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Professional Photographers of America and the Copyright Alliance Throw Support Behind HR 1695 on World IP Day. 

Bipartisan bill, currently in House, seeks to make Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee.  

(Atlanta, GA) April 24, 2017--Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and The Copyright Alliance will be in Washington D.C. on April 26, 2017 to attend the Copyright Matters program in the capitol, celebrating the 17th annual World IP Day. World Intellectual Property Day will feature panel discussions with several lawmakers and the artists directly affected by copyright issues. This year's celebration comes during a critical time, as PPA and the Copyright Alliance have announced their impassioned support of HR 1695, a bill meant to help strengthen copyright protections for visual artists across the United States. Visual artists include illustrators, graphic designers, artists, photographers, visual journalists, videographers, and others who create and license their works for the news media, magazines, advertising, books and other publications, consumer products, digital platforms, multimedia presentations, and broadcast. Typically, they are one-or-two-person businesses and small, family enterprises that not only create, but also are responsible for running all facets of a small business. PPA has been mobilizing its members and anyone who supports small businesses and the arts to contact their representative to support HR 1695 via letters and phone calls

To help facilitate the marketplace for creative works, visual artists have long called for modernizing the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). That goal is one step closer to reality with the introduction of HR 1695, the Register of Copyrights and Selection and Accountability Act, which would make the Register of Copyrights, who leads the USCO, a presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed position. The bill recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 27-1 and is supported by the Copyright Alliance, a coalition of 46 companies that includes the RIAA, Disney, and Professional Photographers of America. 

The U.S. Copyright Office, which resides in the Library of Congress, maintains copyright registration and recordation databases upon which creators, licensees, users and consumers depend, but which have become outdated. Indeed, despite repeated calls by former Registers for reform, including releasing the most forward-looking IT plan in the Office's history, the USCO has been unable to modernize because it lacks the autonomy to do so. The Office's efforts have been frustrated as it is housed within the Library of Congress where it competes with many other Library priorities for resources, technology and staff. This arrangement may have worked in the past, but the creative economy now contributes $1.2 trillion to the U.S. GDP and supports 5.5 million jobs. PPA and the Copyright Alliance believe that HR 1695 would give the Register the autonomy to modernize the Copyright Office to suit the specialized needs of the copyright system. HR 1695 would also elevate the office of the Register to a stature commensurate with the economic sector to which the duties of the Office are so critical. 

The U.S. Copyright Office also has a policy mission, statutorily acting as Congress' impartial advisor on copyright law and policy. Historically, that Office has been a resource to Congress, providing counsel on issues large and small. This is particularly important for individual creators and small businesses, for without this dedicated "think tank," Congress might not hear the plight of creators, like photographers,  on critical issues such as how to handle copyright infringement claims too small to justify the expense of undertaking a federal law suit. PPA and the Copyright Alliance believe that the U.S. Copyright Office must have the autonomy necessary to continue its vital advisory role to Congress and a presidential appointee position would make this a reality.

Some critics of the legislation have suggested that elevating the Register is an attempt to "give more power to Hollywood". Without a doubt, the USCO's technological shortcomings affect visual artists far more than movie studios and record labels. For instance, Variety reported that 563 movies were released in 2014 by the entire movie industry, which is a relatively small number of copyrights to register for an entire year. By contrast, a single photographer can take well over 500 photos in one session, and may create as many as 50,000 individual photographs per year. Further, unlike large entertainment companies, these artists, like photographers do not have the luxury of in-house professionals who can dedicate their time to navigating the complexities of the registration process. As a result, many visual artists forgo registration, which then makes defending one's rights in court a virtual impossibility. Put another way, the U.S. Copyright Office's problems represent a de facto regressive tax--the smaller the creator, the more adversely they are impacted.

