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This has been a HUGE week for Drones! The FAA finally released their new regulations covering UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) and PPA has read all 600 pages to help YOU better understand how to (legally) incorporate drones into your business. 

You can head over to www.faa.gov/uas/ to get all the latest information, but we've got a summary for you to get you started and answer your most basic questions.

So...You Want to Be a Small Drone Pilot...

To become a pilot you must: 

Be at least 16 years old
Be able to read, speak, write and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet this requirement for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

How Do I Apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate?

1. Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (there are over 700 locations in the U.S).
2. Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. 
3. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a Remote Pilot Certificate.
4. Pass the TSA security background check. You will then receive a confirmation email containing instructions for printing a temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application). 
5. Receive a permanent remote pilot certificate via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete. 

Once certified, your certification must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations. It is valid for two years, after which you must pass a recurrent knowledge test to renew your certification.


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PPA is back on Capitol Hill this week, and we have some updates on the progress of copyright small claims legislation.

Currently, there are two copyright small claims bills being worked on by members of the U.S. House of Representatives - one bill is being produced by Congresswoman Chu (D-CA) and the other by Congressman Jeffries (D-NY).  Due to recent world events, other issues have been at the forefront of Capitol Hill discussions over the past several weeks.  Consequently, the introduction of Congresswoman Chu's (D-CA) small claims legislation has been delayed, but only slightly. This slight delay is not all bad news - the more issues that can be worked out among stakeholders on the front-end, the more likely the legislation will be successful.  

We are pleased to announce that Congressman Jeffries (D-NY) and Congressman Marino (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan small claims bill today. Congresswoman Chu's bill will be introduced when Congress reconvenes after its upcoming six-week recess. The House of Representatives will be on recess from July 15th until September 6th.  PPA continues to give input as this process unfolds, and we continue to work especially closely alongside Congresswoman Chu's office as they finalize legislative language.

After both bills are introduced, PPA will review the legislation and direct members of the Grassroots Action Team to take action. Your first call to action will be to ask your representative to co-sponsor the small claims bill that we believe is most favorable for professional photographers.  This call to action will most likely begin in September.

Let's take advantage of this unexpected little bit of extra time and focus on getting more photographers and visual artists to join the Grassroots Action Team!  We are encouraged by the number of participants so far, but we still have a long way to go.  We need to be prepared to make a very loud statement on Capitol Hill.  Additional delays are always possible - especially during an election year - but that shouldn't stop us from mobilizing now.  Please continue to encourage every photographer, as well as other creators that you know to sign up at PPA.com/Grassroots.  Remember, you do not have to be a PPA member to join - this needs to be an industry-wide effort.

PPA's government affairs team will be attending important, small claims-related meetings on the Hill this week.  Be sure to stay tuned to PPA Today for updates from D.C.! 

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We had a wonderful meeting with the Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, and the Copyright Office's Director of Policy, Karyn Claggett. We thanked the Register for her tireless support for small creators in creating her plans for a modernized copyright office and testifying to Congress as an expert in the policy area. This meeting provided a great opportunity for us to explain the registration-related difficulties photographers face and how that effects their ability to enforce copyright. We were extremely encouraged by listening to some aspects of her vision for registration reforms which include creating a process that is not one-size-fits-all for all classes of creations. In the coming months, we will be working closely with the Office by giving input on much-needed registration improvements. The Copyright Office (at the request of Congress) has produced and published an extensive plan for modernizing their systems and processes. This plan is dependent on the policy and appropriation decisions of Congress, so PPA plans to continue to be involved in the discussion on the Hill.

We also met with a representative of the American Bar Association to discuss the progress of small claims legislation. The ABA has generally been supportive of the ideas. We will continue to be in contact as the copyright review process evolves.

Headed back to Atlanta!


1:30pm: We are pleased to announce that Congressman Jeffries (D-NY) and Congressman Marino (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan small claims bill today. We appreciate Congressman Jeffries' and Congressman Marino's support on this important small business issue. We look forward to reviewing this bill and Congresswoman Chu's bill and working with these offices and others as well as important stakeholders to make copyright small claims a reality. 


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10:00am: We are at the US Chamber of Commerce for our first meeting of the day. Here we will pitch the idea of copyright small claims to the chamber, explaining why it is such an important small business issue. We hope to have their support on this issue as the process unfolds.



