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by Lindsey Forson

Drone lawyer, Peter Sachs reported on his website (dronelawjournal.com) this morning that he
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 has obtained a summary of the forthcoming small drone regulations from the FAA (for non-hobby and non-recreational use of UAS) which will reportedly be officially released from the FAA tomorrow. Read more from Forbes here. Stay tuned for updates from PPA regarding the new drone regulations beginning tomorrow. 

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Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!


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By Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Memorial Day is just around the corner and, once again, PPA is on Capitol Hill advocating for stronger copyright protection for professional photographers! Our priority issue - the creation of a small claims process for copyright infringement claims - continues to gain support throughout Congress. Multiple offices within the U.S. House of Representatives are eager to take initiative on this issue, and some are even beginning to work toward the creation of legislation which would achieve this goal. We expect to see small claims legislation introduced before the end of year, and most likely, much sooner than that!

PPA will discuss specific details of potential small claims legislation this week during meetings with established supporters of copyright small claims. It is extremely important for us to work with Congress at the outset to create a small claims program that will operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. Through other meetings, we will continue to introduce the idea of copyright small claims and lobby for support for the issue. Our hope is that when a bill is formally introduced, this concept will already have vast support on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate. We are well on our way toward accomplishing this!

In addition to advocating for the creation of copyright small claims, PPA will continue to lobby for improvements to the copyright registration process and the modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Stay tuned to PPA.com/Advocacy for more updates from the Hill!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Lindsey_9955e_bw_cr.jpgLindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!
By Lindsey Forson
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The FAA recently expanded its online drone registration system to include unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or "drones") being used for commercial or public uses. Previously, online registration was only available for drones being used for hobby or recreational purposes, but no matter the purpose or activity, all drone owners are required to register every drone they have. The registration process only takes five to ten minutes. The cost is $5.00 and each drone registration is valid for three years.

Here's the official website to register your drone:  FAA.gov/UAS/Registration. Remember: only hobby and recreational uses are currently permitted unless the drone operator is a licensed pilot and has a Section 333 exemption from the FAA but stay tuned for new regulations that should be made public within the next few months. PPA wants to be very clear that the registration expansion does not mean that regulations have changed (though it is a good sign that the changes are coming very soon).

Registering a drone for business-related use is very similar to the hobbyist registration and is outlined in this article PPA published previously. There is just one additional step required and that is for you to provide the manufacturer, model, and serial number of your drone. The system will also prompt you to input information about your organization (your business) into your account profile.

Once you have registered your drone, you will be assigned a registration number. Be sure to follow the FAA's instructions for labeling your drone properly once you have that unique registration number. You must have your FAA registration certificate in your possession when operating any unmanned aircraft. That proof of registration may be either on paper or electronic, but it must be available immediately upon request.

And remember: Commercial drone use is still heavily regulated, requiring an exemption from the FAA and a pilot's license to be fully legal; however, we expect those requirements to be loosened soon. The FAA making commercial registration available online bodes well for the new regulations appearing just around the corner. We'll keep you posted on any and all updates here and on PPA.com/Drones.

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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by Lindsey Forson
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PPA's Government Affairs team is back in D.C. this week and this first day on the Hill was very exciting. We found out some great information and made significant progress on small claims.

First up was a meeting with Congresswoman Chu's Chief of Staff, Linda Shim. Congresswoman Chu (CA) has certainly emerged as one of our strongest advocates on the Hill. Her office is pushing for copyright small claims legislation harder than anyone else we have met with. They are beginning to seek out other offices on the Judiciary Committees on both sides of the aisle to partner with in the goal of advancing a small claims bill. PPA is helping with this process and we are very grateful to the Congresswoman and her staff for their support of small-business creators. We look forward to continuing our close work with this office on this shared goal.

Next we met with Amy Bos of the Office of Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI). Congressman Sensenbrenner, of the House Judiciary Committee, is a great copyright supporter and has expressed significant interest in copyright small claims in previous meetings. We met with Amy to discuss the small claims white paper that PPA recently released in conjunction with other associations. The Congressman's reaction to our small claims proposal was very positive and he is also interested in advocating for the advancement of the copyright legislation within the House Judiciary Committee. We are looking forward to meeting with the Congressman again during our next trip to discuss how we can work together more on this in the coming months.

Lastly, we had a very informative discussion with five members of the FAA's UAS integration team.  We are pleased to report that the new rule for business-related drone use will most likely be released by June. They confirmed that they are prepared for a late spring/early summer release and that the rule will take effect 30 days after it's released.  These regulations will apply to drones weighing under 55 lbs. PPA expects that these new regulations will be similar to the proposal released by the FAA last year. This would allow for the use of drones by professional photographers if three requirements are met:

1.    The user has obtained a small UAS airman certificate which will be earned by passing a computerized knowledge test.
2.    The user has registered all drones.  The FAA's online drone registration system should be expanded to include registration of drones that will be used for business-related purposes by the end of this month.
3.    The user follows all of the rules - There will be restrictions on maximum height, maximum speed, airspace etc. Based on the proposal, we expect the restrictions to be very reasonable.   

