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By James Yates
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As a member of PPA, you've got a virtual suit-of-armor surrounding you. It's the PPA Shield, and it has you covered on all sides.

That's (one of the) the advantages of belonging to an organization that's had photographers backs and that helps you be more profitable. PPA's protection benefits include various forms of insurance, advocacy and education:

•    Up to $15,000 of PhotoCare Equipment Insurance

•    Malpractice, Negligence & Data Loss Protection (PPA's Indemnification Trust)

•    Up to $2 million in General Liability Coverage

•    Copyright Kit, Copyright Infringement Tool, & Advocacy Updates 

•    Drone (UAS) News & Updates

When stuff hits the fan, and it always, inevitably does, professional photographers know that they have a strong shield protecting them with their PPA membership. The three forms of photographic insurance combine to keep you fully protected no matter what the situation. If you break your camera or it's stolen from your car? Be sure you've activated your PhotoCare! Have an unsatisfied client or did you lose all the data on your hard drive? PPA's Indemnification Trust is like malpractice protection for professional photographers. Did someone get hurt or something get destroyed on your shoot? General Liability Coverage can handle that.

You also need a way to cut through the clutter surrounding legal issues and PPA has positioned itself as the top authority on all things Drone and Copyright-related. For instance, did you know that it is only currently legal to operate a drone as a hobbyist? If you're using your drone for commercial or civil use, you must have an FAA exemption and a pilot's license. Didn't know that? It's just one more way PPA wants to keep you informed, in order to keep you legally protected. PPA consistently brings you updates from the FAA, and lobbies for the relaxing of commercial-drone-use. This summer should bring the changes we've been waiting for. Head over to PPA.com/Drones for all the latest details.

Stay up-to-date on all the progress PPA is making on Copyright issues and the implementation of new copyright law at PPA.com/Advocacy. Feel like you've been infringed upon or had your works of art stolen? PPA will protect you with our Copyright Kit and new self-assessment tool at PPA.com/Copyright. The new tool is a great way to learn how to proceed if you feel your photos have been lifted. It's easy to use, quick and painless...because having your work stolen is painful enough!

The next time you're feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed by everything life can throw at a small business owner, lean on your PPA membership and feel secure. Let PPA Be Your Shield! Find out how you and your photography business can Be More Protected with PPA! PPA.com/Protection.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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by Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Your PPA team is on Capitol Hill this week, advocating for stronger copyright protections to benefit artists like YOU! After yesterday's celebration of Intellectual Property Day, we continued with more meetings with senators in a position to help with our mission to empower small business photographers.  

This morning PPA's CEO, Membership Director, and Government Affairs Manager met with David Rybicki, Counsel for Senator Perdue (R-GA). Since the State of Georgia is home to PPA headquarters, we had an added connection with this office. We introduced PPA's priorities and discussed our small claims proposal in depth. David seemed intrigued by the proposal and is eager to consult with Senator Perdue on it. Senator Perdue has a business background and is strong on IP protection issues, so we suspect that this will be a great office to continue working with.

Next, we met with Garrett Levin with the office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Senator Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also has many artistic pursuits himself (including photography!) and is a very strong copyright advocate. This office will be an integral part of any success of small claims legislation on the senate side. Garrett, who had studied our proposal prior to the meeting and was prepared with very specific questions for us, provided great insight into how we might best set up potential legislation for success. He has worked on these issues for a long time and the knowledge he shared was very helpful. We also discussed registration issues in depth. Garrett is very interested in creating solutions to the problems surrounding the deposit requirement that is a part of the copyright registration process. We will be meeting with his office again in the very near future.

These meetings are a big deal as they really help to advance photographers' copyright enforcement and copyright protection in general. PPA puts the time and effort year-round into pushing these issues because they impact the livelihood of our profession. This is why it is so encouraging to see these pieces of the puzzle come together, pushing us steps closer to our goal.

Stay up-to-date here on PPA's blog and on PPA.com/Advocacy for everything you need to know about PPA's work on Capitol Hill. It will help you be more protected and be more prepared.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!


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by Lindsey Forson
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4/26/16, 5pm:
Today was packed with meetings that shed more light on the work being done to strengthen copyright protection in the U.S. First, the Government Affairs team had a pair of introductory meetings on the issue of copyright small claims. We met with Skiffington Holderness from the office of Senator James Risch (R-ID) to introduce the idea of copyright small claims. Senator Risch is on the small business committee and we would love to see them hold a hearing on the issue. Skiffington was very receptive to our cause and said he would love to dig into it deeper and meet with us again to discuss. We look forward to that and hope to work with this office to shed light on the need for small claims.

