-camera flash.

5. Eight Ways to Separate Yourself From the Competition
BUSINESS HACKING: Rosh Sillars wants to help you get noticed and earn what you're worth. His eight steps aim to add value to what you do. Stepping outside of your bubble, engaging with worldwide cultures and trends and sending unique thank-you cards are just some of his tips for standing out from your competition.   

6. Time Lapse Imaging USA Trade Show Opening
TIME LAPSE TELLS A STORY: Check out this delightful footage from Successful-Photographer.com from the floor of the Georgia World Congress Center. See all the first-day madness from the bottom of the escalator when the Expo doors finally opened! 

7. Adulting with Randy Van Duinen
IMAGING RECAP: PhotoBomb guys Booray and Gary interview Randy Van Duinen for a three-part Imaging Recap podcast. Check out this second show, which is all about Randy's history and tips on how he makes a living with architectural photography.

8. Closing the Loop: Photographer Susan Michal
LEAD & INSPIRE: Read or listen to the amazing life story of Susan Michal, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, courtesy of WJCT, Florida. Learn how her music background combined with her passion and talent for photography and led her all the way to the Chairmanship of PPA.

9. Capturing the Female Form with Master Photographer Sue Bryce
IMAGING USA FAVORITE: RollingOut.com gives a play-by-play of one of the most popular classes at Imaging USA 2016: Sue Bryce. Find out why the packed audience was so excited to learn from one of the fashion world's greatest photographers.

10. Imaging USA 2016 Was Incredible!
EXPO VIDEO: Broadcast Pro Photo takes you on their journey of what made Imaging USA so special. Check out their iMovie video tour of the Expo floor and feel like you're really there. 

Hope you are as inspired and excited for 2016 post-Imaging USA as we are! This is going to be a great year! And please let us know what photography blogs or podcasts you follow! Post your favorite on theLoop or email us links at OnlineContentCommitee@PPA.com 
Thank you!

by Lindsey Forson

PPA has a full time presence on Capitol Hill fighting for the rights of professional photographers. In fact, as you read this, PPA's CEO David Trust is in Washington, D.C. meeting with key lawmakers. As we kick off our 2016 advocacy efforts, we have hope that this will be the year that a lot of hard work will pay off.
Know that PPA is fighting for your rights! This is why we want you to know exactly what the issues PPA advocates for are and why these issues have been prioritized. As a result, during the next six weeks, we'll post more updates right here, on the PPA Blog. Weekly posts will cover key priority areas of PPA's legislative advocacy efforts and provide updates on the most recent progress on Capitol Hill. You can also follow these stories on PPA.com/Advocacy.

This blog series will also offer a webinar to dig a bit deeper on the same topics and discuss strategies for grassroots advocacy. Here are the advocacy priorities you can expect to learn more about:

1.    The Creation of a Small Claims Option for Copyright Enforcement
2.    Modifications to the Copyright Registration process to create a more functional system
3.    Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

Do not miss out on these opportunities to become fully informed on these vital issues which directly affect your livelihood! The time to become educated is now - very soon PPA might be calling on you for help!

Why now?

The House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress has executed a comprehensive review of copyright in America during the past few years. PPA has been there all the way through, speaking out for the issues most important to the industry. In the next year or two, we hope to see legislation from this committee on issues vital to photography businesses, such as those outlined above. When, exactly? No one knows - which is the reason to prepare now.

If and when any copyright legislation moves from the Committee to the House floor, PPA will call on you! We will ask each and every PPA member to contact their representatives so that our voice truly is 29,000 photographers strong. Timing is essential - so it is extremely important to time this right. But when the day comes (hopefully soon!), PPA members will be educated and prepared to fight for your rights. Do your part now by taking full advantage of PPA's educational opportunities - Be More Protected!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

by Lindsey Forson

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding new FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips!

The new regulations released this week from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of Monday, the FAA launched a very simple online registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS during the first half of 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use by the spring of 2016. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage (link to last blog post) for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS after the jump:

by Lindsey Forson

You may have heard about the Copyright Review currently underway in the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives. If so, read on, as this is going to be a good update, otherwise read on, as this is stuff photographers need to know. You may be wondering what a Copyright Review on Capitol Hill could mean for you and your business. Some photographers may even be worried about potential changes to the Copyright Act, while others are excited about the prospect of improvements for small business creators. There is a lot of information floating around about this Copyright Review process and while most of it is very informative, a small amount is quite misleading.