PPA and the Copyright Alliance will use the timing of the World IP Day festivities to place a spotlight on HR 1695. It is their belief that, especially with public attention turned toward copyright matters, Congress should take an important first step towards fixing these problems and pass HR 1695. By ensuring the Register has the autonomy necessary to begin implementing operational reforms and continuing to provide impartial advice, visual artists and all creators will be able to continue creating works that contribute to the American economy and help shape our society in the digital age. 

About PPA:
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA's roots date back to 1869. It assists nearly 30,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at PPA.com/BeMore.

About the Copyright Alliance:
The Copyright Alliance is the unified voice of the copyright community, representing the interests of thousands of individuals and organizations across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators.

By Chris Homer

The results are in for the 2017 Northeast District Photographic Competition! Congratulations to all who merited!


With these results, the District Competitions are complete for 2017. If you didn't get a chance to enter your District Competition, fear not, you can still enter your images in the International Photographic Competition! Registration opens May 22.


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.

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Sometimes in order to get to your final destination, there are a few things that need to be done along the way. This is one of those things. PPA has been concentrating on Copyright Small Claims lately, but there's a bill in the House of Representatives that needs our attention now!

H.R 1695 allows the position of Register of Copyrights to become a presidential appointee. This ensures that someone with ample knowledge of the copyright world leads the office in an unbiased manner, as it begins to undergo the modernization process. This change will also guarantee the office is able to serve all creative artists the way it was designed to. Making sure the office takes a step in the right direction will not be possible without YOU! 

Please take 30 seconds and click here to send a letter to your representative or click here to give them a call! PPA has done the scripting and writing for you, so no worries. It's time to pass this legislation!

UPDATE: 
Since we have put out this call to action, certain districts across the country have called saying they are unable to send a letter or make a call to their representatives. This is because their district currently does not have a representative and we are waiting for the results of their special elections. The following is a list of states/districts that are going to be affected by this, and the dates of the elections:

Special Elections (House)

  • Kansas 4th District- just had elections on April 11th and will take some time to set up office and contact information. 
  • Entire State of Montana- Only has one representative and their election is on May 25th
  • California 34th District- Just had election April 4th and will take some time to set up office and contact information
  • Georgia 6th- Election is April 18th 
  • South Carolina 5th- Election is May 2nd
  • Pennsylvania 10th- Election is TBD


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Guest post by Tom Kennedy, Lara Kisielewska, Akili-Casundria Ramsess, Juliette Wolf-Robin, and David Trust.

Most everyone knows the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words." It captures the notion that one image can instantly convey complex ideas and world events, changing how we think individually and as societies. For instance, who could forget the picture of an American sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, which expressed the elation, joy and excitement of the nation as World War II came to an end. And the 1989 image of a lone protestor standing before oncoming tanks in Tiananmen Square still resonates deeply today. In both cases, visual artists--who depend on strong copyright protections to make a living--captured those iconic images. 

Visual artists include illustrators, graphic designers, artists, photographers, visual journalists, videographers, and others who create and license their works for the news media, magazines, advertising, books and other publications, consumer products, digital platforms, multimedia presentations, and broadcast. Typically, they are one-or-two-person businesses and small family enterprises that not only create, but are responsible for running all facets of a small business.

To help facilitate the marketplace for creative works, visual artists have long called for modernizing the US Copyright Office. That's why we strongly support HR 1695, the Register of Copyrights and Selection and Accountability Act, which would make the Register of Copyrights, who leads the USCO, a presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed position. The bill recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by the overwhelming bipartisan vote of 27-1.

The Copyright Office, which resides in the Library of Congress, maintains copyright registration and recordation databases upon which creators, licensees, users and consumers depend, but which are sadly outdated. Indeed, despite repeated calls by former Registers for reform, including releasing the most forward looking IT plan in the Office's history, it has been unable to modernize because it lacks the autonomy to do so. The Office's efforts have been frustrated because it resides in the Library of Congress where it competes with many other Library priorities for resources, technology and staff. This arrangement may have worked in the past, but the creative economy now contributes $1.2 trillion to GDP and supports 5.5 million jobs. The Register must be given the autonomy to modernize the Office to suit the specialized needs of the copyright system. And it is appropriate that the office of the Register be elevated to a stature commensurate with the economic sector to which the duties of the Office are so critical.

