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by Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Your PPA team is on Capitol Hill this week, advocating for stronger copyright protections to benefit artists like YOU! After yesterday's celebration of Intellectual Property Day, we continued with more meetings with senators in a position to help with our mission to empower small business photographers.  

This morning PPA's CEO, Membership Director, and Government Affairs Manager met with David Rybicki, Counsel for Senator Perdue (R-GA). Since the State of Georgia is home to PPA headquarters, we had an added connection with this office. We introduced PPA's priorities and discussed our small claims proposal in depth. David seemed intrigued by the proposal and is eager to consult with Senator Perdue on it. Senator Perdue has a business background and is strong on IP protection issues, so we suspect that this will be a great office to continue working with.

Next, we met with Garrett Levin with the office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Senator Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also has many artistic pursuits himself (including photography!) and is a very strong copyright advocate. This office will be an integral part of any success of small claims legislation on the senate side. Garrett, who had studied our proposal prior to the meeting and was prepared with very specific questions for us, provided great insight into how we might best set up potential legislation for success. He has worked on these issues for a long time and the knowledge he shared was very helpful. We also discussed registration issues in depth. Garrett is very interested in creating solutions to the problems surrounding the deposit requirement that is a part of the copyright registration process. We will be meeting with his office again in the very near future.

These meetings are a big deal as they really help to advance photographers' copyright enforcement and copyright protection in general. PPA puts the time and effort year-round into pushing these issues because they impact the livelihood of our profession. This is why it is so encouraging to see these pieces of the puzzle come together, pushing us steps closer to our goal.

Stay up-to-date here on PPA's blog and on PPA.com/Advocacy for everything you need to know about PPA's work on Capitol Hill. It will help you be more protected and be more prepared.

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!


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by Lindsey Forson
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4/26/16, 5pm:
Today was packed with meetings that shed more light on the work being done to strengthen copyright protection in the U.S. First, the Government Affairs team had a pair of introductory meetings on the issue of copyright small claims. We met with Skiffington Holderness from the office of Senator James Risch (R-ID) to introduce the idea of copyright small claims. Senator Risch is on the small business committee and we would love to see them hold a hearing on the issue. Skiffington was very receptive to our cause and said he would love to dig into it deeper and meet with us again to discuss. We look forward to that and hope to work with this office to shed light on the need for small claims.

We also met with Matt Sangren, the Chief IP Counsel to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to discuss all of our priority issues. Senator Hatch is a long time copyright advocate, and we are very appreciative of that. We hope to work with this office on copyright small claims and other issues important to small-business creators. We provided Matt with our small claims white paper. He is excited to look further into the issue and work with us. IMG_3260.JPG

The back half of our day included an excellent meeting with Jonathan Nabavi, Counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). He was very interested in the idea of small claims and asked a lot of questions about how to make the potential small claims process work best for small creators. We also discussed our concerns with the "one-size-fits-all" copyright registration process that makes it very burdensome for professional photographers who produce the highest volume of creations among the copyright holder community. These issues include the requirement to sort images according to publication status and date and to deposit each individual photograph. Senator Grassley will be a very important component to achieving our goal since he is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We are excited to see what will come of getting his office engaged on the issue.

Your PPA team is now headed to the World Intellectual Property Day reception! We'll be mixing and mingling on Capitol Hill with the other IP stakeholders and supportive members of Congress.

We have more great meetings lined up for tomorrow! Stay glued to PPA Today or PPA.com/Advocacy for all the updates!

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!


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by Lindsey Forsoncapitol.jpg

Today is World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, and PPA's Government Affairs team is spending it fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill! Celebrated internationally on April 26, World IP Day marks the date in 1970 when the World Intellectual Property Organization Convention became active. It's observed today as a way of promoting a general understanding of intellectual property and its importance. This year, PPA will be in attendance at several World IP Day events in DC to network with other copyright stakeholders and discuss shared goals.

These events are just one small part of PPA's April advocacy visit to Capitol Hill. We also have several very important lobbying meetings to promote potential copyright small claims legislation and other key priorities. Our appointments include meetings with the offices of the Chairman Senator Hatch and the Ranking Member Senator Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Recently, PPA's copyright advocacy efforts have been mostly focused on the U.S. House of Representatives. This is due to the fact that the House Judiciary Committee has performed a comprehensive review of copyright law over the past couple of years. As our top priority issue gains increased support on the House side, PPA is now connecting with key offices in the Senate Judiciary Committee to introduce and promote the idea of copyright small claims. No matter who ultimately introduces a small claims bill, the legislation will have the best opportunity for success if it already has wide support throughout Congress when introduced.

You can rest assured that along with promoting small claims legislation, PPA is speaking up on all of the copyright issues affecting professional photographers. Recently, we submitted comments to the US Copyright Office concerning issues with both the copyright registration process and the DMCA notice and takedown process. We will continue to discuss these topics and others with key law-makers and agency heads.