That is why we are separating facts from fiction for you!

PPA works on advocacy in very close cooperation with several other visual arts associations. In recent PPA advocacy coverage you have likely read about the congressional briefing PPA hosted on Capitol Hill in which we included many of these organizations and the annual summit we participated in where we worked with these groups to set joint legislative priorities for the coming year. Another recent joint venture is a free webcast produced for the creative community, Copyright Reform: Separating Fact from Fiction.

We encourage professional photographers across the U.S. regardless of your specialty, to check out this series of six mini-webcasts as they will give you expert insight into just what exactly is going on up on the Hill.

The webinars are presented by two copyright esteemed experts in the field: June Besek, Executive Director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School and intellectual property attorney Nancy Wolff of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to hear about this important topic.

PPA is extremely excited about the possibility of some real, tangible improvements to our nation's Copyright System, especially for professional photographers! With our feet on the ground on Capitol Hill, we are actively fighting for a small claims enforcement option, improvements to the registration system, and modernization of the Copyright Office that will immensely help protect, enforce and defend photographers' copyrights! You can rest assured that should anything arise from the Copyright Review that could potentially be harmful to creators, PPA is here, fighting for photographers rights in particular, visual artists rights in general!

Learn more about PPA's advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy and Be More Protected!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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by Lindsey Forson

While anxiously awaiting the new regulations from the FAA that will allow for business-related use of "drones", or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), many professional photographers have already purchased UAS to use for non-business-related aerial photography. Operating as a hobbyist gives you the opportunity to master the craft before you can integrate UAS photography into your business. Because UAS photography is soon to become even more prominent within the industry, PPA is dedicated to keeping you in the loop as regulatory changes occur!

Yesterday, the FAA released a new rule requiring the registration of all UAS. This rule becomes Federal Law on December 21, 2015. Users who do not register will be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

For small UAS, which is defined as UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds including the camera weight, the FAA is launching a web-based registration system beginning December 21. The registration fee is $5.00, but if you register prior to January 30, your fee will be waived. Upon completing the online registration, users will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership which will include a unique identification number. The ID number must be marked on the aircraft.

This new rule, however, does not affect the legality of business-related use of UAS. "We understand that the time is now for professional photographers to have the ability to integrate this technology into their businesses," says David Trust, CEO of PPA. "PPA continues to send the message to the FAA and Congress that time is of the essence for professional photographers to stay competitive in today's industry. We are urging the FAA to finalize the new regulations as soon as possible and are advocating for regulations that are not prohibitive to photographers." Until the FAA releases new regulations for non-hobby and non-recreational use of small UAS, professional photographers may only utilize UAS in connection with their businesses if they have been granted a Section 333 exemption from the FAA and the UAS is operated by a licensed pilot. We expect the new regulations to be released during the first half of 2016.

 For this reason, the online UAS registration system currently only supports UAS used for hobby or recreational purposes. The FAA has announced that it will integrate enhancements allowing for the registration of unmanned aircraft to be used in connection with a business by spring of 2016. More information from the FAA is available here

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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By Lindsey Forson

Running a successful photography business is no easy task! Professional photographers are required to keep so many balls in the air: marketing, budgeting, scheduling, studio management, professional development, legal matters, and of course there's photography. That's why PPA is here to provide support on virtually every aspect of your photography business.
One especially difficult area to navigate is the complex and ever-changing legal landscape that affects photography businesses. This is why PPA strives to keep photographers educated on the most important issues and works tirelessly to fight for your rights through our advocacy work.

Because the photographic industry is so diverse, it is vital that all stakeholders work together to promote strong copyright law and to advocate for other issues affecting small photography businesses. We can accomplish much more on Capitol Hill when we have a united voice across the visual arts industries. This is why PPA organized an industry-wide visual arts briefing on the Hill last month. And this is the reason we work closely with other visual arts associations to advocate for you!

