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Results tagged “photography copyright” from PPA Today

By Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Creative Rights Caucus is packed and in full swing!

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

Copyright movers and shakers mingle.

PPA photographer Jamie Hayes in action.

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

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

Behind the scenes of the Creative Rights Caucus

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

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

By Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

By Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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By John Owens

DTrust.pngPPA's CEO David Trust was a guest on The PhotoTellers podcast with host Bill Ramsey to discuss The State of Professional Photography in America.

Before you get all doom and gloom, give it a listen! Bill and David discuss where things are now as well as what photographers can expect from the recent movement toward new copyright law in Congress. They also dive deep into the business of photography and how PPA helps the industry. 

Take a look at some of the topics covered below:

  • What is the future of professional photography in America? Are things as bad as people are saying?
  • Is copyright really in jeopardy? What's going on in Congress & the possibility of changing copyright law?
  • What are the biggest issues facing professional photographers?
  • What is the biggest business mistake photographers make?
  • The availability of "malpractice" insurance for a photographer.
  • The lifespan of a low-priced photographer entering the market today.
  • How to speak to potential clients so that they'll be willing to share some of their "pot of money" with you.
  • How to move from a "photographer hired to do a job" to "MY family photographer!"

It's a discussion that serves the interest of any photographer. It's perfect for background noise while you're in the throes of editing! Or set aside a half hour and give it your full attention.

You can listen to the podcast here, and if you have some extra time, there's another one with PPA president Michael Timmons linked on the page!

John_3197_1.JPGJohn Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burger.


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

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

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

Today's agenda includes meetings with:

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

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

  • The U.S. Copyright Office

To discuss the Copyright review process.


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

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

Here is Williams' full statement:

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

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

With PPA, Be More In The Know.

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

By Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned:

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

Even Celebrities Can Infringe On You

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

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

For Your Consideration:

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

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


PPA is back in Washington advocating for photographers! CEO David Trust, Director of Member Value and Experience, Kristen Hartman and Copyright and Government Affairs Coordinator, Lindsey Forson, are there meeting with staffers and congressmen and women before they attend tomorrow's House Judiciary Committee Hearing.

Look for updates here on this post they report back! 

Update #1: Tuesday, April 28, 3:48pm

This afternoon, we met with Linda Shim, staffer of California Congresswoman Judy Chu's office. Congresswoman Chu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Creative Rights Caucus. The meeting was productive as we talked about projects we can work on together to spread the word on the Hill about copyright from a small business perspective. 

We also met with Austin Smithson of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert's (also on the House Judiciary Committee) office and talked about the copyright registration process itself. We showed him how this cannot be a one-size-fits-all process, which he was very receptive to. There are many different business models represented among copyright owners and the current approach is not working for everyone. 

We are looking forward to two more meetings today before attending the House Judiciary Committee Hearing tomorrow morning where the actual U.S. Copyright Office will present "The Register's Perspective on Copyright Review." We will have three additional meetings after the hearing.


If you had any hesitation there, today's free webinar is for you:

Webinar: Are Your Images Protected? 
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 3-4 pm ET


Lindsey Forson, coordinator, PPA Copyright & Government Affairs Department


Protecting your images isn't something you want to leave to chance. Become more confident about understanding your copyrights and you'll be able to better defend yourself as well as raise awareness with clients and retailers. This is good for the industry and the livelihood of your business!


Consider signing up for the webinar, coinciding with World Copyright Day. Again, it's free and it will help you understand what further steps you can take to protect your business from copyright infringements AND what to do in the annoying case that infringements occur. Sign up to participate! It's a brief but educational webinar and it WILL help you determine if you are doing everything you can to protect your images. 


You might feel comfortable with what you are already doing, but the law keeps evolving and you never know what you're missing! Be More Prepared, Be More Protected, Be More Aware...  all photographers need (more) copyright protection!

Want to be more involved?

Inform/Train photo retailers in your area. This means those who print photos for consumers,

especially those high volume/low quality retailers. Focus on larger retail chains, where your clients

are most likely to have access to self-printing and scanning services. 