The Office also has an important policy mission, statutorily acting as Congress' impartial advisor on copyright law and policy. Historically, the Copyright Office has been an invaluable resource to the Congress, providing expert counsel on issues large and small. This is particularly important for individual creators and small businesses, for without this dedicated "think tank," Congress might not hear the plight of our creative members on critical issues such as how to handle copyright infringement claims too small to justify the expense of a federal law suit. The Copyright Office must have the autonomy necessary to continue its vital advisory role to Congress.

Some critics of the legislation have suggested that elevating the Register is an attempt to "give more power to Hollywood"--something we in the visual arts community find puzzling. Without a doubt, the Copyright Office's technological shortcomings affect visual artists far more than movie studios and record labels. For instance, Variety reported that 563 movies were released in 2014 by the entire movie industry, which is a relatively small number of copyrights to register for an entire year. By contrast, a single photographer can take over 500 photos in one shoot, and may create as many as 50,000 individual photographs per year. Further, unlike large entertainment companies, we don't have the luxury of in-house professionals who can dedicate their time to navigating the complexities of the registration process. As a result, many visual artists forego registration, which then makes defending one's rights in court a virtual impossibility. Put another way, the Copyright Office's problems are a de facto regressive tax--the smaller the creator, the more adversely they are impacted.

Congress should swiftly pass HR 1695, thereby taking an important first step towards fixing these problems. By ensuring the Register has the autonomy necessary to begin implementing operational reforms and continuing to provide impartial advice, Congress will help ensure that visual artists and all creators can continue creating works that contribute to our economy and help shape our society in the digital age.

Tom Kennedy is the Executive Director of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Lara Kisielewska is the President of the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG). Akili-Casundria Ramsess is the Executive Director of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). Juliette Wolf-Robin is the National Executive Director of the American Photographic Artists (APA). And David Trust is the CEO of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

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Judging for the Northeast District Photographic Competition begins tomorrow! You can tune in to watch April 21-22, 2017 starting at 9:00 am ET at Stream.theIPC.org.

If you've entered the Northeast District Competition, this is your chance to see how you did! Even if you didn't enter the competition, watching the judging is a great way to take a peek at what judges are looking for during the Photographic Open or Artistic competition. 

You can also learn more about PPA's 12 Elements of a Merit Image, and we invite you to tune in and get inspired. It's a great way to prepare for the International Photographic Competition! 

The judging for the IPC will be held July 30-August 2, 2017. Early registration to enter your images opens May 22-June 21, 2017 by 5pm ET. Entries after June 21 will be accepted with a late fee through July 6. But please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5pm ET. 

This year's IPC has some new rules, so be sure to check them out. And don't forget to enter your images early to beat the crowds and save some money! Find out more at PPA.com/IPC

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by Sidra Safri
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Many members have asked, "What good will come from making the Register of Copyright a presidential appointee and how would this make the process less political?" These are great questions with a slightly complex answer. 

Currently, the Copyright Office is housed in the Library of Congress with the Librarian of Congress as the head decision maker. The Librarian is appointed by the President for a 10-year term. The Library and the Librarian's role is to capture a screen shot of society and have it readily available to everyone with no regard to credit or compensation. 

On the other hand, the Copyright Office and the Register's role is to protect copyright, provide and review registration, and advise Congress on copyright law and policy. With this in mind, one can see that the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office are at odds with what they do. Making the Register of Copyright a presidential appointee is the first step in giving the Copyright Office some autonomy to effectively do what they were created for. 

Further, an added protection to ensure this does not become a highly politicized appointment, is that whoever is appointed is done so with the advice and consent of Congress. Since Congress would be relying on the Register so heavily it would ensure someone with ample knowledge and experience would be appointed. 