PPA's CEO, David Trust, and PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs Coordinator, Lindsey Forson, participated this week in our annual summit for visual arts associations. PPA sat around a table along with representatives from the American Photographic Artists, the American Society of Media Photographers, the Digital Media Licensing Association, the Graphic Artists Guild, the North American Nature Photography Association, the National Press Photographers Association, and the PLUS coalition. We also collectively met with, Keith Kupferschmid - the new CEO of the Copyright Alliance, of which PPA is a member, to discuss how the Alliance can continue to support our advocacy efforts in D.C.

The summit resulted in established collective legislative priorities for 2016 and planned advocacy strategies for the upcoming year. We also planned for joint educational efforts and awareness campaigns. All of the associations agree with PPA that the top advocacy priority for the coming years is the creation of a small claims process for copyright enforcement. We will also collectively advocate for the modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office and for repairs to our nation's one-size-fits-all copyright registration system. There are other important issues that we plan to address through unique efforts such as the expansion of fair use and mass digitization issues.

PPA continues to receive an extremely optimistic response from the House Judiciary Committee regarding our priorities. We know that Copyright Small Claims and Copyright Office Modernization are among the top priorities for many members of the Committee. PPA expects 2016 to be a very important year concerning improvements to our nation's copyright system, and we hope to actually see legislation proposed on these important issues. Be sure to stay tuned to PPA's Advocacy Coverage (PPA.com/Advocacy) in the coming year to learn how you can help - and Be More Protected!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.
By Lindsey Forson

Improvements to our nation's copyright system just might be on the horizon. The House Judiciary Committee just wrapped up a series of hearings known as the Copyright Review. In an effort to reach more stakeholders, this Committee held a nationwide listening tour.

PPA CEO David Trust participated in one of these roundtable discussions during yesterday's Copyright Review tour stop in Los Angeles, California. Trust focused on the most pressing legislative issue for PPA photographers - the creation of a small claims process for copyright enforcement. He explained to the dozen Congress members in attendance that the current copyright system falls short for many creators (especially photographers!), because there are not effective enforcement mechanisms available. 

As the Copyright Review unfolds, Chairman Goodlatte and the Committee have expressed interest in acting on a few key issues, including the modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office and copyright small claims. This is great news as these are included in PPA's top priorities! We hope to see these issues turn into proposed legislation during the next two years. 

Aside from the roundtable discussion, Trust had several meaningful conversations during his time in Los Angeles. He touched base with Linda Shim, Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Judy Chu, who worked closely with PPA in coordinating last week's congressional briefing. Congresswoman Chu is a big supporter of copyright and is one of the top proponents of the U.S. Copyright Office modernization. Chu actually co-sponsored a discussion draft of a U.S. Copyright Office Modernization Bill and will likely sponsor an updated version of this legislative proposal. While in L.A., Trust also connected with Congressman Cohen, another member of the House Judiciary Committee.

PPA is hard at work advocating for the copyright improvements vital to professional photographers. And the Committee who oversees copyright issues is listening! Be sure to stay tuned for more PPA's advocacy updates or to learn how YOU can help when legislation moves to the floor - This will help you and fellow photographers and Be More Protected.

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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If you've been keeping up with PPA's advocacy coverage, you know that right now is an extremely important time for copyright on Capitol Hill. The House Judiciary Committee recently wrapped up a series of 20 hearings, known as the Copyright Review, during which they heard testimony from 100 witnesses. Following the last hearing, Chairman Goodlatte - chairman of the Committee - announced that they would extend the Copyright Review through a listening tour. 

The Copyright Review Listening Tour involves members of the Committee traveling the country to hear directly from content creators and other key copyright stakeholders. The first stop on the tour was held in Nashville, Tennessee where the conversation centered on the music industry. This week there are two more listening sessions to be held in California, today in the Silicon Valley, and tomorrow in Los Angeles - both of these stops aim to capture a broader view of the copyright industries, involving representatives from the motion picture industry, the visual arts, publishers, libraries, image licensing organizations, professional photographers, tech companies and more.

