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by Lindsey Forson

Professional photography is undoubtedly an art form. But the images you create are so much more than your art - they are your meal ticket... your livelihood... your blood, sweat, and tears. This is why copyright protection is so important to photographers, and this is why PPA works so hard to fight for strong and effective copyright laws.
Based on the level of importance for small-business copyright owners along with considerations of feasibility, PPA has narrowed down three primary priorities for legislative action:

1.  The creation of a small claims option for copyright enforcement

2.  Modifications to the current copyright registration process to improve functionality and have more photographers register their work

3.  Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

If you have kept up with our advocacy updates throughout the past year, you have heard about these priorities before. It is increasingly apparent that updates are underway. There is a real possibility that legislation will advance as soon as this year! Therefore, the time has also come for all photographers to form a (much) deeper insight into what each of these issues could mean for their businesses and why they are worthy of your support.
So why modernize the United States Copyright Office? Technological advancements have occurred at a much quicker rate than the federal government has been able to keep up with. This has become a big issue and greatly affects creators like you. As incredible as it seems, the U.S. Copyright Office is simply not properly equipped to operate in today's world and effectively meet your copyright needs. Its main three needs are: adequate administrative capacity, authority, and accountability. All of which are currently lacking, at least to a certain degree.

As is, the U.S. Copyright Office is not a federal agency. It is an office situated within the Library of Congress (LOC) and is really more like one department within a larger agency. This means that the Copyright Office's systems and processes are tied to the LOC's. Most people understand that the needs of the millions of creators throughout our nation who deal with copyright issues are very different than the needs of a library (a very important library, but a library nonetheless). We are talking about IT needs, staffing needs, and budgeting needs - just to name a few.

by Lindsey Forson

PPA has a full time presence on Capitol Hill fighting for the rights of professional photographers. In fact, as you read this, PPA's CEO David Trust is in Washington, D.C. meeting with key lawmakers. As we kick off our 2016 advocacy efforts, we have hope that this will be the year that a lot of hard work will pay off.
Know that PPA is fighting for your rights! This is why we want you to know exactly what the issues PPA advocates for are and why these issues have been prioritized. As a result, during the next six weeks, we'll post more updates right here, on the PPA Blog. Weekly posts will cover key priority areas of PPA's legislative advocacy efforts and provide updates on the most recent progress on Capitol Hill. You can also follow these stories on

This blog series will also offer a webinar to dig a bit deeper on the same topics and discuss strategies for grassroots advocacy. Here are the advocacy priorities you can expect to learn more about:

1.    The Creation of a Small Claims Option for Copyright Enforcement
2.    Modifications to the Copyright Registration process to create a more functional system
3.    Modernization of the United States Copyright Office

Do not miss out on these opportunities to become fully informed on these vital issues which directly affect your livelihood! The time to become educated is now - very soon PPA might be calling on you for help!

Why now?

The House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress has executed a comprehensive review of copyright in America during the past few years. PPA has been there all the way through, speaking out for the issues most important to the industry. In the next year or two, we hope to see legislation from this committee on issues vital to photography businesses, such as those outlined above. When, exactly? No one knows - which is the reason to prepare now.

If and when any copyright legislation moves from the Committee to the House floor, PPA will call on you! We will ask each and every PPA member to contact their representatives so that our voice truly is 29,000 photographers strong. Timing is essential - so it is extremely important to time this right. But when the day comes (hopefully soon!), PPA members will be educated and prepared to fight for your rights. Do your part now by taking full advantage of PPA's educational opportunities - Be More Protected!

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator. She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for  professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.

by Lindsey Forson

There is a lot of information floating around right now regarding new FAA regulations for drone or UAS use. We want to clear a few things up for you and give you some helpful tips!

The new regulations released this week from the FAA require the registration of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of Monday, the FAA launched a very simple online registration process for hobbyist users of small UAS. There is a paper application currently available for commercial users, but it is important to note that commercial use is still only currently permitted for professional photographers who have been granted a Section 333 exemption and are licensed pilots or have exempt licensed pilots operating the UAS.