For these reasons, PPA asks you to support H.R 1695 and take the first step in modernizing the Copyright Office. Send a letter to your representative or call them NOW

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PPA's partners at the Copyright Alliance have put together a great blog post, giving a counterpoint to misconceptions about HR 1695. Read and share now! 

The myths are:  

  • MYTH #1: It's "mystifying" why congress would prefer a Presidentially appointed Register of Copyrights to one appointed by the Librarian of Congress.
  • MYTH #2: A Presidentially appointed Register will become "more concerned with policy than modernization".
  • MYTH #3: This bill is an attempt to take power away from Dr. Hayden and give it to President Trump. 
  • MYTH #4: Making the Register a Presidential appointee will politicize the position.
  • MYTH #5: There isn't time to wait for a presidential appointee. A "new and qualified" Register must be appointed right away.
  • MYTH #6: A 10-year term would make the Register "less accountable to Congress and the public."
After you dig deeper into these myths and the reasons they're just that, be sure to have everyone you know lend their voice in support of HR 1695! Use PPA's pre-written messages and call or write your representative.  

By Chris Homer

It's Friday, so you know what that means! We're back with our favorite photography blogs
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 from around the web. As you head into the weekend, take a minute to relax and browse these posts - you never know what you might learn! 

CAMERA METERING MODES: Do you have a firm grasp of how to use the metering modes on your camera? If you need to brush up, this post from New Atlas shares how and when to use these modes.

CHILDREN'S PHOTOGRAPHY: Do you feel like you're stuck in a rut, creating very similar portraits of children for your clients? If so, this post from Digital Photography School can help. It covers some non-portrait ideas for photographing children that clients love!

TIME-LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY: Do you have the desire to create time-lapse videos using your photography, but aren't sure how to start? This tutorial from Aperture Tours will show you how to get going on that time-lapse project you've been thinking about doing!

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY: Are you interested in photographing food? If you're looking for advice on how to get into the food photography market, read this interview from Sony's blog. In the interview, food photographer Ariel Ip explains how she got started.

GEAR: If you've recently turned pro, or are thinking about turning pro, give this post from Photography Talk a read. It covers what they feel are the best DSLR cameras for those starting out in the professional photography market.
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The idea that photographers need a retail studio in order to be truly successful is a myth. It is entirely possible to grow your business right in your own home! 

Join Marnie Clagett for a free webinar tomorrow, April 13 at 2:00 pm ET, as she shares with you the secrets on how to run a successful photography business in a small studio! Her tips will make your small space (or no space at all) a studio that will give your clients the confidence to invest in you and your work. 

You will learn: 
  • How to get clients to treat you like the professional you are 
  • Practical ways to make a small space (or no space) work for your business
  • When to know that you're financially ready to move to a storefront/larger studio
This webinar is FREE and open to both PPA members and non-members alike, so register now and tune in tomorrow, April 13, 2017, at 2:00 pm ET!

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By Tristin Vaccaro

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Whether you need a little inspiration or a dash of encouragement, PhotoVision is the place for you. PhotoVision is a collection of informative and inspiring videos from some of the greatest photography professionals in the world. You get an all-access, behind-the-scenes look into the minds of photography's biggest names, and the best part is, it's FREE for PPA members.

The newest addition to the PhotoVision library is, "Creating with Purpose and Meaning" with world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes. In this new video, Anne candidly discusses her humble beginnings and her personal storytelling process. For Anne, this process involves living a creative life and she acknowledges that, "these [photography] concepts, or little ideas, can come from anywhere at all." A true artist and master of her craft, Anne shares with us what it really means to put in the work.

This video is currently available on PhotoVisionVideo.com for all PPA members. If you're not a member, join PPA today and get access to over 500 videos included with your membership. So what are you waiting for? Be More Inspired today! 

