Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs department, is back with the latest happenings on Capitol Hill.
The House Judiciary Committee kicked off the New Year with not one, but two hearings addressing copyright matters.
The first tackled a wide range of copyright questions. These questions addressed how the law might be modernized to protect digital creations and the challenges small creators, like photographers, face when enforcing their rights.
A highlight of their discussion was digital file sharing. The conversation primarily centered on the distribution of music and movies through peer-to-peer services, which also affects photographers. Better enforcement and monitoring of these abuses could improve the copyright protection landscape for photographers.
The second hearing, to be held this week, will center on the question of "fair use," which as defined by the law is a set of circumstances (including criticism, news reporting and teaching) in which a photograph could be reproduced without the copyright owner's permission. Fair use is a claim that many content users look to hide behind as they incorporate copyrighted materials into their own works. Most recently the claim of fair use was used to justify the mass scanning of works through the .
And it's just the beginning! These are among the first of many discussions as the Judiciary Committee prepares to draft legislation that will modernize copyright law. As the copyright debate on the Hill unfolds, PPA will be there to make sure photographer's voices are heard.
In fact PPA's CEO, David Trust, will be on Capitol Hill on February 3-4 speaking to key legislative offices to ensure photographers' needs for greater accessibility to copyright enforcement tools, like a copyright small claims court, remain a central part of the review process.
We will update you all as soon as there is anything new to report!