We also met with Matt Sangren, the Chief IP Counsel to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to discuss all of our priority issues. Senator Hatch is a long time copyright advocate, and we are very appreciative of that. We hope to work with this office on copyright small claims and other issues important to small-business creators. We provided Matt with our small claims white paper. He is excited to look further into the issue and work with us. IMG_3260.JPG

The back half of our day included an excellent meeting with Jonathan Nabavi, Counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). He was very interested in the idea of small claims and asked a lot of questions about how to make the potential small claims process work best for small creators. We also discussed our concerns with the "one-size-fits-all" copyright registration process that makes it very burdensome for professional photographers who produce the highest volume of creations among the copyright holder community. These issues include the requirement to sort images according to publication status and date and to deposit each individual photograph. Senator Grassley will be a very important component to achieving our goal since he is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We are excited to see what will come of getting his office engaged on the issue.

Your PPA team is now headed to the World Intellectual Property Day reception! We'll be mixing and mingling on Capitol Hill with the other IP stakeholders and supportive members of Congress.

We have more great meetings lined up for tomorrow! Stay glued to PPA Today or PPA.com/Advocacy for all the updates!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!


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by Lindsey Forsoncapitol.jpg

Today is World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, and PPA's Government Affairs team is spending it fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill! Celebrated internationally on April 26, World IP Day marks the date in 1970 when the World Intellectual Property Organization Convention became active. It's observed today as a way of promoting a general understanding of intellectual property and its importance. This year, PPA will be in attendance at several World IP Day events in DC to network with other copyright stakeholders and discuss shared goals.

These events are just one small part of PPA's April advocacy visit to Capitol Hill. We also have several very important lobbying meetings to promote potential copyright small claims legislation and other key priorities. Our appointments include meetings with the offices of the Chairman Senator Hatch and the Ranking Member Senator Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Recently, PPA's copyright advocacy efforts have been mostly focused on the U.S. House of Representatives. This is due to the fact that the House Judiciary Committee has performed a comprehensive review of copyright law over the past couple of years. As our top priority issue gains increased support on the House side, PPA is now connecting with key offices in the Senate Judiciary Committee to introduce and promote the idea of copyright small claims. No matter who ultimately introduces a small claims bill, the legislation will have the best opportunity for success if it already has wide support throughout Congress when introduced.

You can rest assured that along with promoting small claims legislation, PPA is speaking up on all of the copyright issues affecting professional photographers. Recently, we submitted comments to the US Copyright Office concerning issues with both the copyright registration process and the DMCA notice and takedown process. We will continue to discuss these topics and others with key law-makers and agency heads.

Be more educated and get your Copyright Resources now at PPA.com/Copyright. And stay tuned to PPA.com/Advocacy this week for updates from Capitol Hill!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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By Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

As part of April's increased copyright awareness efforts, PPA's government affairs team created two new copyright webinars. The webinars are available through PPAedu and were created to help you increase your copyright knowledge and protection efforts.

Copyright Basics: What Every Professional Photographer Needs to Know provides a brief overview of photographic copyright. Though this is not an incredibly exciting topic, copyright is something that you, as a professional photographer, should have at least basic understanding of. By tuning in, you will learn the basics of federal copyright law and how it affects your business. The webinar also provides an overview of how to protect your copyright and how to recognize and deal with copyright infringements. Finally, you will learn how to access and take advantage of PPA's copyright resources. You may have tuned into this webinar in the past, but now there's an updated version on PPAedu.

Ten Tips for Protecting Your Copyright presents the nuts and bolts of image protection. As a professional photographer, you want to protect your photographs from copyright infringements but may not be sure of what steps you can take. From educating your clients to registering your work, this webinar gives you the tools you need to make sure your photos are as safe as possible.

These webinars do not present legal advice but are full of useful educational information. Don't miss out - take advantage of this opportunity to fine-tune your copyright knowledge! Check out PPA's helpful Copyright Tool and Kit at PPA.com/Copyright. And stay up-to-date with all of PPA's Copyright advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy.


Thumbnail image for Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!
by Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Copyright protection is vital to professional photographers. It is what preserves the value of your creations and, without it, a photography business could be very difficult to maintain. Many people think of copyright as something that only really affects rich and famous, Hollywood creators. But we know better!