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By Bethany Clark

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They say April showers bring May flowers, so let's keep our fingers crossed that this recent stormy springtime weather brings good tidings. While you stay dry, enjoy some of the most informative and interesting blog posts in the photography industry this week!

COPYRIGHT: There's a great new copyright blog out there, and guess what... it's from the U.S. Copyright Office! The U.S. Copyright Office is really stepping up their game in an effort to share their activities with the public. Check it out, and be sure to join PPA's Grassroots Action Team to support Small Claims for photographers! 

ADVOCACY: PPA's Government Affairs Team travels regularly to Washington D.C. to advocate for the Freedom for American Small Creators Act (the small claims bill) and highlight why this is so important to creative artists, especially photographers. Since the bill has not been reintroduced yet (but will be soon!), PPA hopes many of the representatives we talk to will be willing to co-sponsor the bill when the time comes. Read all the updates!

SAFETY: According to the TODAY show, over 340 people are killed while trespassing on train tracks each year. Ever wondered how the train could "sneak" up on people without them being able to get away in time? Take a look at this demonstration. Bottom line: don't trespass on live tracks because (1) it's illegal and (2) it's truly dangerous.

ONLINE: With more and more online-only retailers, quality photography is essential to consumers who are considering buying a garment or product. Go behind-the-scenes of an e-commerce shoot to see what it takes to create an appealing visual story for online shoppers.

DRONES: Thinking about adding drones to your photography business? Learn how with PPAedu! If you aren't a PPA member, you're in luck because this month's free video thoroughly explains the added valued drones can bring to your business. If you are a PPA member, log in and watch this video (plus hundreds more) at any time!

MARKETING: Do you need to make sales calls to sports leagues? Check out H&H Color Lab's marketing program, full of tools to help you grow your sports photography business!

IMPROVE: Want to get feedback on your images from an official IPC juror? Request a critique while entering the IPC! Take a look at real critique from last year's competition and see how invaluable the insight can be! 

STARTUP: Congrats! You've decided to start your photography business. Before you dive headfirst into the fray, take a look at these tips from The Guardian so that you start off on the right foot.

SALES: Keep in mind that every email, call, or text with a client is an opportunity to communicate effectively. Check out this blog to learn the advantages of selling clients on the experience of hiring you and preparing them for what they can buy when it's all said and done. 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Check this free video from PhotoVision. Photographer John Pyle discusses his effective use of social media to drive his business, providing marketing tips and his successes and failures from his past seven years using various social media sites.

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

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There's a great new copyright blog out there, Copyright Creativity at Work, and guess what...it's from the U.S. Copyright Office! The U.S. Copyright Office is really stepping up their game in an effort to share their activities with the public. This is fantastic news for PPA and supporters of copyright law reform, as it makes the Copyright Office more open and transparent while we embark on the modernization process. 

The blog is great and very well maintained so far, with article updates when court cases pertaining to copyright take place. The blog intends to explore "a wide variety of copyright-related topics, including special project updates, interesting copyright court cases and case law, current copyright issues, current events, historical facts, copyright myths, trivia, communications about current and developing Office services, fun facts, and responses to copyright interest suggested by our customers."

Along with the blog, the Copyright Office launched its updated website. The site's redesign is also a great step in the right direction, making for a more organized, more responsive, and easier-to-navigate user experience.

Read all about the changes and how to use the new site here. 

Don't forget, while you're diving deep into the world of copyright law, you still need to sign up to support PPA's legislative efforts at PPA.com/Grassroots. 

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By Tristin Vaccaro

Need inspiration? PhotoVision has everything you're looking for and more! This great resource provides an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the techniques used by some of the biggest-named professionals in the world of photography. These videos cover a wide range of best practices to inspire every element of your business. The best part about PhotoVision is that it's free to PPA members!