PPA CEO David Trust received a personal invitation from Chairman Goodlatte to sit on the panel in Los Angeles as the voice of the photographic industry. There will be a dozen members of Congress present at the panel discussion and PPA's CEO will petition them for repairs to the copyright system in America so that it works for all creators. Trust will continue to voice PPA's message - that current copyright in America disenfranchises the vast majority of creators by not offering adequate enforcement mechanisms for copyright infringements, and that now is the time to fix this inequity. He will also reinforce PPA's three main legislative priorities: 1) the implementation of a small claims process for copyright enforcement, 2) modifications to the copyright registration system, and 3) modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office. 

Stay tuned for an update following this Copyright Review listening session!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator.  She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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"What does published even mean?" Modernizing the Copyright Office to Simplify the Process for Independent Creators

By Sarah Howes and Leo Lichtman
Originally posted on CopyrightAlliance.org

Mary Fisk-Taylor runs Real Life photography studio, and her thoughts on copyright law are very much that: a real life perspective. She is the kind of photographer that many Americans are familiar with; she takes photos of soccer games, newborn babies, and weddings, like tens of thousands of professional photographers across the country. On any given assignment, she will capture thousands of images, but does not register a single one with the U.S. Copyright Office. 

Fisk-Taylor was one of five photographer and illustrator panelists at Visual Artists in America: The Untold Story of Copyright, along with Denis Reggie, John Schmelzer, Lisa Shaftel, and Michael Grecco, whose works have been featured everywhere from magazines and newspapers to film and architectural installations.  The event was put on by the Creative Rights Caucus in partnership with several visual arts groups, including Copyright Alliance members Professional Photographers of America, Graphic Artists Guild, American Society of Media Photographers, and the National Press Photographers Association.

One of the major topics discussed was how the current registration process works--or is not working--for visual artists. The current registration system is impractical for visual artist's business needs. For many photographers, graphic designers, and illustrators, the cost and time required to register the voluminous collections they create outweighs the benefits. This in turn gives them little to no leverage in being able to enforce their rights, creating an online culture of take first and ask forgiveness later, rather than a culture that respects the legitimate markets that visual artists depend on to make their livings.

Presently, copyright registration requires separate applications for published and unpublished works. A single registration costs between $35-$85, depending on a number of factors. If works are unpublished, creators have more flexibility to register works within a single application for one fee. Whereas, if works are published, then they are typically restricted to only registering works as a collection if the images themselves are published as a collection. 

Photographers are provided a special exception: published photographs taken within the same calendar year can be registered in one application, regardless of whether the images were published together as a collection. There is no such exception for illustrators or other visual artists unless their work is published in a periodical (like a newspaper).  

"What does published even mean?" wondered Fisk-Taylor. Does publication require printing the images in a bound book? Is posting an image to a website publication? Freelance photographers take thousands of images a day, and few, if any, of those images will ever be published in a traditional book. Even with the photograph group exception, photographers must still register their published and unpublished works separately. 

Yet, even if a visual artist can register her work, there is often no way of effectively enforcing the rights in her work, because the costs of bringing a federal lawsuit quite often outweigh any potential recovery for infringement. While creators of works with high individual value can sometimes afford to bring lawsuits, a vast majority of visual artists--one of the largest groups of creators--are essentially priced out of the legal system. Several on the panel supported a small claims process for copyright enforcement. For many in the visual arts community, this is one of the most important improvements to be made so that visual artists can receive equal treatment under the law.

Like many other independent creators, the five visual artists on the panel support Register Maria A. Pallante's call for a modernization of the Copyright Office. Better registration technologies and clearer registration guidelines will empower visual artists, big and small, to enforce their rights. Though the Copyright Office works with visual artists to address their challenges, it lacks the resources and authority necessary to effectively administer the law, panelists noted.
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Today during out visit to D.C., we continued to focus on the same three priorities:

  • including creation of a small claims process for copyright enforcement, 
  • improving/modifying the copyright registration process, and 
  • modernizing the U.S. copyright office.
We started the morning with an introductory meeting with Reginald Babin, Legislative Director from the Office of Congressman Cedric Richmond. Congressman Richmond is on the Judiciary Committee and before being elected, was the Louisiana State Representative for District 101 from 2000 to 2011, where he served as the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and a member of the Ways and Means, House Executive, and Legislative Audit Advisory committees. Richmond also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on the Judiciary. During the meeting, we introduced Babin to PPA and presented our three priorities. He was very receptive to our message.