We know that, more than anything else, copyright is a small business issue.  PPA works year-round to spread this message and to fight for vital improvements to America's copyright system. In honor of April's World Copyright Day, we have gone the extra mile this month - but we need your help!

What is PPA doing?

As always, we are advocating on Capitol Hill for copyright improvements that are essential to professional photographers. At the center of our advocacy is the creation of a copyright small claims option for infringement claims.  We are also sending the message to the public that copyright protects small businesses across the country, and therefore, respecting copyright law is essential to our economy. PPA circulates copyright-related press releases to the media and welcomes copyright-related inquiries from consumers and photo retailers. Through this process, we provide resources which educate the public on copyright law and connect consumers with copyright owners of images they wish to have reproduced.

What's new?

Just this month, PPA launched our new Copyright Infringement Help Tool - an interactive resource available to PPA members 24/7 to help you deal with the unauthorized uses of your work. We released a Copyright FAQ section on the website which gives you simple answers to your most common copyright questions. Also launched this month is a new website, CopyrightDefense.com, which provides resources to policy-makers and other interested parties related to top advocacy priorities for the visual arts community. On this website you will find a video entitled, "Who is the Copyright Holder Next Door?" The video provides compelling insight into copyright as a small business issue.





How can you help?

The most important thing you can do is protect your own copyright. Begin with your PPA Copyright Kit to reinforce your copyright knowledge. Be sure to educate your clients about copyright and how it relates to the products they purchase. Keep up with PPA's advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy, and be sure your voice is heard when the time is right. In honor of World Copyright Day, take it a step or two further! Have a conversation about how copyright protects your business with at least one friend, family member, or person you come in contact with. Share PPA's new video with your social media networks with your own copyright story or personal message.

Copyright protection is important today and every day. PPA's voice is 29,000 strong - so let's work together to create awareness!  And don't forget to take advantage of your PPA copyright resources which can all be accessed at PPA.com/Copyright.


Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!
By James YatesThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

By now you know PPA is always fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill, lobbying and advocating for improvements to copyright registration and the modernization of the copyright office (including a small claims option).

We're pretty proud of the "big-picture" ways that we're working to improve your business's sustainability and profits, but there's a smaller, peer-to-peer way that PPA has helped, behind the scenes, for years: assessing whether or not members' works have been infringed.

In the old days (up until this month), if a PPA member felt their work may have been lifted without their permission, they would call and speak directly to our Government Affairs Coordinator. The GAC would walk each caller through the appropriate steps of determining if the use of a work was a violation of copyright law and what the next steps to take were.

Now, in honor of World Copyright Day being right around the corner (April 23rd), PPA is unveiling our newest member tool: the Copyright Infringement Assistance tool! This fast and easy tool does, online and in minutes, what the GAC used to do over the phone. Call it the "scaling up" of helping our members. With the new tool, if you think you've been infringed upon, you only have to answer 2-3 questions and the tool will generate specific help for you, including DCMA takedown notices, certified letters to the infringing parties or letting you know when it's time to contact an attorney.

If you feel your work has been infringed upon, but you don't know what to do about it, PPA can help with our Copyright Infringement Assistance tool. It's designed to point you in the right direction, with steps you can take to stop the infringement! It's quick and painless...because having your art stolen is painful enough! Come see how it all works, and also get your hands on our Copyright Kit and see Anne Geddes speak on the subject, at PPA.com/Copyright.

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by James Yates

Every once in a while, we get a little star-struck here at PPA headquarters. For instance, when someone as famous as Anne Geddes stops by, and proves to be amazingly down-to-earth and kind, we can't help but feel super-proud to be doing what we do. Anne has teamed up with PPA to help spread the word about Copyright Law in the U.S. and how vital it is that you protect your images.

Anne sat with us to film a Red Chair video and we're over-the-moon about her excitement and passion for our Copyright Defense projects. In this video, you'll see that Anne knows how important it is for a 29,000+-member strong association like PPA to "have your back". She recounts how difficult it was to protect your work as an artist in the 1980s and early-90s before PPA began lobbying and fighting for stronger copyright protections for photographers. Now, Anne is making sure photographers know the importance of having their work copyrighted and having PPA's resources at their side if any theft occurs.



April 23rd is World Copyright Awareness Day and PPA is celebrating all month long. In addition to the release of this new celebrity interview, you can find a brand-new Copyright Tool on our website to help guide you, step-by-step, through the process of determining and stopping an infringement. Members can also pick up our Copyright Kit* for all the forms and info you need to Be More Protected. Stay up-to-date at PPA.com/Advocacy to read about all the exciting progress our Government Affairs team is making on Capitol Hill to expand and strengthen copyright protection for small businesses like YOU.