Every month, we unlock a free PhotoVision video for non-subscribers to take advantage of amazing learning opportunities. Why? Because we believe in the power of education for all! In this month's free video, "Social Media", we sit down with photographer John Pyle to discuss his effective use of social media to drive his business. John provides tons of marketing tips and his personal social media successes and failures from his past 7 years using various social sites.  
Non-members will have access to this video throughout the entire month of April. Want to see more? Head on over to PhotoVision and begin exploring all the website has to offer. Don't forget that PPA members get access to all the PhotoVision photography courses for free with their membership, so join PPA today!

The results are in for the Western District Photographic Competition! Congratulations to all who merited!


Want to improve as a photographer and gain feedback on your work? Start preparing your images for the International Photographic Competition! Registration opens May 22.


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It's time to connect and grow with your fellow photographers during this year's Spring Super 1 Day! For two weeks in May, dozens of studios across the country will host all day, peer-to-peer education workshops that enhance skills and help photographers build a better business. Participants will have the opportunity to experience classes like:

  • Building your business: pricing and marketing strategies
  • Finding your niche: seniors, children, newborns, weddings, landscape, and more
  • Learning lighting setups for studio and on-location, 
  • Discovering techniques for Photoshop® & Lightroom®
  • And much, much more

These don't even include the workshops on different post production methods and posing techniques, getting the best shots for boudoir, becoming a certified professional photographer (CPP), or branding and sales knowledge. The point is, if you want to learn it, there's probably a Super 1 Day class for it!

In addition to the tips and tricks you'll learn, these classes also help you get closer to earning your degree! PPA members earn one service merit for paid attendance.

All photographic classes will be held May 8-22, 2016, and each class will be available for $99 through May 3, 2017. 

Online registration is now open!

With more than 250 classes offered across the country, you are sure to find one in your area! So, browse the class schedule at PPA.com/Super1Day, and register for a class near you!

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By James Yates
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As we say goodbye to March and head into April, guard yourself against any "April Fools" pranks by staying indoors and diving into the best photography articles of the week. Here are our top blog posts from around the web...no kidding. 

CAPITOL HILL ADVOCACY: Major updates occurred this week for PPA's efforts in D.C, including an important bill leaving committee and heading to the House. Check out our updates and refresh yourself and your friends on the need to sign up to support the Grassroots Action Team. 

DEBUNKING THE IN-PERSON SALES: Speaking of amazing tutorials, the latest edition to the PhotoVision library is "In-Person Selling" with Sue Bryce. As a photographer and business owner, Sue Bryce discusses how in-person sales can be directly correlated to an increase in your profits. She also explains how the PRINT movement has restored the value of printed images and empowered photographers to present their art in the way it was intended.

DRONE LITIGATION: A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against a "drone hunter" who shot down a drone above his property. Find out why (it has more to do with legal standing than property rights and airspace) and get ready because this is surely just the tip of the "drone-lawsuit" iceberg. 

PERSEVERANCE: PetaPixel has an inspiring story about the therapeutic benefits of art for one veteran . Documentary photography has helped Baltimore native Michael McVoy deal with his struggle. Read the interview and see his work here. 

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: This in-depth interview gets the nitty-gritty details of what work-life is like in the White House Photo Office. Chuck Kennedy worked as a White House Photographer under the Obama administration and gives PetaPixel an on-the-ground look behind the scenes. 


By Chris Homer

Are you interested in drone photography, but aren't sure where to start? During this spring's Super 1 Day Photography Workshops (May 8 - 22, 2017) there's a number of classes that will help you learn how to become a drone photographer. Check them out below!

Springfield, MA
May 8, 2017
With John McCarthy, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI,API

Interested in turning your love of drones into a profitable expenditure? Join FAA certified instructor, John McCarthy and learn what it takes to get your FAA Remote Pilot Certificate to fly small unmanned aircraft systems. This course will help you prepare for the test as John introduces you to numerous tips and study aids in addition to online materials and practice tests from the FAA.

