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PPA Today: Copyright Advocacy: April 2017 Archives

Copyright Advocacy: April 2017 Archives

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Professional Photographers of America celebrated the passage of H.R. 1695 (the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act), marking the first important step in the association's goal to modernize the U.S. copyright system. 

H.R. 1695 makes the Register of Copyrights, who leads the United States Copyright Office (USCO), a presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed position. HR 1695 gives the Register the autonomy to modernize the Copyright Office to suit the specialized needs of the copyright system. PPA has been activating its 30,000-member base to call or email their representatives in support of the bill. 

"So much effort went into this," says PPA CEO David Trust, "and everyone who took 30 seconds to submit their letters should feel proud about what we accomplished together. So, today is a day for smiles and congratulations. Tomorrow we start preparing for a much tougher fight in the Senate."

Cindi Marifield, President R2P Strategies, representing PPA in D.C. says, "It is fitting that on World Intellectual Property Day, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act.   There are not many bills that pass with overwhelming bi-partisan support these days (378 to 48) and it is a tribute to Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Congressman Doug Collins and Congresswoman Judy Chu and their staff who worked deliberately and effectively to pass this legislation.  This bill is a great first step toward bolstering the Copyright Office and we look forward to both Chambers taking up and passing legislation to create a small claims process for individual creators as efforts to modernize the Copyright Office heat up." 



Wednesday, April 26th

3:30pm 
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HR 1695 has passed through the House with overwhelming support! The vote was 378-48 and Rep. Chu was able to put in an ammendment favoring the Small Claims process. 

A big thanks to everyone who took the time to call or write your representative. This was a major victory in our fight for better copyright protection. 

Stay tuned for updates...


9:00am

pictured: Karyn Temple Claggett, acting Register of Copyright

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Happy World IP Day!  We kicked things off this morning with a Facebook Live video explaining World IP Day and how it aims to thank creative artists, photographers, graphic designers and all other creators for everything they do and how colorful they make the world! 

PPA also wants to take a moment and thank all of our wonderful members for making the world so much more beautiful! Besides the excitement of World IP Day in D.C, we are even more excited about H.R 1695. We have been told that it is still scheduled to be debated and voted on later this afternoon. In the meantime, it is important to continue to send letters and make phone calls reminding our representatives how important this bill is to creative artists and photographers! This is the first step in modernizing the copyright office, and will set the stage for small claims in the future.

PPA will be alternating celebrating World IP Day at the Library of Congress and meeting with Senator Dick Durbin (R-IL), Frank Cullen of the US Chamber of Commerce, Senator Deb Fisher (R-NE) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). It is imperative that we begin meeting with the Senate side to continue to prep members for H.R 1695 and lay the foundation for Small Claims. 

We will keep you updated throughout the day and hopefully have some great news for you before we leave D.C!


Intellectual property fuels the innovation that improves lives around the world. That's worth celebrating. #WorldIPDay

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World IP Day is celebrated by: 

• ACT | The App Association
• Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
• American Apparel & Footwear Association
• American Association of Independent Music
• American Beverage Association
• American Bridal and Prom Industry Association
• American Business Conference
• American Foundry Society
• American Intellectual Property Law Association
• American Society of Media Photographers
• Association of American Publishers
• Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
• Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM)
• Biotechnology Innovation Organization
• BSA | The Software Alliance
• C ropLife America
• Entertainment Software Association
• Fashion Accessories Shippers Association
• Game Manufacturers Association
• Gemini Shippers Association
• Global Automakers
• Global Brand Council
• INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
• Interactive Advertising Bureau
• International Chamber of Commerce Business Action
to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP)
• International Franchise Association
• International Intellectual Property Alliance
• International Trademark Association
• Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
• National Association of Broadcasters
• National Association of Manufacturers
• National Black Chamber of Commerce
• National Music Publishers' Association
• National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce
• News Media Alliance
• Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
• Professional Photographers of America
• Recording Industry Association of America
• SAFE Bio-Pharma Association
• Semiconductor Industry Association
• Software & Information Industry Association
• Telecommunications Industry Association
• The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition
• The Latino Coalition
• Toy Industry Association
• United States Council for International Business
• United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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by Sidra Safri

  • Tuesday, April 25, 5:00pm 

After attending the Senate Judiciary Committee, we visited Representative Schneider from Illinois. Representative Schneider has recently joined the House Judiciary Committee and has already co-sponsored H.R 1695. Representative Schneider and his staff have family and friends who are photographers and they understand the importance of photographers on society and their community. They also agree that H.R 1695 is a good start to the modernization of the Copyright Office and hope that we can continue in this direction. 

