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By Chris Homer

One of PPA's mission is to campaign for the reform of the current (and inadequate!) U.S. Copyright Law. Our current system does little to protect professional photographers from damages when their work is used without their permission. And this makes no sense as the copyright system is supposed to protect copyright owners like you!

Often times, 'a picture is worth a thousand words' so we created some cartoons to illustrate this cockamamie system. The idea behind these illustrations is two-fold: (1) to share something you'll relate to and (2) give you something you can share with your clients and fellow photographers to convey the inequity in copyright law. You can download both Copyright Infringement illustrations here (in 2 sizes). Consider sharing them on social media today!

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To learn more about what PPA is doing to change copyright law by pushing for a Copyright Small Claims system, visit PPA's advocacy page

And if you'd like to see progress made with copyright protection, please join the group of photographers who are joining in solidarity for copyright change, the Copyright Action Team, to show your support and know how and when to make your voice heard in Congress! Help make a difference and add your name today: PPA.com/Grassroots

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 Sidra Safri
 
Many photographers know that as soon as they press the shutter button on their camera, they fully own the copyrights to that image. 

Some photographers will take it one step further and register their images with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering your images makes it easier to determine that you own the copyright, and allows the registration holder (you!) to claim increased statutory damages, and possibly attorney's fees, if your images are used, sold, or reprinted without your permission! 

In order to register your photographic work, you must go to the Copyright Office's Website and create a free account to fill out your registration application. Once you are logged in, you'll want to click on "Register a New Claim". From here, the website will walk you through what needs to happen to successfully register your work. You can also visit the Copyright Office's step by step guide here. 

Registration is an important step in protecting your copyright. And PPA encourages all professional photographers to do it as part of their regular workflow. However, due to how complex, archaic, time-consuming, and expensive the registration process can be (yes, we think the system needs to be improved!), many of you will systematically fail to register your work. But this can change if more copyright holders, like photographers, push to modernize the Copyright Office. 

If you agree that change needs to happen and the copyright registration system needs to match the 21st century's technology needs and volume, then sign up today to show your support as PPA leads a large  Grassroots Action Team to push for these changes to happen. We're currently 11,000 strong. Add your voice to help us create a louder message at PPA.com/Grassroots



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By Sidra Safri

Many photographers have complained about the archaic registration system of the Copyright Office, how long the process takes and, overall, how cumbersome it is. Thankfully, these complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. 

In 2013, the Copyright Office began looking into potential updates to the overall IT system that impacts the registration process. This research lead to the creation of a report stating it was necessary to create a better user-interface and more accurate public record.

On May 9th, 2017, the Copyright Office rolled out a pilot program for Bulk Submission of Claims to Copyright. This pilot program will serve a very small niche of creators, since it will only be available for literary works (such as fiction, nonfiction, autobiographies, etc.). Single literary works that have single authors, with all the work being owned and created by that single author, are eligible for the bulk registration program.

Even though this program is not available to photographers, the Copyright Office is taking a step in the right direction to make the process easier and faster. Through this pilot process they will be able to work out any issues that arise, and eventually (we hope) roll out the bulk submission process for all categories.

PPA will keep you updated as developments unfold, so stay tuned to PPA.com/Advocacy for the latest. 

Want to get in on the ground floor of copyright reform? Sign up today and be a part of the PPA Grassroots Action Team at PPA.com/grassroots!

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we_need_your_help.pngWe are very excited to report that members of the House Judiciary Committee are currently working to create legislation which would achieve PPA's top advocacy goal: the creation of a copyright small claims process. 

As a PPA member, help us to advocate for this new legislation on a grassroots level when a bill is introduced. This will take place in the next few weeks! Please join us for an introductory webinar to learn more about how YOU can be involved and help advance copyright for photographers. As PPA mobilizes its efforts on top legislative priorities, YOU CAN HELP! There are 3 sessions to choose from (all the same, just different times):

Prior to the webinar, we encourage you to read more about the issue here. As a professional photographer, you have copyright protection but not an effective means of enforcing your rights. This is because the current system practically excludes the vast majority of creators by not offering an adequate enforcement option for small-business copyright holders. PPA has been advocating for the creation of a copyright small claims process for the past ten years! This issue is vital to every professional photographer throughout America--do not miss out on this opportunity to be part of these positive changes!

Mark your calendar and sign up for one of these 3 webinars: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. See you then!

Yesterday, PPA's board of directors visited with key staffers and senators on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns on copyright protection. You can view yesterday's post on their visit to get caught up. 

Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's copyright and government affairs department is back with an update on what went down!

 

We talked, they listened!

On behalf of PPA members and professional photographers everywhere, an excited PPA board of directors spent their Tuesday in our nation's capita. They met with chief counsels, judiciary aides and senators and told their story. They explained the impact copyright theft can have on their business and families--as well as the potential economic impact for their state--and light bulbs went on.

The board asked staffers and senators to deliver this message to the senate: Copyright affects more than just big industry; it impacts mom-and-pop businesses in every corner of their state. Many of the offices we met with agreed that strong copyright laws are essential to ensuring a thriving creative community. They also admitted that most of their efforts on the intellectual property front as of late have been focused on patent and not copyright reform--something they will be looking to remedy!