Drones-FAA Part 107 Prep Course
College Station, TX
May 11, 2017 & May 12, 2017 (same class, two date options!)
With Robert Norwood, Kathy Norwood, Cr.Photog., CPP

Drones are a hot item with photographers today! But unlike most aspects of photography, drone photography requires a government license. This course will teach photographers the rules and regulations required by the FAA to successfully pass the Part 107 FAA exam.

This course will cover the 5 main subject areas of the test including regulations, airspace classifications and operating requirements, weather, loading and performance, and drone operations. A sample test will be administered to prepare the participants to take the Part 107 exam upon completion of this course. Walk out ready to ace your exam!

Wayne, OK
May 18, 2017
With Larry J. Foster, M.Photog., CPP

Drones are the hot topic right now. But what is legal and what is not? What can I do with a drone and do I need a license? What is controlled airspace and how do I read a NOTAM? Confused? This class will help clear the air and help you learn the proper way to use your drone and get prepared for the FAA UAG test.

If you're looking to get started in drone photography, register for one of these classes today! Don't forget to visit PPA.com/Drones for more resources on passing the FAA test, educational videos and more. 


ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.

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by Tristin Vaccaro
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It's our favorite time of year, and we're not talking about springtime. We're talking about District Photographic Competitions with PPA! Every year, hundreds of photographers from across the country submit their images in hopes of earning a merit, and you can watch the judging LIVE! 

Beginning tomorrow, you can stream the judging of the Western District Photographic Competition that takes place March 31 to April 2. The live stream begins at 1pm PT on Friday and at 9am PT on Saturday and Sunday, only at Stream.theIPC.org.

If you've entered the Western District Competition, this is your chance to see how you did. Even if you didn't enter the competition, watching the judging is a great way to take a peek at what judges are looking for during the Photographic Open or Artistic competition. 

You can also learn more about PPA's 12 Elements of a Merit Image, and we invite you to tune in and get inspired. It's a great way to prepare for the International Photographic Competition, which begins this summer! But don't forget: what you'll see and hear watching this live judging pales in comparison to the prep you'll get with the request of a critique--dedicated and focused comments on your image--a fantastic way to learn, grow and become a better photographer. 


by Sidra Safri


3/29/17
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12:20 p.m.

H.B 1695 has passed the House Judiciary Committee today! It pass with 27 yeas and 1 nay. Remember, this bill is proposing to make the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee. 

PPA fully supports this since we were shocked by the abrupt termination of Maria Pallante. This is a great first step towards insuring that the Copyright Office is on the right path to modernization and continues to include small creators.

The bill will be presented to the House for a full vote soon.


11:23 a.m.

We are currently sitting in a house judiciary hearing (pictured, with portraits of Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking member John Conyers) about making the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee. This part of the process is called a markup. During this "markup" all Representatives (those who support, are against, sponsored or any other stance) can submit their input and recommend changes. This ensures that the bill is properly debated and can pass when it is presented to the full house.

Stayed tuned for more updates and a preview of Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA)'s comments about the bill!


9:45 a.m.

This is day two for PPA on Capitol Hill and things are going great! 

Yesterday evening, we met with Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID). This was our first time meeting with him and it was important to get his office up to speed about small claims and why it's so important to photographers. Rep Labrador's office showed a lot of interest in the bill since they are strong supporters of small businesses. They have asked us to keep them updated about the bill and we hope they will sign on when time comes.

After talking about small claims, we briefly talked about the Register of Copyright position becoming a presidential appointee. We found out that Representative Labrador is a co-sponsor of that bill. Upon hearing this, we wanted to take the time to thank him and his efforts to protect the copyright office.

After meeting with Representative Labrador, we ended the day meeting with Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)'s office. This was another first time meeting, but an important one, since she was recently asked to join the Judiciary Committee by Speaker Paul Ryan. This meeting went well, as we explained the intricacies of the small claims bill. Once again, we hope when times comes she will support small claims!

For the rest of today...we are doing things a little differently. We had a full day of meetings lined up. However, as we all know, things can change at the drop of a hat on Capitol Hill. Instead we are attending the bill markup of turning the Register of Copyrights into a presidential appointee. This will allow us to hear first-hand what changes are being made to the bill and also allows us to meet with Representatives and staffers.