Check out the video and come by PPA.com/Copyright to Be More Protected!

*A "lite" version of the Kit is available to non-members so you can share it with your friends. Because copyright protection is important for ALL photographers, not just our members (but we're sure that after seeing all the work we're doing to keep them protected, they will want to sign up at PPA.com/Join)!

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by Lindsey Forson

PPA's rounded out its time in Washington, D.C. with a full day of meetings yesterday:imageloc.JPG
 
•    First, we met with Tiffany Angulo in the office of Congressman Jim Jordan.
•    Then the team headed over to the Library of Congress for a meeting with Karyn Temple Claggett, the Director of Policy for the U.S. Copyright Office, and several of her colleagues.
•    Next we headed to the Copyright Alliance for a meeting with other stakeholders throughout the copyright-reliant industries.

The meeting with Congressman Jordan's Office was somewhat of an introduction. PPA had not recently met with this Office, therefore we gave an overview of PPA's role in the photographic community and our work on copyright defense, and presented to them copyright small claims as our top issue. Congressman Jordan, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, is also known as a very influential member among the current House majority. With this in mind, we requested his strong support of copyright small claims legislation once it's introduced.

PPA joined forces with seven other visual arts associations at the U.S. Copyright Office tocopyrightoffice.jpg present copyright small claims as a group and as the number one priority issue for the visual arts industries. As the Office is already very supportive of our Small Claims issue, we discussed specific details of how the U.S. Copyright Office can most effectively administer the process. This discussion also centered on issues affecting visual artists with the copyright registration process. The planning of the overhaul of their I.T. systems is already underway, and with that the timing may be right to address some registration issues. Both the representatives from the U.S. Copyright Office and the visual artist representatives agree that the requirement to sort works of the visual arts according to publication status is problematic. These changes will need to be addressed through legislation, but we may see more success if we advocate for these issues in tandem with the U.S. Copyright Office.

PPA's last meeting yesterday was with the Copyright Alliance, where copyright issues affecting all of the industries were broadly discussed. The conversation included copyright office modernization, small claims, current court cases affecting copyright law, and coordinated advocacy efforts on these three issues.

If you missed the rundown on the earlier part of our trip, check out the previous copyright visits recap posts from earlier this week. PPA will be back on the Hill in April to continue this important work and in the meantime, we'll continue to be in touch with key offices in D.C., as to keep our copyright small claims proposal top of mind. PPA's number one goal is to see small claims legislation, and as the support for our cause extends across the aisle, we are lobbying for its introduction in committee to happen this year with bipartisan sponsorship. Stay tuned to PPA.com/Advocacy for more information.

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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By Aleighia Rouse

Big things are going on during the month of March and we want to make sure that you are informed on the innovative and technological happenings in the photography industry. Here are our top 10 blog posts of the week!

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ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: New drone photography has become a new way in which photographers are capturing those high angle shots. In this article learn how to create the right drone photo image and avoid those grainy and blurry images by using the right aesthetic for composition

FINDING BALANCE:  If there are times when you feel unaccomplished within your business, or just holistically as a person, this is for you! PPA member Ben Hartley sits down with his fellow PPA peer Bryan Caporicci to discuss the three most important areas all photographers should put time into so they can achieve their maximum growth and how he uses the "vacation method" to determine what is important and what is not.   

PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING: As good as you are at capturing images you should make sure that your self-portraits prove how good of a photographer you actually are. Check out this article by Entrepreneur to learn what your photo actually says about you and how to win over anyone on a first impression.

PRODUCTIVITY: How organized are you at home, do you know that your home can be reflective of your work and even your business? In this article by Westchester Magazine they have come up with some great tools to build a successful, productive, and organized home office. 

CREATIVE MIND: Although there is great importance in capturing an image with color, the ability to accurately see color is where many photographers have trouble. This article by Mark Fitzgerald, M.Photog.Cr., discusses the power in color perception and how common color blindness is within the photography industry. 

LENSPIRATION: As a professional photographer you know that you never stop learning. Since technology is an ever-changing field, you get the chance to learn and experience new things every day. Check out this article to find out what every photographer should always keep in the back of their mind so that they are always performing at their best.  

BUSINESS HELP: 'Uncle Bob' has become a big problem. With so many people having access to photography at the tips of their fingers, a lot of photography businesses are losing clients and potential clients. Read this article and learn from some fellow PPA members and fellow photographers about how they are trying to keep professional photography as the only contender in the portrait and wedding photography industry. 