Be more educated and get your Copyright Resources now at PPA.com/Copyright. And stay tuned to PPA.com/Advocacy this week for updates from Capitol Hill!

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!

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By Lindsey ForsonThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

As part of April's increased copyright awareness efforts, PPA's government affairs team created two new copyright webinars. The webinars are available through PPAedu and were created to help you increase your copyright knowledge and protection efforts.

Copyright Basics: What Every Professional Photographer Needs to Know provides a brief overview of photographic copyright. Though this is not an incredibly exciting topic, copyright is something that you, as a professional photographer, should have at least basic understanding of. By tuning in, you will learn the basics of federal copyright law and how it affects your business. The webinar also provides an overview of how to protect your copyright and how to recognize and deal with copyright infringements. Finally, you will learn how to access and take advantage of PPA's copyright resources. You may have tuned into this webinar in the past, but now there's an updated version on PPAedu.

Ten Tips for Protecting Your Copyright presents the nuts and bolts of image protection. As a professional photographer, you want to protect your photographs from copyright infringements but may not be sure of what steps you can take. From educating your clients to registering your work, this webinar gives you the tools you need to make sure your photos are as safe as possible.

These webinars do not present legal advice but are full of useful educational information. Don't miss out - take advantage of this opportunity to fine-tune your copyright knowledge! Check out PPA's helpful Copyright Tool and Kit at PPA.com/Copyright. And stay up-to-date with all of PPA's Copyright advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy.


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 ForsonThumbnail image for Capitol_Copyright_Blog.jpg

Copyright protection is vital to professional photographers. It is what preserves the value of your creations and, without it, a photography business could be very difficult to maintain. Many people think of copyright as something that only really affects rich and famous, Hollywood creators. But we know better!

We know that, more than anything else, copyright is a small business issue.  PPA works year-round to spread this message and to fight for vital improvements to America's copyright system. In honor of April's World Copyright Day, we have gone the extra mile this month - but we need your help!

What is PPA doing?

As always, we are advocating on Capitol Hill for copyright improvements that are essential to professional photographers. At the center of our advocacy is the creation of a copyright small claims option for infringement claims.  We are also sending the message to the public that copyright protects small businesses across the country, and therefore, respecting copyright law is essential to our economy. PPA circulates copyright-related press releases to the media and welcomes copyright-related inquiries from consumers and photo retailers. Through this process, we provide resources which educate the public on copyright law and connect consumers with copyright owners of images they wish to have reproduced.

What's new?

Just this month, PPA launched our new Copyright Infringement Help Tool - an interactive resource available to PPA members 24/7 to help you deal with the unauthorized uses of your work. We released a Copyright FAQ section on the website which gives you simple answers to your most common copyright questions. Also launched this month is a new website, CopyrightDefense.com, which provides resources to policy-makers and other interested parties related to top advocacy priorities for the visual arts community. On this website you will find a video entitled, "Who is the Copyright Holder Next Door?" The video provides compelling insight into copyright as a small business issue.





How can you help?

The most important thing you can do is protect your own copyright. Begin with your PPA Copyright Kit to reinforce your copyright knowledge. Be sure to educate your clients about copyright and how it relates to the products they purchase. Keep up with PPA's advocacy efforts at PPA.com/Advocacy, and be sure your voice is heard when the time is right. In honor of World Copyright Day, take it a step or two further! Have a conversation about how copyright protects your business with at least one friend, family member, or person you come in contact with. Share PPA's new video with your social media networks with your own copyright story or personal message.

Copyright protection is important today and every day. PPA's voice is 29,000 strong - so let's work together to create awareness!  And don't forget to take advantage of your PPA copyright resources which can all be accessed at PPA.com/Copyright.


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
Dron2.jpg
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 James YatesThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for copyrighticon.png

By now you know PPA is always fighting for your rights on Capitol Hill, lobbying and advocating for improvements to copyright registration and the modernization of the copyright office (including a small claims option).

We're pretty proud of the "big-picture" ways that we're working to improve your business's sustainability and profits, but there's a smaller, peer-to-peer way that PPA has helped, behind the scenes, for years: assessing whether or not members' works have been infringed.

In the old days (up until this month), if a PPA member felt their work may have been lifted without their permission, they would call and speak directly to our Government Affairs Coordinator. The GAC would walk each caller through the appropriate steps of determining if the use of a work was a violation of copyright law and what the next steps to take were.

Now, in honor of World Copyright Day being right around the corner (April 23rd), PPA is unveiling our newest member tool: the Copyright Infringement Assistance tool! This fast and easy tool does, online and in minutes, what the GAC used to do over the phone. Call it the "scaling up" of helping our members. With the new tool, if you think you've been infringed upon, you only have to answer 2-3 questions and the tool will generate specific help for you, including DCMA takedown notices, certified letters to the infringing parties or letting you know when it's time to contact an attorney.