Stay tuned for more updates!

And check out this morning's Facebook Live update (the screen alignment is fixed after the first 30 seconds or so!) with CEO David Trust and Government Affairs Coordinator Sidra Safri. 


3/28/17 
5:15 p.m.
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It's been another fantastic day on Capitol Hill for PPA and Small Claims!

Things started off at lunch with Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Representative Blackburn gave great insight into how important copyright and IP issues are to many members of congress and how she fully understands where PPA is coming from. Being from Nashville, she knows the importance of protecting creative artists and will certainly look into Small Claims when the time comes.

During this lunch Rep. Blackburn also shared how upset she was when Maria Pallante was dismissed from the copyright office and is interested-- like much of congress-- to see how the bill suggests to turn the position into a presidential appointment. 

After lunch with Blackburn we met with Representative Mike Bishop (R-MI). This meeting was the first time PPA has met with this office. During this meeting it was clear that Representative Bishop's office understands that copyright law currently is flawed and knows that something needs to be done. His office is interested in seeing the small claims bill and we hope that his office will support small claims and go on to become a co-sponsor.

Once we left Representative Bishop's office we went to go visit Representative Lieu (D-CA)'s office. Representative Lieu has worked closely with Representative Chu on various items through the Judiciary committee and we hope he will sign on as well. During this time we also had the opportunity to talk about modernizing the copyright office as well as the introduction of the recent bill to make the registrar a presidential appointment.

We have two more meetings today and we hope that they go as well as all of our earlier ones did. Stay tuned! 


9:00 a.m.

Good morning everyone!

PPA is off to Washington D.C. again to continue laying the groundwork for small claims. We have a jam packed day ahead.

The main purpose of this trip is to continue bringing attention to the Freedom for American Small Creators Act (the small claims bill) and highlight why this is so important to creative artists, especially photographers. Since the bill has not been reintroduced yet (but it will be soon!), PPA hopes many of the representatives we talk to will be willing to co-sponsor the bill when time comes.

Stay tuned for more updates after our meetings with your representatives.

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The times, they are a changing... and it could have a HUGE impact on how professional photographers protect their images and their livelihood. 

Under the current copyright legislation, infringement claims must be filed in person and in federal court. Two unfortunate things about this: this is a labor-intensive process, and federal cases are very expensive. This is what keeps many pros from pursuing rightful justice. But things are about to change!

Thousands of creative professionals banded together in support of the "Fairness for American Small Creators Act," a "small claims bill" that would make it possible for small business image creators (including professional photographers) to take advantage of the U.S. copyright system for the first time since its inception!

If approved, the Act would allow for photographers and visual artists whose work has been infringed to file for a hearing with a small claims process online without having to hire an attorney.  Additionally, copyright claims could be filed without prior registration with the Copyright Office. The maximum recovery amount would be set at a manageable $30,000, ensuring that small creators have a place to remedy their copyright infringements, while also preventing the pipeline of infringement claims from becoming clogged (like it is now). Last but not least, those who still wish to pursue their claim in federal court may still do so. It's a win-win for copyright infringement victims and cases of all sizes.

The small claims issue is currently on the list of four necessary reforms Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has been advocating for the Copyright Office. Now more than ever is the time for creative artists to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Getting involved is easy. PPA has partnered with other leading visual arts organizations and created a Grassroots Action Team dedicated to fixing this broken copyright law. Visit their website PPA.com/Grassroots and add your name to a growing roster of individuals and businesses seeking more effective copyright legislation. Once signed-up and when the bill is reintroduced, you will receive alerts and information on how or when to contact your representative. 

For so many working photographers, making great images is a passion... and now protecting that work can be a right. Make your voice heard in supporting the "Fairness for American Small Creators Act" and the protections it brings to so many businesses and livelihoods.


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