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PPA Today: Copyright Advocacy: February 2016 Archives

Copyright Advocacy: February 2016 Archives

by Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

Our efforts don't stop with this trip: PPA has several phone calls scheduled with key offices in DC during the next week to follow-up on these discussions and your PPA Copyright & Government Affaires team makes its next trip to our nation's capital to continue this work in just three weeks! Stay up-to-date with all of our advocacy headway at PPA.com/Advocacy!

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

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Today is day 2 of PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs team's business visit in our nation's capital discussing copyright and the protection of professional photography.
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First up today, the team, lead by PPA CEO David Trust, had an extremely encouraging meeting with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA), Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Linda Shim, Chief of Staff to the Congresswoman.

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

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






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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


by Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

3.  Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

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

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



by Lindsey Forson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Copyright Advocacy category from February 2016.

Copyright Advocacy: January 2016 is the previous archive.

Copyright Advocacy: March 2016 is the next archive.

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