4:30pm: We're walking from our meeting with Zach Whiting in the office of Congressman Steve King (R-IA) to the office of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) for our next meeting. Our meeting with Zach was great. He seemed very interested in our message and asked great questions about how to create an effective small claims process for small-business creators. We brought him up to speed on the forthcoming bills. He is looking forward to reviewing the legislation. Hopefully, the Congressman will choose to get involved with this issue as the copyright review enters the legislative phase. 
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3:30pm: Good meeting with Congressman Cohen's(D-TN) staff. We brought them up to speed on the progress of small claims legislation. They were very receptive of our message and plan to connect with the offices sponsoring these bills and review the language. We are asking all of these offices to consider co-sponsoring small claims legislation upon introduction.

We have are headed into our last two (back-to-back) meetings with Congressman Steve King's (R-IA) office and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's (D-CA) office. 


2:45pm: As always, we had a very productive meeting with Linda Shim, Congresswoman Chu's (D-CA) Chief of Staff. We are working through final details of the bills. At this point, we are facilitating discussions on smaller, technical details between congressional offices and stakeholders. Linda is working closely with the copyright office and counsel to finalize legislative language. We expect that Congresswoman Chu's bill will be introduced in early September when Congress reconvenes from the upcoming recess (which starts this weekend).

10:15am: 
PPA is back in our nation's capital for the last week of the House's current session before their recess. There is a LOT happening with our top priority: a Small Claims Copyright bill. We hope the bill is introduced this week (rather than being held until the next session in September). Stay tuned here as we will update the blog throughout today and tomorrow with all the latest news on this front. 







By Chris Homer

Last week, we broke the news that the long-awaited FAA regulations relating to Unmanned
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 Aircraft Systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds were announced! With the new regulations, if you want to use a small drone in your photography business you must be certified by the FAA. Here are some more details on becoming certified!

According to the new FAA rules, the estimated out-of-pocket cost for an individual to become certified as a remote pilot with a small UAS rating is $150. This will cover the testing fee.

The required aeronautical knowledge test will cover the following subject areas:

- Regulations applicable to small UAS operations

- Airspace classification and operating requirements, maintenance and inspection procedures, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation

- Official sources of weather and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance

- Small UAS loading and performance

- Emergency procedures

- Crew resource management

- Radio communication procedures

- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft

- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol

- Aeronautical decision-making and judgment

- Airport operations.

You'll be able to take the test at more than 700 FAA-approved testing centers. Get more information from the FAA on certification here

And don't forget you can learn even more about the new FAA regulations for drones during PPA's "It's Legal To Use Drones in My Business, Now What?" webinar on July 12 at 2pm ET.

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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by Lindsey Forson

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The FAA has released its long-awaited new rules for small drone operations! These regulations apply to the use of any unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) weighing less than 55 pounds for any reasons other than for hobby or recreational purposes. The rules, of course, apply to operating small drones as a part of your photography business.  

As expected, the finalized rules are very similar to those which were proposed by the FAA in February 2015. According to these new rules, you will no longer be required to obtain an exemption from the FAA and hold a manned aircraft pilot's license to offer drone photography services. Instead, you will be able to become a certified UAS operator (or "Remote Pilot in Command") by passing a computerized knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center.  

FAA certified small UAS operators will be required to meet specified criteria (age requirement, English language proficiency requirement, health requirements, etc.), follow instructions for maintaining and inspecting the aircraft, and stay within FAA-specified operational limitations (some of which are summarized below).

Operational limitations include (but are not limited to):
- Daylight-only operations
- Operations in Class G airspace only without permission from air traffic control (in Class B,         C, D, or E with permission)
- Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level
- Maximum airspeed of 100 mph
- UAS may not operate directly over any person not directly involved in the operation

Read the complete regulations from the FAA here and a summary of the rules here. Stay tuned for more information from PPA!

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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!

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 Forson

4:15pm
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(pic to the right: the view from Congressman Nadler's office)

We had a very productive meeting with Lisette Morton and David Greengrass who are counsel to the IP Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. All of the committee counsel will play an important role as legislation progresses, so it is important that we keep them in the loop. Since the Judiciary Committee has undergone a comprehensive review of copyright law and processes over the past several years, any copyright legislation that is introduced will be part of a larger process and discussion about copyright reform.

During this meeting, we updated David and Lisette on the recent progress toward small claims legislation and made our case to them as to why this issue is of extreme importance to small-business creators across the country and should be treated with individual attention. They were very responsive and helped us think through some important points. We got to have a quick conversation with the congressman on the way out.

Our next meeting is with the Linda Shim, the Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Chu, who is currently finalizing copyright small claims legislation for introduction. This will likely be a longer and more involved meeting, so we will send out an update in the morning before tomorrow's meetings.