We expect the FAA to finalize new regulations for business-related use of small UAS during the first half of 2016. The FAA has also said that the online UAS registration system will be expanded to include business-related use by the spring of 2016. If you are using UAS for hobbyist or recreational purposes while awaiting new regulations for business use, be sure to register your UAS with the FAA as soon as possible. Please see our recent coverage (link to last blog post) for more information on the most recent regulatory change.

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to register your UAS after the jump:

Call a Doctor Plus, the latest membership benefit from PPA, can save photographers both time and money when they're not feeling well or have health questions. For a modest monthly fee, PPA members can simply pick up the phone or log on to a website to get answers, assistance, and even prescriptions.

Call a Doctor Plus is a health and wellness telemedicine program that provides patients with effective, immediate access to medical goods and services. There are no copays, deductibles or per-call charges. Photographers who are members of PPA get service for an exclusive low monthly subscription.

Call a Doctor Plus provides 24/7 access to U.S. certified physicians who can diagnose and prescribe over the phone or through an online chat. Prescriptions are sent directly to the patient's local pharmacy, and records are sent to their primary physician. The benefit covers up to five dependents at no extra cost.

One member who's already used the service gives it a thumbs-up. "I requested a consultation online and was called by a doctor within 5-10 minutes," she said. "After providing a brief description of my symptoms, I was diagnosed with an acute upper respiratory infection. The doctor sent a prescription to my local pharmacy, and I had the medicine in hand less than an hour after I called."

Read more about the service at



Have you been burned by a bad review of your services online? Surely it stings when it happens, and you want to do what you can to remedy them. But there is a two-step scam going around right now, first threatening photographers with cyber bullying through bad mouthing online reviews, and then (step 2) offering to help you with your online reputation and solve the newly posted bad reviews... when the scammers are actually the ones posting them!

The situation is spreading rapidly so be on the lookout. In a nutshell, don't panic--delete, flag and report the scammers. Baltimore photographer Kat Forder posted a perfect explanation on her blog (which was also picked up by Peta Pixel), along with some great suggestions on what you can do to protect yourself. Her suggestions on how to protect yourself are below, but the full read is highly recommended!


    • Don't respond to the emails!
    • Set up a Google Alert for your business name
    • Watch your business on a few different review sites and attempt to respond to the false reviews with a link to this post to educate potential readers, or by submitting "proof" to the review website
    • Contact the Federal Trade Commission: via its toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or the FTC online complaint form
    • Contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Fraud Complaint Center
    • Non-emergency number for your local police department to make them aware of the fraud (larger cities will have a cyber-crimes task force or department)

Again, Kat's full blog is worth a read to get a firm handle on the situation. Spread the word to your fellow photographers and make sure you don't fall victim to a scam like this! PPA's pushing the information out everywhere possible, including through paid alerts... but help us spread the word by sharing this #ScamAlert against #CyberBullying and #BadReviews. Thank you!


John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers.

As a professional in the photographic industry, you've probably heard about Adobe's switch over to the Creative Cloud. Unfortunately, due to these changes, Adobe has decided to discontinue all discounts. But we're not going to leave you hanging! Here are a few suggested options to keep your business costs low: 

If you currently use a version of Adobe Creative Suite (CS3 or later) and want to make the switch to Creative Cloud, you stand to save quite a bit of money! Get the latest software and save 40% with the offer below.

$29.99 Creative Could Complete Membership

If you are an existing Adobe customer, you may join Creative Cloud for US $29.99 per month for your first year of Creative Cloud complete membership, a 40% savings. This discount is currently available until December 3. Learn more at

Don't need access to the entire Creative Cloud collection, but want access to Photoshop? There's a solution for you too! 

Photoshop Photography Program

Existing Photoshop customers may join a special Creative Cloud plan designed exclusively for Photoshop customers who are focused on photography. It includes access to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, plus feature updates and upgrades as they are available, 20 GB of cloud storage for file sharing and collaboration, and a Behance ProSite. And it's US $9.99/month when customers sign up for a one-year plan. This is not an introductory price, but customers must join by December 31, 2013. To qualify, customers must own Photoshop CS3 or later (Standard or Extended version).

If you need more information on the switch, read Adobe's FAQ here and get all the latest with Adobe's Creative Cloud Team Blog. And if you're ready to make the switch, sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud here.