Our next stop was a meeting with Chris Randal, Legislative Counsel for Congresswoman Karen Bass. Prior to serving in Congress, Congresswoman Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, catapulting her to become the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve in this powerful state legislative role. Bass serves on the House Judiciary Committee (Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations) and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Get the full details of the Creative Rights Caucus here. Here are some behind the scenes images taken through out the day!

Preparing for our presentation with Lindsey Forson, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator!

PPA CEO, David Trust and Director of Member Value & Experience, Kristen Hartmen review notes.

The Creative Rights Caucus is packed and in full swing!

PPA photographer Jamie Hayes multitasks between capturing new headshots and talking about the issues.

Copyright movers and shakers mingle.

PPA photographer Jamie Hayes in action.

Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congressman Doug Collins speaking to the Creative Rights Caucus

PPA CEO David Trust and Denis Reggie chat before the event.

Behind the scenes of the Creative Rights Caucus

PPA photographers Mary Fisk-Taylor & Jamie Hayes prepare the headshot station.

... or when the U.S. Copyright System Received Grades of Ds and Fs

By Lindsey Forson

To get a quick background on why we were in Washington, DC for this event, get the background info in this blog post.

The briefing was a huge success! Over 100 people were in attendance, most of who are on the staffs of key members of Congress. Our panel of five distinguished visual artists, Denis Reggie, John Schmelzer, Lisa Shaftel, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, and Michael Grecco, spoke passionately about how copyright is at the core of their livelihoods and why copyright protection matters.

The primary message of the panel discussion was that although the copyright system in the United States may work for some creators such as the high value, low-volume creators like motion picture creators, it does not work at all for small business creators like visual artists in general and photographers in particular. When asked to grade the copyright system in America for how well it works for each of their specialties, the panelists gave either a D or an F! Some of the issues pointed out were loss of control of images on the Internet, a copyright registration system that does not work for the visual arts industries, and the fact that the only option for legal enforcement is in federal court which is simply not a feasible option for the vast majority of creators. Here is the handout that was given at the event that outlined our priorities. 

PPA CEO David Trust moderated the panel discussion. He asked our speakers to offer solutions to these issues. One solution presented by several panelists was a small claims process for copyright enforcement. 

"If we don't implement a small claims process for copyright enforcement, even if a perfect registration system is created, it will be irrelevant for small business creators for whom it's not feasible to sue in federal court," said Mary Fisk-Taylor who is co-owner of Hayes & Fisk Photography and a Member of the Board of Directors for PPA.

All of the panelists agreed that it is crucial to make improvements to the copyright registration process and to modernize the U.S. copyright office.

The audience was intrigued by the discussion and asked important questions to make sure that they had full understanding of the issues. Public misconception of copyright even extends to Capitol Hill. One question asked was, "What exactly is copyright? What does your copyright do for you?" This gave our panel the opportunity to educate the audience on the most fundamental aspect of this topic - what is copyright - which is truly not understood at all by too many.

By Lindsey Forson

We know you do everything you can to protect your copyright! From educating your clients on the law to including a copyright notice on your published work, you are diligent about protecting your rights because you know it is your livelihood. Unfortunately, there are still barriers to copyright enforcement for professional photographers including big public misconceptions, a general lack of legal enforcement and legal options, and a complicated copyright registration process. We also know that if you could meet with law-makers personally to discuss these issues, you would! Because running a successful photography studio keeps you busy enough, PPA works hard to be the voice of professional photographers in Washington, D.C., protecting, defending and advancing copyright matters for all visual artists.

And this week, we're at it again! Your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team is in our nation's capital speaking out for the rights of professional photographers. During this trip PPA  is hosting a briefing to the Creative Rights Caucus of the United States House of Representatives, in collaboration with several other visual arts associations. Key members of Congress related to copyright law and their staffs will be present at the event. They will hear about the copyright challenges that affect the visual arts industries directly from a panel of visual artists.

