One of PPA's reasons for visiting the Hill was to start building relationships with freshman (first-term) members of the U.S. House of Representatives, especially those involved in intellectual property (IP) and copyright issues. That's why we met with current members of the Committee on the Judiciary, with the bulk of them being members of the Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee.
In fact, we may have found a new "friend to photographers" in Rep. Tom Marino (R-10th-PA)! Marino showed an interest in hearing about small-business photographers and learning more about photographic copyrights. As he also co-sponsored and helped pass the 1099 repeal, it appears we have laid the groundwork for an excellent relationship with someone sympathetic to the needs of small-business owners.
More Copyright News
While we were on the Hill, the IP Subcommittee also had a March 14 hearing (titled "Promoting Investment and Protecting Commerce Online: Legitimate Sites vs. Parasites, Part I") on rogue website legislation that was seemingly well-received by the copyright community. The witnesses stressed the importance of protecting creators and consumers from the effects of online piracy and counterfeit.
All of the news reports that have come out of the hearing give the impression that the Subcommittee is serious about taking on this issue with some sort of legislative fix. After all, the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) recently asked Congress to consider legislation that will do the following, based on the administration's position on counterfeit and piracy penalties:
- Increase existing criminal penalties (i.e., longer sentencing, greater fines).
- Make online infringement (specifically "infringement by streaming or by means of other similar new technology") a felony.
- Give law enforcement greater tools to combat such infringement (specifically cites wiretap).
Add all that together--the new relationships, the rogue website hearing, and the infringement penalties that will hopefully be considered--and we may be in for some good news on the copyright front!
As always, PPA will keep you posted. You can even follow CEO David Trust on Twitter during his Capitol Hill visits, including the trip next week: March 28-29!