STAY INFORMED: No one is perfect and there are something's you may not know you are doing, that aren't beneficial to your client or your business. In this article by PhotoShelter learn some great and informative techniques about facial distortion to foreground and background elements to take with you in your next session. 

LEGAL RIGHTS: Do you know the rights you have to your images? It is important that you are always aware of the legal parts of every foundation of your business from images to locations. Legal jargon can be confusing and often difficult to understand. In this article by New York Institute of Photography, learn a few things to be aware of so that you always know what is going on in your business. 

COPYRIGHTS & REGULATIONS: PPA is continuing to help their members Be More in their professional photographer careers, this week PPA's Government Affairs team was on Capitol Hill promoting legislative small claims for copyrights of your business. In this article learn how PPA is promoting the support of small claims outside of the House Judiciary Committee and even Senate. 

There you have it, our weekly blog post roundup! What photography blogs or podcasts do YOU follow? Post your favorite on theLoop or email them to us at OnlineContentCommittee @PPA.com.


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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.


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by Lindsey Forson
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PPA's Government Affairs team is back in D.C. this week and this first day on the Hill was very exciting. We found out some great information and made significant progress on small claims.

First up was a meeting with Congresswoman Chu's Chief of Staff, Linda Shim. Congresswoman Chu (CA) has certainly emerged as one of our strongest advocates on the Hill. Her office is pushing for copyright small claims legislation harder than anyone else we have met with. They are beginning to seek out other offices on the Judiciary Committees on both sides of the aisle to partner with in the goal of advancing a small claims bill. PPA is helping with this process and we are very grateful to the Congresswoman and her staff for their support of small-business creators. We look forward to continuing our close work with this office on this shared goal.

Next we met with Amy Bos of the Office of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI). Congressman Sensenbrenner, of the House Judiciary Committee, is a great copyright supporter and has expressed significant interest in copyright small claims in previous meetings. We met with Amy to discuss the small claims white paper that PPA recently released in conjunction with other associations. The Congressman's reaction to our small claims proposal was very positive and he is also interested in advocating for the advancement of the copyright legislation within the House Judiciary Committee. We are looking forward to meeting with the Congressman again during our next trip to discuss how we can work together more on this in the coming months.

Lastly, we had a very informative discussion with five members of the FAA's UAS integration team.  We are pleased to report that the new rule for business-related drone use will most likely be released by June. They confirmed that they are prepared for a late spring/early summer release and that the rule will take effect 30 days after it's released.  These regulations will apply to drones weighing under 55 lbs. PPA expects that these new regulations will be similar to the proposal released by the FAA last year. This would allow for the use of drones by professional photographers if three requirements are met:

1.    The user has obtained a small UAS airman certificate which will be earned by passing a computerized knowledge test.
2.    The user has registered all drones.  The FAA's online drone registration system should be expanded to include registration of drones that will be used for business-related purposes by the end of this month.
3.    The user follows all of the rules - There will be restrictions on maximum height, maximum speed, airspace etc. Based on the proposal, we expect the restrictions to be very reasonable.   

We are seeing exciting progress in D.C. and are happy to be a part of bettering professional photographers' copyrights and due process!

There you have it, PPA's further adventures in D.C.! And the cherry blossoms aren't too bad to look at either. Stay tuned to this blog and PPA.com/Advocacy for more Capitol Hill-related updates as PPA continues to lobby for your Creator's Rights!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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by Lindsey Forson
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Your PPA Government Affairs team is back on Capitol Hill this week working to promote legislation that would create a small claims option to resolve copyright infringement cases. PPA's first meeting is with Linda Shim, the Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Judy Chu. Congresswoman Chu is already advocating for small claims legislation within the Judiciary Committee and we are looking forward to meeting with her Chief of Staff to further strategize how to advance together a small claims bill. We are also eager to meet with another Judiciary Committee office interested in supporting copyright small claims legislation, the Office of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

Throughout the past year, our advocacy efforts have been focused mostly on the House Judiciary Committee due to the committee's current review of copyright law. As the possibility of a small claims bill becomes (much) more likely, we are widening our scope. PPA will work over the next few months to promote support of small claims outside of the House Judiciary Committee and even in the Senate. The goal is for a small claims bill to have the best chance possible to move forward quickly once it's introduced!