After the event, your PPA team will sit down directly these law-makers for a deeper discussion of legislative priorities relating to professional photographers. We continue to petition for a small claims process for copyright enforcement as the most vital improvement to our nation's copyright system for small business creators including photographers. We will also discuss the legislative changes that are much needed to both improve the copyright registration process, and to modernize the U.S. Copyright Office. Thankfully, all of these issues continue to be met with great optimism by members of Congress and we hope that this briefing and follow-up conversations will provide a unique perspective on the importance and urgency of these issues.

Check back in on our blog to see the most recent updates, as we'll be reporting back several times this week!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator.  She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

By Lindsey Forson

Since one of the most significant concerns of professional photographers is copyright protection, PPA strives to constantly advocate on copyright issues.  One of our goals is to forge relationships with key lawmakers, and as intellectual property law is overseen at the Federal level by the House Judiciary Committee, our advocacy efforts are currently focused toward members of this committee. 

Usually these conversations take place on Capitol Hill during monthly trips made by CEO David Trust and the PPA's Government Affairs team.  Recently though, Congressman Doug Collins, U.S. Representative from Georgia, stopped by PPA's headquarters for a discussion on copyright issues. Congressman Collins is a member of the House Judiciary Committee; he is the Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; and is the Co-Chair of the House Creative Rights Caucus. In a nutshell, Congressman Collins is a rising star on Capitol Hill when it comes to advocating for creators' rights and we thank him for that.

David Trust and Congressman Collins discussed several related topics, including the overall importance of intellectual property protection, the copyright review process that has been on-going in the House Judiciary Committee, copyright issues specific to high-volume creators such as photographers, and what we may expect in terms of legislative action. We've been able to record the interview, so check it out in the video below:

For more information on other causes that PPA supports, read more on PPA.com/Advocacy

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator.  She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

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Like every month, PPA is back on Washington to advocate with legislators for your photography rights! Small business owners are often overlooked by the law, but PPA is on the Hill to make sure photographers are accounted for in the upcoming new copyright legislation.

Yesterday, PPA's advocacy team met with Corey Cooke and Joe Hartz who both serve on the Hill as Counsel to the House Small Business Committee. 

"We discussed various issues affecting small photography businesses including copyright issues, health care concerns, and drone photography," said Lindsey Forson, PPA's copyright & government affairs coordinator. "This introductory meeting made sure these important people on the Hill know who PPA is and what issues are important to the 28,000+ photographers and small business owners PPA represents. The goal is to forge positive relationships with those looking out for the concerns of small business owners like photographers."

Today's agenda includes meetings with:

  • The Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator

"There is a new coordinator in place and we want to establish a relationship with the office and make sure they are thinking about small business copyright issues," said Forson.

  • The U.S. Copyright Office

To discuss the Copyright review process.


James Williams, the Federal Aviation Administration's Chief of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, announced during a panel discussion Monday, May 4, that a final rule on the new regulations for small drone operation will most likely be made within the next 16 months. 

Of course 16 months might not sound ideal, as we would like for drone regulations to be improved now. However, the announcement of a time frame is a positive development. Additionally, given the complexity of the FAA as a federal agency and that just last month they received thousands of comments on their proposed regulations, 16 months or less is probably a better than what we could hope for in terms of a timeline. At PPA, we are confident that the new rule will make drone photography a feasible option for professional photographers.

Here is Williams' full statement:

"The standard timeline from the completion of a comment period to federal rule is 16 months. I believe that the FAA will do everything within its power to meet that timeline or beat it. It is a fairly complex rule and there are a lot of comments that have to be resolved, and it will take some time to do it. But it's an administrator-level priority to get this done, and I believe this interest is shared all the way up the chain inside the executive branch. I'm confident it will move forward as fast as humanly possible."

This statement follows last month's progress on new drone regulations. We will continue to keep you up to date as the situation develops!

With PPA, Be More In The Know.

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PPA's copyright team is back in Atlanta after spending the past few days in our nation's capital, advocating for the issues that matter most to professional photographers. Catch up on Tuesday and Wednesday's events, and then read the recap below for more details! Things are REALLY moving in the right direction on the copyright front!

By Lindsey Forson

This is an exciting time in the world of copyright policy. We're expecting to see proposed legislation, as early as this legislative session, which could result in the first changes to the Copyright Act in over four decades! This trip was effective in terms of our lobbying efforts and extremely educational in our understanding of what changes might be forthcoming.