It's easy to sign up and participate in the program. As soon as you sign up, we'll send you the "Helpful Tips For Handling Professional Photographs" brochure that you can use as an icebreaker and excuse to visit the photo retailers in your area. It's good to leave some behind for them too.  


NOTE: Before you embark on this Copyright Awareness mission, please educate yourself first so you can help retailers understand their responsibilities. It's important to maintain strong relationships with photo retailers, so make sure your conversations are positive and productive!

Q: What is the most important point to get across to printing retailers?

A: When in doubt, never print or reproduce a professionally-created photograph without written consent from the photographer!

This is a great way you can help protect your images, especially since such a critical part of your revenues come from printed work.  


Copyright matters. And as always, PPA has your back. This is your chance to get involved.


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By Lindsey Forson

April is Copyright Awareness Month at PPA! Why get involved? Because copyright is arguably the most important legal concern for professional photographers. During the course of your career as a pro, it's inevitable that you will have to deal with copyright infringement at some point. To highlight the importance of copyright protection and give you the opportunity to learn the easy way, some PPA photographers have agreed to share their experiences!

In light of a recent issue with a copyright infringement, we had a conversation with PPA member Ross Oscar Knight.

Ross has been a professional photographer since 2004. He takes great care in protecting his images but still faces around 4-5 copyright infringements per year! He has dealt with infringements from clients, retailers, and other photography businesses, along with those frustrating unknown infringers.

Ross stands with PPA in encouraging photographers to protect their images and sees copyright protection as one of the most important aspects of a photography business. For him, there are reasons to protect images beyond the obvious business-related concerns because his images will live on long after his life and the life of his business. "It's no different than a musician writing a song," said Ross. "I'm a photographer, and for me, images are my legacy."

April is Copyright Awareness Month

Have you ever had your rights infringed upon by a photo retailer? Hint: You most likely have and the worst part is both you and the retailer probably didn't even know it! Often retailers commit or allow copyright infringements simply because they do not fully grasp that they actually have some responsibilities.

But you can help make sure it doesn't happen again! (OK, maybe not completely, but you can help make it happens LESS!). April is Copyright Awareness Month. As such, you can work with PPA to better inform photo retailers across the United States. Especially those right in your neighborhood.

Your local retailers (including the big ones like Target, CVS and Walmart) might just be printing whatever comes in and not checking for copyrights. No one wants to infringe the law. You can help them know what they don't know. And most large chain stores don't offer systematic training for their in-store lab attendants or clerks. They will appreciate you helping protect their business, while you will also be protecting your own work! It's a training win-win.


There are two ways you can do your part and get involved:

By: Lauren Walters

Have you ever had someone steal your work or discredit you? Don't fret! PPA is here to help! If you hire a lawyer, you'll be spending A LOT OF MONEY in legal fees, but if you are with PPA, most likely we'll be able to protect your work for FREE or, if damages have already been done, for a fraction of that insane legal cost.

PPA photographer, Ross Oscar Knight, specializes in weddings, fine art and corporate events. Ross had a project that received a lot of exposure when it went viral in 2007, thanks in part to the feature on the Oprah Winfrey show. Soon after, people started pulling and using images from his website without his permission. Some were even discrediting his work and cropping out his logo, committing the ultimate copyright infringement. Ross remembered that PPA helps photographers resolve copyright disputes and went for that help. Check out his story and hear more about how PPA helped him resolve this copyright infringement rip-off.

If you are at risk for copyright infringement or simply want to take the right proactive steps, just go to the PPA's Copyright Resources , get your Free Copyright Kit or check out the overview of copyright laws. Be More Business Savvy and Be More Protected. 

By: Lauren Walters

PPA CEO David Trust was in DC the past two days advocating for photographers like you! He and PPA's copyright team in D.C., the Nickles Group, had a series of meetings with Representatives of Arizona, California, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Wyoming and Senators from Los Angeles and Oklahoma who all have a say on the FAA's proposed rules for regulating the use of drones in the United States. The proposed rules are awaiting approval and are now in a 60-day comment period, during which PPA is working diligently to pull together comments for submission.  