This week's meetings will also include face-to-faces with other copyright stakeholders and a meeting with the Copyright Alliance. The Copyright Alliance, which PPA belongs to, has been very supportive thus far of PPA's efforts on the small claims cause. So stay tuned to PPA's blog this week for more updates from Washington, D.C. as we make solid progress towards more and better copyright protection for all professional photographers!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!
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by Lindsey Forson
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You should register the copyright for all of your images! You've heard that time and time again, haven't you? All photographers have the same thoughts enter our minds when we hear this - "I don't have time for that!" "It's too confusing!" "The costs really add up!" "What's the point? I could never afford a federal lawsuit."

It is no secret that required federal lawsuits currently make copyright enforcement out of reach for most professional photographers. This is why PPA's first legislative priority before Congress is the creation of a small claims option for copyright cases. As it becomes more and more likely that we may actually achieve our small claims goal, another important legislative issue arises: With small claims, your motivation to register your work should infinitely increase, which means professional photographers will be in need of a simplified process, as the current system is just not scalable.

As photographers, we produce the highest volume of copyrighted works of all creators. This makes the copyright registration process more complicated for us than anyone else. PPA is advocating for two changes which would massively simplify the process:

(1)    the elimination of the requirement to sort images by 'publication' status and date
(2)    a self-deposit option

What happens is that the Copyright Act's definition of 'publication' was created with literary works in mind and does not always fit within the context of the photographic industry. This issue confuses the entire process for photographers and, since published and unpublished photos must be on separate applications (yep!), photographers are often required to pay two application fees to register one job. This is not practical, not fair, and very time consuming.

Professional photographers are constantly perplexed in trying to figure out (1) if a particular work is indeed 'published' and (2) what that actual 'publication' date was. Add to that the fact that you have to do this for every single image you create and you understand how non-realistic the process is! PPA proposes that this publication requirement be eliminated at least for registration of visual works. Of course, we believe creators should be able to specify the publication date of their work, if applicable, but it certainly should not be a requirement to register your work.

Here's the even bigger problem - the requirement to deposit each and every image you register. The truth is that the current copyright system only works because it excludes the vast majority of creators. Yes, this makes no sense and is exactly what we meant to say - the copyright registration system as it currently exists can only function because visual artists and other high-volume creators do not often participate.



Seven visual arts associations release proposal to Congress for copyright small claims legislation.

March 1, 2016 - While there has been a great deal of discussion recently about the possibility of Congress creating a small claims process for visual arts, several visual artist groups, representing hundreds of thousands of creators, have joined forces to propose key components of potentially forthcoming small claims legislation. Collectively, the groups represent photographers, photojournalists, videographers, illustrators, graphic designers, artists, and other visual artists as well as their licensing representatives.

The white paper, which can be viewed here, advocates for the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. The document is a collaboration between American Photographic Artists (APA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

"The current review of copyright law in the House Judiciary Committee creates an opportunity to repair a decades-long inequity of our nation's copyright system," said David Trust, CEO of Professional Photographer of America. "A small claims process would be the game-changer that we have been working towards for years on the Hill."

These organizations have identified the creation of a small claims option to be their most urgent legislative priority before Congress. They assert that the cost and burden of maintaining a lawsuit in the only existing venue for hearing copyright infringement claims--federal district courts--is prohibitive and all too often leaves visual artists no way to vindicate their rights. They see a small claims court within the Copyright Office as providing a fair, cost-effective and streamlined venue in which they can seek relief for relatively modest copyright infringement claims.

Trust continued, "The harsh reality is that the vast majority of creators in America are currently excluded from copyright protection. This would finally level the playing field for small creators.  Now we get to begin the difficult task of selling this idea to Congress."

This negotiated document, which lays out the basic framework for small claims legislation, is in large part consistent with the legislative recommendations set out in the "Copyright Small Claims" report released in late 2013 by the U.S. Copyright Office. In some instances, the white paper offers alternative suggestions to those put forth by the Copyright Office.

The visual artists' organizations listed above have now distributed this legislative proposal for a copyright small claims tribunal to members of Congress, the United States Copyright Office, the members of the undersigned organizations, and other important copyright stakeholders.

For more information, please contact Professional Photographers of America at 800-786-6277 or copyrightdefense@ppa.com.

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by Lindsey Forson

More progress is being made in the fight for copyright small claims this week thanks to your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team, led by CEO David Trust! While in Washington, D.C. we garnered support for our most important issue, copyright small claims, among other copyright stakeholders. Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

We discussed how to make a copyright small claims process work best for professional photographers with several supportive members of Congress and their staffers, who may eventually be the drafters and sponsors of small claims legislation. The final meeting of the trip took place at the United States Copyright Office yesterday, where we discussed our recommendations for small claims.