This visit was great progress for the copyright debate. Next up: Keep lobbying to get the talk moving toward action on the senate!

The board had a great time in D.C. and shared their visit all over social media. Check out their posts below.

(Click the images to view the original posts.)

 

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PPA will continue to provide updates on the ongoing copyright movement. Things are getting really exciting!

You are invited to submit artwork for a juried digital art show that will take place May 17, 2012, during the five-year anniversary celebration of the Copyright Alliance. PPA is one of the founding members of the Copyright Alliance (our CEO David Trust is a past board member, too).

Called "Connecting Creators: Showcasing the Artists Among Us," the event itself will take place at Microsoft's D.C. office on May 17, 4:30pm - 8:00pm. Submitting your image means you have a chance to win the Best of Show or Honorable Mention awards and be celebrated at the event! In fact, the Best in Show winner gets a chance to tell their story to members of the copyright community on Capitol Hill during a panel discussion from 4:30pm - 5:30pm.

Interested? Don't forget to submit by April 6 at 5:00pm Eastern! Download the complete details and submission form here.

Several years ago, most didn't think twice about burning a copy of a CD or downloading songs off peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Then, the artists and music industry spoke out. More importantly, they increased public education about breaking copyright laws. Now, even DVDs tend to have a "commercial" before the movie that refers to such actions as stealing.

That kind of combined education sends a loud message...and that's the kind of education that can help protect your images from client copyright infringement. This week's article touches on how to begin such copyright education yourself (to both clients and photo retailers). Next week, you'll learn about PPA's shiny new Retail Compliance Network (RECON Program) and how you can be a part of that education.

PPA is always searching for the best way to help you protect your copyrights. Infringements won't disappear instantly, but each educational step can help strengthen your rights and your clients' awareness of them.

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

P.S. Stay tuned for next week's Vital Signs article (May 14). You'll learn more about the revamped Retail Compliance Network--our RECON program--where you can help investigate photo retailers to improve their compliance with copyright laws.

You may recall last month's online uprising when Facebook announced their new Terms of Service policy. In an earlier post, we told you about a letter PPA sent to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's Founder & CEO, in which we applauded Zuckerberg's creation of a "Facebook Bill of Rights & Responsibilities", and offered our expertise and assistance in developing the social media site's newest policy.

Facebook was receptive to PPA's involvement and requested our feedback on the latest version of their proposed "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities." We submitted our comments and suggestions to Facebook last week, and now we're watching and waiting to see what develops.

Based on what we've seen so far, you'll be pleased to know that Facebook has made strides to accommodate photographers, and all copyright owners, who actively maintain Facebook accounts. We'll keep you posted on any new developments as our conversation with Facebook continues.

On March 19, PPA's Chief Executive Officer, David Trust, represented the photography industry on a panel at a Congressional Briefing that included representatives from the music, movie and software industries. The discussion centered on the importance of U.S. Copyright law to the photography industry, the importance of copyright industries to the U.S. economy, and how photographers interact with fellow creators.


The briefing was hosted by the Copyright Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization composed of individual creators and leading copyright industry organizations.  A founding member of the Copyright Alliance, PPA was delighted to participate in this event which was well attended by staff members from each chamber's Judiciary Committee, and other Congressional committees, subcommittee's and caucuses that govern intellectual property related issues.

What happens to image licenses when those images are posted to a third-party site?

Facebook found itself in hot water in early February after stating it would continue to hold a usage license on artistic works posted to its pages after the owner of those works deleted them from the site or closed his account. A public outcry elicited a quick about-face from the company. The following day, Facebook issued a statement clearly articulating that its license to use posted images expires when users delete them from the site or close their account.

Dear PPA Member

Technology has made the ability to view and sell images much easier. Unfortunately, it also allows the general public to take images without permission (and in some cases, without payment) and display them online.

Our full-time Copyright & Government Affairs staff does an outstanding job advising members on how to handle such cases of online copyright infringement.

While every situation is unique (from senior clients scanning their favorite portrait to show their friends on Facebook to former commercial clients re-using images after their licensing agreement has ended), there are steps that all photographers can take when images are used without permission--and they're here in this week's article, Defending Yourself Online: Protect Your Images. If you're unfamiliar with what a DMCA takedown notice is--and how powerful it can be--this article is a must read!

PPA strives to help protect, educate, and provide you with the tools and resources to stay successful. We focus on giving you what you need, so you can focus on what's important: your business.

Cheers,
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Membership

P.S. If you're interested in a topic we haven't covered in our weekly Vital Signs newsletter (and think that it might interest other PPA members), please send me an e-mail at caprigliano@ppa.com .
Intellectual property owners can rest a bit easier knowing that the President signed The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or the PRO-IP Act. With Orphan Works legislation looming, PPA is pleased to see that a bill tightening intellectual property enforcement was swiftly signed into law. PPA has worked vigorously through its involvement in the Copyright Alliance for the bill's passage.

"PPA has been a strong supporter of the PRO-IP Act," stated PPA CEO David Trust. "The passage of this important bill is a victory for photographers and all copyright holders."


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