If you feel your work has been infringed upon, but you don't know what to do about it, PPA can help with our Copyright Infringement Assistance tool. It's designed to point you in the right direction, with steps you can take to stop the infringement! It's quick and painless...because having your art stolen is painful enough! Come see how it all works, and also get your hands on our Copyright Kit and see Anne Geddes speak on the subject, at PPA.com/Copyright.

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by Lindsey Forson Dron1.jpg

This week the Micro Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee ("Micro UAS Committee") was convened by the FAA and made final recommendations for the classification and operation of micro drones (or drones weighing less than .5 lbs.). Their recommendations relate to regulations of micro drones for all uses other than for hobby or recreational purposes.
 
What do these recommendations mean for you?

These recommendations will have no immediate effect on you as a professional photographer interested in incorporating drone photography into your business. We still expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of "small" drones (under 55 lbs.) within the next few months, which should make it much more feasible for photographers to pursue professional drone photography. See PPA's March Capitol Hill update for more on the forthcoming regulations.
The micro drone recommendations could potentially lead to relaxing some previously proposed small drone regulations for the smallest and lightest drones in the under 55 lbs. classification and increasing some restrictions for those on the heavier end. This is still in the early stages.
 
Based on our initial read, the Micro UAS Committee recommends breaking up "small" drones into four categories and, under this structure, drone manufacturers would be required to demonstrate that their drones qualify for a specific category. The committee recommends drones less than 0.5 lbs. should be permitted to fly over crowds. Additionally, operators of drones under 0.5 lbs. should have less burdensome certification requirements than other small drone operators. Specifically, they should be able to take an online (rather than in-person) test, and be exempt from having to get a TSA background check.

PPA continues to have a substantial voice and weight in the discussion on small and micro drone classifications and regulations. Here is some of our feedback on these initial official recommendations:

-    PPA is very much in favor of creating a sub-classification for the smallest of small drones
-    PPA supports the FAA's exploration of ways to carve out specific recommendations for micro drones
-    PPA continues to review the recommendations in an effort to gain a better understanding of how the different drone categories will apply to the currently available pool of drones on the market.
-    If a less costly, less burdensome testing and certification process is created, we would like to see it made available to users of drones weighing slightly beyond 0.5 pounds.

Don't be misled or misinformed - before you go looking for information on drones anywhere online, be sure to check right here on PPA's Blog and on PPA.com/Drones. This is where we keep all the latest info on regulations PPA is always striving to keep you safe and legal, and we're updating drone info as soon as it comes out.. Be More Protected!


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 James Yates

Every once in a while, we get a little star-struck here at PPA headquarters. For instance, when someone as famous as Anne Geddes stops by, and proves to be amazingly down-to-earth and kind, we can't help but feel super-proud to be doing what we do. Anne has teamed up with PPA to help spread the word about Copyright Law in the U.S. and how vital it is that you protect your images.

Anne sat with us to film a Red Chair video and we're over-the-moon about her excitement and passion for our Copyright Defense projects. In this video, you'll see that Anne knows how important it is for a 29,000+-member strong association like PPA to "have your back". She recounts how difficult it was to protect your work as an artist in the 1980s and early-90s before PPA began lobbying and fighting for stronger copyright protections for photographers. Now, Anne is making sure photographers know the importance of having their work copyrighted and having PPA's resources at their side if any theft occurs.



April 23rd is World Copyright Awareness Day and PPA is celebrating all month long. In addition to the release of this new celebrity interview, you can find a brand-new Copyright Tool on our website to help guide you, step-by-step, through the process of determining and stopping an infringement. Members can also pick up our Copyright Kit* for all the forms and info you need to Be More Protected. Stay up-to-date at PPA.com/Advocacy to read about all the exciting progress our Government Affairs team is making on Capitol Hill to expand and strengthen copyright protection for small businesses like YOU.

Check out the video and come by PPA.com/Copyright to Be More Protected!

*A "lite" version of the Kit is available to non-members so you can share it with your friends. Because copyright protection is important for ALL photographers, not just our members (but we're sure that after seeing all the work we're doing to keep them protected, they will want to sign up at PPA.com/Join)!

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by James Yates

PPA is continuing to keep you up-to-date on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (or "drone") rules and regulations. As we await word from the FAA on loosening the restrictions for commercial drone use, we thought you might like to take a look at a video that shows just how finicky (and potentially dangerous!) UAS can be.

Skip ahead to 1:35 to see the crash, then to 3:35 for the fire.

Yes. Fire.





Don't worry. No one was hurt and the house did NOT burn down.


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