Don't forget to check out all of the Year-Round Discounts PPA is proud to continue to offer. As always, we'll be the first to let you know if there's something new!


Are you ready to compete in PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC)? Don't wait too much longer because the entry deadline is April 27!

Entering IPC is easy--just click here for rules, entry forms and tutorials:

A few things to remember:

  • The entry deadline is April 27, and the entry fee is $95. The late entry fee for submissions between April 28 and May 10 will be $155.
  • Both digital images and prints are accepted. Get more details in this week's Vital Signs email.
  • Be sure to choose your Grand Imaging Awards (GIA) entry category when you register. Last year's GIA winners were recognized at the Grand Imaging Awards celebration at Imaging USA and earned trophies and cash prizes!
  • Earn Exhibition Merits for your winning images and start your path to earning a PPA degree. If your image received a Seal of Approval at your District Competition, you must enter it into the IPC to earn your PPA merit.

Enter and continue your journey toward image excellence. Rules, entry forms and tutorials can all be found here:

Congratulations to all of you for taking the time to get involved and help pass H.R. 4! Making your voices heard in the halls of the U.S. House of Representatives helped ensure the bill reached the outcome we desired: passage.

The vote was 314-112 with only six members not voting on this important measure. To see how your representative voted, go here:

Our work to ensure the repeal becomes law doesn't stop here--it continues in the U.S. Senate. We are delighted to report that this bill has already been placed on their calendar for a vote. Once PPA learns the timing of how the Senate will consider H.R. 4, we will let you know what steps you can take to achieve another victory on this key piece of legislation. If you're ready to contact your senator now, visit the Contact Congress page.

Again, thank you for your hard work...and congratulations on making a difference in the outcome of this vote!

UPDATE: As you can see, this legislation is moving rapidly! In fact, the U.S. House just voted at 3:00pm to take up debate on H.R. 4 and added some substitute text (H.R. 705), so we wanted to pass it along. They are moments away from a decision, so weigh in and get your voice heard now!

Please use the links below to review the bills and the newly proposed substitute text (H.R. 705):

Write, e-mail or call your member of Congress today, and tell them to vote "yes" on H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act.

The passage of H.R. 4 will overturn section 9006 of the new health care law that mandates small-business owners to file a 1099 form for every business-to-business transaction over $600 a year. Reversing this reporting requirement will relieve a huge paperwork burden for small-business photographers!

Remember, this new reporting requirement has nothing to do with improving health care. It simply forces photographers, like you, to spend more time on regulatory compliance rather than running a business. (To read more about the importance of eliminating this tax provision click here.)

The U.S. House is voting on Thursday, March 3, so send your message soon! Visit the Contact Congress page to act now.

Get the 1099 Reporting Requirement Repealed

Don't forget: professional photographers have another chance to fight the existing 1099 reporting requirement. We need you to make your voices heard by contacting your congressperson today to bring H.R. 5141 - the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act out of committee.

Rep. Dan Lundgren's (R-3rd -CA) bill, H.R. 5141, fully repeals Section 9006 of the new health care law that mandates small-business owners to file a 1099 form for every business-to-business transaction over $600 a year. This new reporting requirement will wreak havoc on small businesses (like photography studios) by drastically increasing their paperwork burden.

This new reporting requirement has nothing to do with improving health is just another way to raise government revenue on the backs of small-business owners, while forcing them to spend more time on regulatory compliance than on running their businesses.

On Tuesday, September 14th, the Senate voted not to include a repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement in their version of H.R. 5297 - Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. With the Senate's passage of the bill, the House now has an opportunity to make sure a repeal provision is included!

We need 218 members of Congress to sign on to the discharge petition. Contact your congressperson today and urge him/her to sign the petition, so Congress can vote to stop this new paperwork tidal wave. Visit the Contact Congress page now to call, write or e-mail.

In addition to representing members on copyright issues, PPA is a strong advocate on small business issues, primarily relating to health care. Through the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare, PPA advocates health care solutions that meet the needs of small business owners, employees, the self-employed and their families. In previous congressional sessions, PPA has supported various health reform bills, in particular those that would provide trade associations the ability to create insurance pools on behalf of its members

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Member Alert category.

PPA Council is the previous category.

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