We are seeing exciting progress in D.C. and are happy to be a part of bettering professional photographers' copyrights and due process!

There you have it, PPA's further adventures in D.C.! And the cherry blossoms aren't too bad to look at either. Stay tuned to this blog and PPA.com/Advocacy for more Capitol Hill-related updates as PPA continues to lobby for your Creator's Rights!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Manager of Government Affairs. She works alongside our CEO to fight for the rights of professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep PPA members informed on the issues that affect your businesses. Lindsey helps PPA advocate for stronger copyright protection, improved drone regulations, and other small-business issues affecting the industry. When not on Capitol Hill or at PPA headquarters, you can typically find Lindsey on a soccer field, at an Atlanta restaurant or market, or cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

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-    Currently, commercial use of UAS is almost completely prohibited.

o    The only way to use UAS commercially is to obtain a section 333 exemption from the FAA (a very complicated process which usually involves an attorney) and to have someone with a pilot's license operating the UAS.

-    This makes drone photography virtually impossible for professional photographers unless they also have a pilot's license.

o    For this reason, PPA (over the past few years) has been regularly meeting with the FAA and members of Congress to petition for better regulations.

-    In February 2015, the FAA proposed a set of new regulations which would create a new type of airman certification specifically for UAS operators which would be required in lieu of a pilot's license and would be obtained through a knowledge test.  This proposal improves other regulations for small drone use (55 lbs. or less) affecting photographers by allowing users to fly them much closer to buildings and people than currently authorized.

o    PPA submitted comments to the FAA based on the proposal.  We were generally very pleased with the proposal but did suggest some minor changes.

-    In May 2015, the FAA gave themselves a deadline of no more than 16 months to pass the final rule.  We have the impression the final regulations will be very similar to the proposal and will greatly improve the regulatory framework as it applies to professional photographers' use of UAS.

-    In December 2015, the online registration process was introduced for HOBBYIST use of drones.  

o     In our most recent meeting with the FAA's UAS integration office, PPA was told that their goal for passing the new regulations is early summer 2016, and that they will be completed before the end of 2016 at the latest. We have since heard that it may be even sooner.We expect the use of UAS among professional photographers to massively expand this spring/summer once the new rule is made official and in the years that follow.

Stay right here every week for all the latest Drone news and updates!

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There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips! Because while drones are very exciting, we want to keep you legal!

The regulations released last December from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The FAA launched a very simple online drone registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS literally any day now. We certainly expect the regulations to come by Summer 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

At this point, you may be wondering why we keep using the word "hobbyist". Again, we have to stress that as it stands now, drone use is restricted to only "hobbyist" use and not "commercial" use without a pilot's license. Since you, our members, are professionals and are probably thinking about using drones in your photography work, we feel we have to keep you informed of the illegality of that situation. Think of these posts as "How to Use Your Drones ONLY FOR RECREATIONAL and HOBBYIST USE and NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL OR COMMERCIAL USE". The new regulations relaxing the rules for business use are expected any day now. But until then ... here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS (FOR HOBBYIST USE ONLY) after the jump:

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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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by Lindsey Forson

PPA has a full time presence on Capitol Hill fighting for the rights of professional photographers. In fact, as you read this, PPA's CEO David Trust is in Washington, D.C. meeting with key lawmakers. As we kick off our 2016 advocacy efforts, we have hope that this will be the year that a lot of hard work will pay off.
 
Know that PPA is fighting for your rights! This is why we want you to know exactly what the issues PPA advocates for are and why these issues have been prioritized. As a result, during the next six weeks, we'll post more updates right here, on the PPA Blog. Weekly posts will cover key priority areas of PPA's legislative advocacy efforts and provide updates on the most recent progress on Capitol Hill. You can also follow these stories on PPA.com/Advocacy.

This blog series will also offer a webinar to dig a bit deeper on the same topics and discuss strategies for grassroots advocacy. Here are the advocacy priorities you can expect to learn more about:

1.    The Creation of a Small Claims Option for Copyright Enforcement
2.    Modifications to the Copyright Registration process to create a more functional system
3.    Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

Do not miss out on these opportunities to become fully informed on these vital issues which directly affect your livelihood! The time to become educated is now - very soon PPA might be calling on you for help!

Why now?

The House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress has executed a comprehensive review of copyright in America during the past few years. PPA has been there all the way through, speaking out for the issues most important to the industry. In the next year or two, we hope to see legislation from this committee on issues vital to photography businesses, such as those outlined above. When, exactly? No one knows - which is the reason to prepare now.

If and when any copyright legislation moves from the Committee to the House floor, PPA will call on you! We will ask each and every PPA member to contact their representatives so that our voice truly is 29,000 photographers strong. Timing is essential - so it is extremely important to time this right. But when the day comes (hopefully soon!), PPA members will be educated and prepared to fight for your rights. Do your part now by taking full advantage of PPA's educational opportunities - 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.

by Lindsey Forson

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding new FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips!

The new regulations released this week from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of Monday, the FAA launched a very simple online registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS during the first half of 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use by the spring of 2016. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage (link to last blog post) for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS after the jump:



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