It is no surprise that the top legislative priority of the Copyright Office is the modernization of their own office (this is one of PPA's top three priorities!). The Copyright Office is also very active in lobbying for the creation of copyright small claims and published its own proposal to Congress outlining specific recommendations for small claims.

It was quite the busy day at the Copyright Office, as the President of the United States made his nomination for the new Librarian of Congress minutes before our meeting. We really appreciate the Copyright Office staff still making the time to meet with us, as they allowed us to discuss our recommendations for how to make the small claims process most effective for PPA members. In most cases, our recommendations are very similar to the proposal of the Copyright Office, so we are hopeful for the future. Another discussion in this meeting was how PPA and the U.S. Copyright Office can help each other advocate for the advancement of copyright-related legislation on the Hill.

Here you can read a statement from the Copyright Alliance, of which PPA is a founding member, on the Librarian of Congress nomination.

Our efforts don't stop with this trip: PPA has several phone calls scheduled with key offices in DC during the next week to follow-up on these discussions and your PPA Copyright & Government Affaires team makes its next trip to our nation's capital to continue this work in just three weeks! Stay up-to-date with all of our advocacy headway 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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Today is day 2 of PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs team's business visit in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography.
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First up today, the team, lead by PPA CEO David Trust, had an extremely encouraging meeting with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA), Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Linda Shim, Chief of Staff to the Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Chu, who is already working with Congressman Marino to advance Copyright Office Modernization legislation, is incredibly supportive of our number one goal: copyright small claims. She even said that she would be willing to sponsor legislation that achieves that goal. We are so thankful for her tireless support for independent creators and plan to continue to work in close collaboration with her office to achieve both copyright small claims and copyright office modernization.

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We then met with Chief Counsels to the Judiciary Committee, Joe Keeley, Majority Counsel and Jason Everett, Minority Counsel. There we discussed the details of copyright small claims and how to make sure the system that is being created will be effective and efficient for professional photographers. This meeting allowed us to confirm that it is now very clear to the policy makers on both sides of the aisle that the creation of copyright small claims is one of the primary end-goals of this copyright review process. 






This paradigm shift will be a very positive game changer for small business creators. Now it is only a matter of when! We expect the issue to be addressed within the next two years and, of course, every time we get the opportunity, we urge lawmakers to act quickly because time is of the essence for small business creators like professional photographers throughout the U.S.
There's one more meeting for today with Catherine Rowland, Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office. Check back here or on PPA.com/Advocacy tomorrow for more information and for a recap of this week's Copyright Advocacy trip to D.C.!

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This week, PPA CEO David Trust, leading your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team, is back in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography.HiRes.jpg

Yesterday was spent meeting with the recording and publishing industry, the stakeholders who, like PPA, have a vested interest in the issue of copyright protection. PPA is working hard to gain wide support for small claims throughout the copyright industries to advance photographers' rights and better protect their livelihood. Having a unified voice goes a very long way on the Hill. The PPA team had two meetings with representatives from the recording industry and one with a representative from the publishing industry to discuss potential small claims legislation. The discussions continue to be very positive and the issue had great cooperation overall. We are on the right track!

The Copyright team also had a meeting with Congressman Doug Collins (GA) and Senior Legislative Assistant to the Congressman, Sally Rose Larson, to discuss the copyright review and get the Congressman's insight on how legislation may move forward. Though it's too soon to tell if legislation will advance this year or next, it is increasingly apparent that members of the Committee will strive to achieve some of PPA's three priorities: small claims, modernization of the Copyright office, and modifications to the registration process. We will continue to lobby for action to be taken on these priorities sooner rather than later.

Congressman Collins is extremely supportive of our issues overall, and is eager to help achieve our legislative goals. This meeting also allowed us an opportunity to present the congressman and his staff with some of our more specific recommendations for small claims legislation.  

Last fall, Congressman Collins sat down with us to speak on the issue of copyright security. Check out the video here!

Looking forward to today's meetings scheduled with members of the Judiciary Committee, Chief Counsel to the Judiciary Committee for Intellectual Property issues, and Senior Advisor to the Register of Copyrights. We'll post updates to the blog and PPA.com/Advocacy as they come in, so stay tuned!