One of the highlights of the visit was attending a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee during which Maria Pallante, the Register of the U.S. Copyright Office testified. This was the last hearing of a copyright review process that has been going on for more than two years. In 2013, Pallante was the first to call for the review of Copyright Law and administration. Since then, the Committee has held 20 hearings and heard 100 testimonies on the topic. It was only fitting for Pallante to testify again in the final hearing.

Pallante gave her perspective on what should be the Committee's priorities moving forward. She called for a modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office, addressing concerns with its organizational structure, I.T. capacity, budgeting, and staffing. She also presented items she believes are ready for legislative action. We were most excited to hear that a small claims process for addressing copyright infringements is (finally) on the top of that list. Pallante urged members of the Committee to take action now. Additionally, she presented issues in need of further investigation and analysis such as Section 512 of the Act and mass digitization. You can access her full testimony here.

The rest of our trip focused on lobbying appointments with members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will be the group to propose new copyright legislation. We met with several freshman members of Congress who sit on the Committee or their staff members, to introduce them to who PPA is and the issues that are important to us.

Copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. With a photography career, it is inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringements at some point. The following are real infringement stories from PPA photographers. These situations could happen to you, so read up and be sure you're prepared!                                                                                                                   
"I didn't know I couldn't reproduce the images."

PPA member Denise Watrous found an envelope of her photographs backstage at the event she was working. She noticed the photos were taken during a former job but they had been printed by a major chain retailer. Denise reached out to both the young lady in the photograph and the retailer about their infringement. The woman was apologetic and claimed she didn't know she could not reproduce the images. Turns out, Denise was able to maintain a good relationship with the consumer while taking steps to educate and ensure she would not repeat another infringement.

However, the retailer was not so apologetic and was quick to blame the consumer - this is when Denise called PPA. We discussed the situation and gave her some information on retailers' responsibility to follow copyright law. Denise held the retailer accountable - it is their responsibility not to print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written permission from the photographer, even if the consumer tells them otherwise! Denise was able to negotiate with the retailer's attorney herself to reach an agreement and get a payout. 

Denise's situation with this retailer inspired her to get involved in PPA's photo retailer awareness campaign for Copyright Awareness Month. Members can sign up to receive educational brochures to distribute to local photo retailers while discussing photographic copyright. This is just one more way to protect your images. If you would like to get involved, sign-up on the Copyright Awareness page on PPA.com!

Lessons Learned:

  • Stand up for yourself - it pays off! And you don't always need an attorney to do so.
  • Keep copyright conversations with you clients educational. It will help you keep and gain customers.
  • Educating clients and local retailers is crucial to protecting your images. Sometimes infringers don't know any better, but their ignorance can harm your business.

Even Celebrities Can Infringe On You

In this case, the PPA photographer must remain anonymous, as the situation is ongoing. This photographer took a collection of photographs at an event which they later posted in an online gallery in which one of the photos pictured a prominent celebrity. They shared the photo with a family member but did not give permission for it to be distributed, printed or posted. The photo then found its way onto the celebrity's social media pages.

Next, the photo was picked up by major publications, and when we say major, we mean major!  The photographer grew distraught as they thought about the amount of money they lost due to the lack of a photo credit. This member called PPA and has kept us updated on the situation. They are working with an attorney to try and recoup the lost payments.

For Your Consideration:

  • Inform/educate your clients! Make sure they understand you own the copyright, and that they have no right to print, post, or copy them without your consent.
  • Register your photos with the U.S. Copyright Office before you share them, especially photos that would be particularly vulnerable to infringements. This will help if you ever find yourself in a copyright legal case and affects the amount you can seek in damages. 
  • Mark your images as copyrighted before posting them. If anything, it will clearly show people that this image belongs to you. Remember that your images do not have to be registered for you to mark them. Example: ¬© 2015. PPA (include your contact information for further visibility.)
Watermark your images with your logo or another visual cue before posting or sharing them. Again, it will clearly show the images belong to you.

Take extra care in explaining your clients what copyright is and how easily they can infringe without meaning it. Here are a few things you can do:



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