The revised proposal indicates good progress for Photographers. The FAA proposes and approves the rules on drones; those rules are not legislation and do not require congressional approval. Currently, the said rules categorize drones into three physical size groups. PPA is mainly concerned with regulation pertaining to small and micro drones. A small drone is classified as 55lbs or lighter, and a micro drone is 4.4lbs or lighter.

The FAA's proposed rules would require professional photographers wanting to use small drones (less than 55 lbs) to take an aeronautical skills test and obtain a permit and renew that license every two years.  There would also be a one-time registration fee of $150. With 560 testing sites, finding a testing center should be easy. PPA believes the proposed rules for small drones to be a major step in the right direction as they eliminate the current requirement that commercial drone users hold an actual pilot's license. 

The proposed rules for micro-drones (4.4 lbs or less) are even more favorable as they require no skills test.  Photographers wanting to use micro-drones in their business would have to register and self-certify that they understand the FAA's aeronautical information manual.

We are still months away before the rules are finalized, yet solid progresses are being made in the direction of photographers. Want to weigh in? Please visit the discussion on theLoop about drones, it's a dynamic one! 

Drones are the hot topic at the moment, but Trust also had discussions on copyright reform and the Next Great Copyright Act, which are still under development. 

By: Lauren Walters

Ready to take the plunge into Imaging USA? First, stay up to date with what's happening in the world of photography. Read our top ten favorite blog posts and use them as conversation starters at the convention!

1.       5 Tips for Successfully Marketing Yourself at an Industry Trade Show

PERSONAL BRAND: Headed to Imaging USA next week? Get a head start! Learn how to market yourself successfully for when you're walking around at the Expo. The first step is to plan, plan, and plan again!

2.       Why Sports Illustrated Laid Off All of its Photographers

LAYOFFS: For a magazine so heavily reliant on its high-quality images, we were surprised to learn that Sports Illustrated laid off their entire staff of six photographers. A cut of photographers of this scale hasn't happened since The Chicago Sun-Times cut their 28-staffed photographers in 2013. Is history repeating itself?

3.       Joshua Kane: Running a Destination Wedding Photography Business

DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER: PPA photographer Joshua Kane gets paid to travel the world and photograph destination weddings. Although Joshua is living the dream, it's not always a vacation. Read about the challenges and benefits of a destination photography business.

4.       Pixels to Paint: Mixing Photography and Printmaking Yields Beautiful Results

MIXED MEDIA: How would a printmaker involve photography in their process? After mixing digital and print mediums, a hybrid medium was born. Check out a lithographer's approach to digital photography.

5.       India Through a Lens: The Nation Embraces Photography as Art

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: India has always been rich in imagery, but not so involved in the art of photography. After their first photography festival four years ago in New Deli, India has become more present in the photography scene. Check out breath-taking images showcasing the exotic Indian lifestyle.

6.       Study Finds that Professionally Captured Photos Are More Memorable Than Amateur Ones

DUH! (THANKFULLY): According to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), people can distinguish a professional from an amateur photographer. The researcher who conducted this study used special equipment to record the subject's eye movements when exposed to photographs. Check out other conclusions they drew from this experiment.

7.       Johnson Publishing to Sell Historic Photo Archive

ARCHIVES: Hoping to raise funds, the publisher of Ebony magazine is selling their entire photo archive. This collection dates back to 1945 including historic and award-winning photography. Find out more about this collection.

8.       Street Photography: It All Comes Down to Editing

EDITING: As a street photographer, you can shoot anytime, anywhere! Where the structured schedule is lacking, the photographer picks up the slack when it comes to editing. Why would one have to heavily edit street photography? Read more to find out!

9.       Photographer Suing Nike Over the Origins of the Famous Jordan "Jumpman" Logo

COPYRIGHT: Learn about Nike's "jumpman" logo legend. Was there a photograph behind this genius design for inspiration? If so, does the photographer deserve to be compensated?

10.   Photographer Captures Enchanting Landscapes Inspired by The Brothers Grimm

INSPIRATION: We all know those beloved fairytales from our childhood. How about capturing the landscapes that inspired the original Grimm's fairy tales?

Check back with us next week for more top blogs. Any interesting blogs you'd like us to check out, let us know on theLoop!

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