After talking about H.R 1695 we also took a moment to talk about Small Claims and how we hope that this is the next thing the House Judiciary brings up. They seemed thoroughly interested, and have asked us to keep them updated as time goes on. 

After Representative Schneider, we met with Representative Jayapal of Washington. This was one of our first meetings with this office. We took the opportunity to introduce PPA and everything our members do. As we got into the details of Small Claims it seemed like Representative Jayapal's office understood the need for this protection for photographers. After talking about Small Claims, we were able to talk about H.R 1695. We are so thankful that Representative Jayapal is supporting H.R 1695. We hope to come back to visit Representative Jayapal and continue to talk about Small Claims. 
 
We are on our way to meet with Senate Rules Committee. Stay tuned for more updates!

9:00am 

Good morning!

PPA is on its way to Washington D.C. again for another exciting trip! We think this will be one of our more exciting ones for two big reasons:

  • As you have been hearing through our Facebook Live videos, H.R. 1695 is projected to go for a vote tomorrow! Remember, H.R. 1695 moves to make the Register of Copyright a presidential appointee and therefore takes the first steps in modernizing the copyright office. With this being such a bipartisan bill, and with over 2800 letters sent, we hope this will get passed. However, continue to send letters and share with your friends and family. We need to make sure your voice is heard!
  • Tomorrow is also World IP Day! This is a day to honor creators, artists, photographers, etc. to thank them and highlight all their contributions to society. Both the house and senate are having special hearings and events to honor creators. 
As soon as we land, we are going to rush over to the senate and attend the IP hearing. This hearing is to discuss what can be done to continue encouraging creators to add to our world.

After the hearing we will be attending meetings with Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and David Adkins (R-NM) of the Senate Rules Committee.

Stay tuned for more updates and watch out for our live updates on Facebook live!

by Sidra Safri
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As you already know, PPA is making big push this week to get H.R. 1695 passed. The passage of H.R. 1695 would make the Register of Copyright a Presidential Appointment that would be vetted by the Senate both before and after being chosen. However, as with anything in D.C and on Capitol Hill, is it is always important to consider what would happen if H.R. 1695 does not pass.

If H.R. 1695 is unable to get the votes it needs tomorrow, the Register of Copyright would continue to answer to the Librarian of Congress. The Librarian of Congress and the Register of Copyrights have inherently opposing jobs. The Librarian is responsible for capturing a screen shot of society and being able to share it with everyone. On the other hand, the Register is responsible for making sure creators are being given their credit and compensation, which limits free-and-wide usage.  

The biggest setback if H.R. 1695 does not pass would be the difficulty modernization and Small Claims legislation would face. These goals would be significantly harder to achieve. Even if the Copyright Office is given a face-lift and is brought into the 21st century, able to hear disputes regarding copyright infringements, it would still answer to the Register of Copyright. Basically, all the "modernization" would be made for nothing. The librarian would still control what and how the register operates. This would be a huge setback considering that the Librarian does not have the same in-depth knowledge of copyright issues as the Register.

Not passing H.R. 1695 would make any and all work being put into the copyright office a waste. The good news is that PPA does believe that H.R. 1695 will pass. There is bi-partisan support for this bill and constant agreement that something needs to be done about the Copyright Office. Between the ancient workings of the Copyright Office and the abrupt removal of the Register in October of 2016, this is the momentum creative artists and photographers needs to get the House to pass H.R. 1695. 

Be sure to email and call your representative now! 

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.  

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyright_Support-HR-1695.png(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.

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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).

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.  



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Copyright Advocacy category from April 2017.

Copyright Advocacy: March 2017 is the previous archive.

Copyright Advocacy: May 2017 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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