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by Lindsey Forson
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This week, PPA CEO David Trust and your PPA Copyright and Government Affairs team are back in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography. PPA continues in its pursuit of key improvements to the copyright system in the United States.

The focus of this trip is on two very important issues:
(1) Modernization of the US Copyright Office and
(2) the Creation of Copyright Small Claims

Both of these issues have vast support within Congress and among stakeholders, and even more-importantly, these are arguably the two most profoundly-needed improvements for copyright holders in the photographic industry.

The scheduled meetings this week include one with the United States Copyright Office and some with stakeholders within the copyright industries (recording and publishing) and several key lawmakers, some of whom are the sponsors and strongest advocates of legislation addressing these issues. The meetings with lawmakers include Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia, Congresswoman Judy Chu of California, and Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas. They all serve on the ever-important House Judiciary Committee and are huge supporters of creator's rights, which is a huge plus in helping advance our cause!

Stay tuned to PPA's blog or check PPA.com/Advocacy over the next few days for updates from Washington, D.C. about YOUR rights when it comes to copyright protection!

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

Copyright Infringements = A Huge Problem For Professional Photographers copyrighticon.png

You know how it goes... You conduct a reverse image search and find your images on an e-commerce site; you're window shopping and see your photo on a business sign; you offer an exclusive license to a commercial client only to have the angry client call you after finding the images on his competitor's website; or you license images for website use to then have your own client violate your rights by using your image on a magazine cover. These are real stories of copyright infringements from PPA members. And, chances are, you have experienced something similar.

Now it's time to enforce your rights. What do you do? You call an expert for advice or consult with colleagues or even an attorney only to discover that your options are extremely limited. You can certainly try to recover damages on your own or with the help of PPA or an attorney, but you always face a very real chance that the infringer will simply turn up their nose and tell you to take them to court. Then you're left with only one option that in most cases is really no option at all.

The truth is that the current copyright system in the United States excludes the vast majority of creators. Yes, you read that right. Most creators have very little protection under the law because those without a massive income or corporate support have no real option for enforcement - and what good are rights when you can't actually enforce them?

Here's the problem - the only option for enforcement of copyright is to sue infringers in federal court. A survey of intellectual property (IP) attorneys conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA) revealed that most IP attorneys will not even consider taking on a copyright case unless the creator is likely to recover more than $30,000 in damages. Over 70% of PPA members report having dealt with infringements, but almost all of those members estimated the value of their infringements at less than $3,000. That amount of money makes a big difference to a small business and can even be enough to determine whether or not a studio can keep its doors open, but going to federal court to recover $3,000 is simply a non-starter.

The survey from the American Bar Association also exposed that the total estimated cost of a copyright lawsuit is more than $350,000. Even if you have a registered image and may recover some of those fees, what small business owner is willing to risk that amount of money? Who has the resources to pay that amount of legal fees upfront?


by Lindsey Forson

Professional photography is undoubtedly an art form. But the images you create are so much more than your art - they are your meal ticket... your livelihood... your blood, sweat, and tears. This is why copyright protection is so important to photographers, and this is why PPA works so hard to fight for strong and effective copyright laws.
 
Based on the level of importance for small-business copyright owners along with considerations of feasibility, PPA has narrowed down three primary priorities for legislative action:

1.  The creation of a small claims option for copyright enforcement

2.  Modifications to the current copyright registration process to improve functionality and have more photographers register their work

3.  Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

If you have kept up with our advocacy updates throughout the past year, you have heard about these priorities before. It is increasingly apparent that updates are underway. There is a real possibility that legislation will advance as soon as this year! Therefore, the time has also come for all photographers to form a (much) deeper insight into what each of these issues could mean for their businesses and why they are worthy of your support.
 
So why modernize the United States Copyright Office? Technological advancements have occurred at a much quicker rate than the federal government has been able to keep up with. This has become a big issue and greatly affects creators like you. As incredible as it seems, the U.S. Copyright Office is simply not properly equipped to operate in today's world and effectively meet your copyright needs. Its main three needs are: adequate administrative capacity, authority, and accountability. All of which are currently lacking, at least to a certain degree.

As is, the U.S. Copyright Office is not a federal agency. It is an office situated within the Library of Congress (LOC) and is really more like one department within a larger agency. This means that the Copyright Office's systems and processes are tied to the LOC's. Most people understand that the needs of the millions of creators throughout our nation who deal with copyright issues are very different than the needs of a library (a very important library, but a library nonetheless). We are talking about IT needs, staffing needs, and budgeting needs - just to name a few.
 





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