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PPA Advocacy: May Capitol Hill Visits - PPA Today

PPA Advocacy: May Capitol Hill Visits

Like every month, PPA is back on Washington to advocate with legislators for your photography rights! Small business owners are often overlooked by the law, but PPA is on the Hill to make sure photographers are accounted for in the upcoming new copyright legislation.

Yesterday, PPA's advocacy team met with Corey Cooke and Joe Hartz who both serve on the Hill as Counsel to the House Small Business Committee. 

"We discussed various issues affecting small photography businesses including copyright issues, health care concerns, and drone photography," said Lindsey Forson, PPA's copyright & government affairs coordinator. "This introductory meeting made sure these important people on the Hill know who PPA is and what issues are important to the 28,000+ photographers and small business owners PPA represents. The goal is to forge positive relationships with those looking out for the concerns of small business owners like photographers."

Today's agenda includes meetings with:

  • The Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator

"There is a new coordinator in place and we want to establish a relationship with the office and make sure they are thinking about small business copyright issues," said Forson.

  • The U.S. Copyright Office

To discuss the Copyright review process.


Update: Wednesday, May 13, 11:44 a.m.


Lindsey just checked in with a report:


We are just leaving a meeting with Pippa Scarlett, Deputy Associate Attorney General of the United States and Senior Counselor at the U.S. IPEC (Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator) Office. Generally our meetings are with the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government. This meeting allowed us to present our interests to the Executive Branch. A very important step!


05.15 Pippa Scarlett.jpeg

Ms. Scarlett offered us the opportunity to submit comments to the Office to present the Copyright needs of photographers and other visual artists/small business copyright holders. We're of course happy to oblige as it will help further our cause. Thank you Ms. Scarlett for understanding what's at stake and giving us the opportunity to submit our input!

These comments will be considered by the newly appointed Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Daniel Marti, as he formulates a plan for the Office for the next three years. We were also offered to meet with other important people within the Executive Branch, specifically those who look out for small business interests. We look forward to taking advantage of this offer during our upcoming trips to D.C.!

We are now headed to lunch with Sandra Aistairs, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance. More to follow...

UPDATE: Thursday recap

Wednesday afternoon we had a meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office to touch base before we submit comments to their recent Notice of Inquiry (NOI) for those in the visual arts community. This NOI was released as a follow-up to Register of the U.S. Copyright Office, Maria Pallante's testimony in the final hearing of the House Judiciary Committee's copyright review process. It is a request for industry stakeholders to submit comments regarding the effectiveness of the current copyright system, addressing many issues such as licensing, monetization, registration and enforcement. We gathered some useful feedback from the Copyright Office to help make our comments most effective.

Much of the conversation surrounded the proposals Pallante presented to Congress during her testimony. Through these proposals, real efforts are being made to address the concerns of all copyright owners, especially high-volume creators such as photographers. This means progress toward repairing a copyright system which is currently not very effective for many types of creators.

Our PPA team also stressed the importance of a small claims process for copyright enforcement. The U.S. Copyright Office is extremely in favor of this and has even submitted a legislative proposal to the House Judiciary Committee. This alternative dispute resolution process is good for photographers' cause! We discussed its many aspects and presented what we think is necessary to make this enforcement option most effective for professional photographers.

Some of the proposed administrative changes could potentially give the Office the tools to be more efficient in managing copyright in the U.S. and obviously have PPA's full support. However, we still believe that the copyright registration process, including the confusing definition for and need to distinguish between published vs. unpublished work, could use some changes.

During this significant time in the world of copyright policy, each of these trips to our nation's capital is extremely important. We are eager to see forthcoming changes which will potentially improve professional photographers' ability to enforce their copyrights (and derived livelihood). As legislative and administrative changes are proposed, we plan to be there as the voice of PPA members in particular, but also photographers in general, every step of the way.

If you have questions about PPA's advocacy efforts, call us at 800-786-6277 and ask for the Copyright & Government Affairs Department. PPA helps its photographers Be More Prepared and Be More Informed. 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on May 13, 2015 6:01 PM.

Protecting Images, Staying Positive & Defining Pro: Our Top 10 Blog Posts from 5/2- 5/8 was the previous entry in this blog.

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