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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. 








Keynote Speaker: Mel Robbins
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Mel Robbins has worn many hats: criminal defense attorney, entrepreneur, life coach, CNN host...Now she's wearing her 10-gallon hat and joining us in Texas for Imaging USA 2017's Keynote Speech. Mel has picked up valuable life-lessons from her experiences and crafted a dynamic way to share them with an audience. She's the author of Stop Saying You're Fine and has a top-viewed TedTalk, "How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over". Mel's going to jumpstart Imaging USA 2017 in her signature, pants-kicking way Sunday morning, January 8, in San Antonio.  


Other Imaging USA Speakers Include:
 

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

As PPA kicks off Day Two in our nation's capital, we wanted to remind you about THIS FRIDAY (tomorrow) and the free, online event you can take part in: Every Voice Counts - PPA's Grassroots Plan for Small Claims. This informative session is the perfect way to jump on board with us and brush up on what small claims protection is, why we need your help, and what YOU can do to help change policy. Sign up now

Now, for the updates:

4:45pm
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We had another positive meeting with Casey Fitzpatrick, counsel to Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA) from the judiciary committee. Casey's interest in the issue was apparent as he asked detailed questions and gave input regarding how to make the small claims process as successful as possible. Congresswoman Walters has many PPA members in her district, and we hope she will be positively engaged on the issue as legislation is introduced and discussed. We will certainly stay in touch with this office.

That about does it for our D.C. trip this week. Remember, we have reached a critical point in the process where we need YOU to get involved. And not only you. We need you to tell your friends to get involved. And they need to tell their friends. And so on. If you have not already, please sign up now for the Small Claims Grassroots Action Team at PPA.com/Grassroots



2:55pm
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We just had a brief meeting with Bobby Cornett with the office of Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ). Congressman Franks also came in and spoke with us briefly about his strong support for copyright protection. We brought Bobby up to speed on upcoming legislation. He is looking forward to reviewing finalized legislation. We will remain in contact with this office as the process unfolds.


12:05pm
Excellent meeting with Lauren Soltini. The office of Congresswoman DelBene has been supportive of the idea of copyright small claims for quite some time. Lauren was excited to hear that legislation is in the works. She is confident that the Congresswoman will be eager to support small claims legislation when introduced.

We are headed to a lunch meeting with Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of the Copyright Alliance, to discuss the legislative process for small claims, strategy, and how the Alliance can continue to be supportive and involved.



10:55am
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We had a great meeting with Jeff Wieland in the office of Congressman Marino this morning. Congressman Marino is one of the key republicans on the judiciary committee when it comes to championing IP rights and protection. It is very important that he is on board with copyright small claims. And fortunately, the office has been very receptive to the idea.

We brought Jeff up to speed on the progress unfolding related to small claims legislation. We hope that Congressman Marino will choose to sign on to a small claims bill as a co-sponsor once the legislation is finalized (which will happen within the next week or two).

Our next meeting is with Lauren Soltini in the Office of Congresswoman DelBene (D-WA). Congresswoman DelBene had a strong voice on the committee and within her party related to property rights, including intellectual property. We will report back soon!



9:00am
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Late yesterday, PPA's Advocacy Team met with Linda Shim, the chief of staff to Congresswoman Chu (D- CA), who is personally drafting copyright small claims legislation. Congresswoman Chu is planning to distribute a discussion draft of her bill to stakeholders next week, and will formally introduce the legislation before the upcoming July recess.  

Congresswoman Chu and Linda Shim have worked so closely with PPA and other visual arts associations along the way to ensure that the proposed legislation will create an effective process for visual artists. The legislative process has not been, and will not be, without complications because of all of the stakeholders, lawmakers, and government officials involved, but Congresswoman Chu is such a strong champion to be leading the charge for small creators' rights. We are very fortunate to have her 100% on board!

We talked through some very specific details of the legislation regarding how exactly the small claims process will be administered. There will likely be some changes made to the legislation once the office of Congresswoman Chu consults with her republican counterpart on the bill (once confirmed) and considers input from other stakeholders. Please stayed tuned for when the bill is introduced, at which time we will share the full text and work to educate the Grassroots Action Team on its details. Linda was extremely excited to hear about PPA's Grassroots Action Plan. She reconfirmed that strong grassroots support is exactly what sets up a bill for success - so please get involved; every voice counts!

Our first meeting today is with Jeff Wieland in the office of Congressman Marino (R-PA). Congressman Marino is a known supporter of intellectual property rights and has a strong voice on the judiciary committee. He previously introduced a Copyright Office Modernization bill, which PPA supports, alongside Congresswoman Chu. We hope to secure his support for copyright small claims during this meeting.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Hill! If you have not already, be sure to visit PPA.com/Grassroots to join our Copyright Small Claims Grassroots Action Team!

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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

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!

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We are very excited to report that members of the House Judiciary Committee are currently working to create legislation which would achieve PPA's top advocacy goal: the creation of a copyright small claims process. 

As a PPA member, help us to advocate for this new legislation on a grassroots level when a bill is introduced. This could take place in the next few weeks! Please join us for an introductory webinar to learn more about how YOU can be involved and help advance copyright for photographers. As PPA mobilizes its efforts on top legislative priorities, YOU CAN HELP! There are 2 sessions to choose from (same content, just different times):

In addition to the webinar, we encourage you to read more about the issue here and sign up to be a part of our Grassroots Action Team, where you'll be given instructions on what to do next (calling your representative, emailing your senator, etc.) As a professional photographer, you have copyright protection but not an effective means of enforcing your rights. This is because the current system practically excludes the vast majority of creators by not offering an adequate enforcement option for small-business copyright holders. PPA has been advocating for the creation of a copyright small claims process for the past ten years! This issue is vital to every professional photographer throughout America--do not miss out on this opportunity to be part of these positive changes!

Mark your calendar and sign up for one of these webinars: Wednesday, or Thursday. See you then!

by James Yates
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It's time to alert your non-PPA member friends. Each month, one PPAedu video is unlocked for everyone to enjoy, because we believe in spreading the wealth of education that PPA members have at their fingertips! The PPAedu library has a lot to help you sharpen your photography techniques, marketing strategies, sales techniques and business operations. These tutorials and educational videos are available 24/7 at no cost as a benefit to PPA members. Between PPAedu and PhotoVision, you can tap into over a thousand programs to help you Be More! If you haven't checked out PhotoVision, take a look. There's a new website with a slew of new episodes!

For the month of June, the video Photoshop: Retouching for Beauty with PPA Instructor Jen Hillenga, M.Photog.Cr. has been unlocked. In this video, Jen teaches you how to enhance your subject's beauty, using some quick and easy Photoshop tricks. You'll first go through the options you have with Photoshop, like controlling exposure, color, crop and vignette. Then Jen will take you through the steps to use so that you don't go overboard or lose the integrity of your images. Drilling down into specific tools, you will explore vignette creation and blemish removal, using the history brush, adding shadows to naturally enhance, and applying selective blurring techniques for extra effects. In her easy and effective way, Jen breaks this down so that you can take your images from beautiful to breathtaking!

If you're already a member of PPA, just log in anytime to watch the video. This video is unlocked for non-members, this month only, at PPA.com/TryEdu. For full access to PPAedu and PhotoVision programs, join PPA today!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for James.JPGJames Yates is an Atlanta-based writer/actor and the Communications Specialist at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). A graduate of Georgia State University, James has worked in the non-profit sector his whole life and is proud to be able to help artists achieve their goals. In his spare time he can be found walking his dogs on the Beltline or partaking in the nightly theater and comedy scene in the ATL.


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