2:30pm
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We have just wrapped up our first meeting of the day with Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX; Chairman of the Science Committee and Judiciary Committee member) and his counsel, Curtis Philp. PPA has an interesting connection with Congressman Smith in this fight for copyright small claims. Congressman Smith was the Chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee (of the Judiciary) in 2006 when PPA CEO, David Trust, first testified on copyright small claims during a subcommittee hearing. For more than a decade, Congressman Smith has been intrigued by the same idea PPA had been lobbying for - the creation of a small claims enforcement option as a way to repair the current inequities of the copyright system which negatively impact small business owners. Congressman Smith is eager to be an ally to small-business creators throughout the process of working to make copyright small claims a reality. We are grateful for his support, and look forward to working with his office as the legislative process progresses. 

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We are now headed into a meeting with the office of Congressman Nadler (Ranking Member of the IP Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee).









9:05 am: 
PPA is back on Capitol Hill this week working on copyright small claims legislation.  
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We will be working with drafters of the legislation to discuss specific details and ensure that forthcoming copyright small claims legislation is as favorable as possible for professional photographers.  
We will be seeking original co-sponsors for copyright small claims legislation.  
We will also be meeting with key staffers of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the legislative process and how we can best set up a copyright small claims bill for success.  

PPA's advocacy team is currently in Washington, D.C. doing our part to make copyright small claims a reality, but we have reached a critical point in the process where we need you to get involved. If you have not already, please sign up now for the Small Claims Grassroots Action Team at PPA.com/Grassroots. And stay tuned to PPA Today for updates from the Hill!

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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!
By Autumn Rice
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The House Judiciary Committee is hard at work on small claims copyright legislation. In the meantime, it's important we all learn about this important issue, the process, and the possible result. In order to gain support for the small claims copyright legislation, PPA is holding an information session about the bill. 

Please register to attend for free: Every Voice Counts - PPA's Grassroots Plan for Copyright Small Claims on Jun 17, 2016 2:00 PM EDT at: 

This is important! It will help you better understand your role in PPA's Copyright Grassroots Action Plan. We will walk you through a quick and simple way to contact your congressional representatives at the right times. This presentation will explain in further detail the first call to action for the Grassroots Action Team - soliciting co-sponsors for the copyright small claims legislation! 

Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn how you can be a part of this historic change.
This online event is open to all, so please register and spread the word!

You can also support by joining the Copyright Grassroots Action Team. It only takes a few seconds to sign up! By joining the Team, you will receive news on the latest from Capitol Hill and alerts when it's time to contact your congressmen.

Until Friday... Please share!

by Amanda Arnold
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What? You thought copyright law protects you?

Not so much. Copyright law is great for the big creators--the motion pictures companies, rock stars--but it does precious little for high-volume creators like professional photographers, for whom each piece of work has a relatively low monetary value. Here's why: In order to battle an infringer, you have to take your case to federal court. Federal court is expensive--like $345,000 expensive for the average copyright case cost. In fact, you'd have a hard time getting an attorney to touch a copyright infringement case unless damages are likely to exceed $30,000 ... at a minimum.

The average copyright infringement against a photographer is valued at less than $3,000. That's a lot of money for a photographer, who on average makes $35,000 a year. And yet it's not near enough to take down an infringer.

Sound unfair? And illogical? It is. That's why the nation's largest nonprofit association of working photographers is bucking for change. And the time to act is now.

For more than 20 years, Professional Photographers of America has been active in getting copyright law reformed. One of PPA's priorities is seeing the creation of a small claims process for copyright so photographers can go after infringers. And finally--just this month--lawmakers are drafting legislation to put this copyright small claims process in place.

Exciting news? Yes! End of the journey? No! The bill won't make it from draft to legislation without co-sponsors--lots of them. And it won't get co-sponsors without the voices of tens of thousands--yes, tens of thousands--of photographers and other visual arts creators pleading for them to act ASAP. So here's what we need you to do:

Go to PPA.com/Grassroots right now and sign up to receive updates on the bill. At some point in the near future you will receive a notification to begin contacting your local and state representatives about the bill. Don't worry--the Grassroots Action Team website will make this process very easy. You'll simply plug in your ZIP code to find the appropriate lawmakers in your area to contact, and then you'll shoot off an email directly from the website. Or make a few phone calls. Simple and effective.

Share PPA's "Understanding Small Claims" video. Not just once, not twice--up to 10 times on your social media feeds. Remember, tens of thousands of photographers' voices are needed in this initiatve, so this video needs to go viral to make that impact.  

Tune in to PPA's upcoming webinars on copyright. These webinars will get you up to speed on copyright reform and explain what actions you need to take to mobilize in support of a small claims process. Visit ppa.com/advocacy for an updated list of webinar topics and times. 
This could be the most significant copyright change in your lifetime. Be a part of it!


Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.


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