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PPA is proud to announce a HUGE agreement the Nickles Group to help us out on Capitol Hill. This will put us front and center during the ongoing copyright discussion at the most critical time. Momentum is really building toward that Next Great Copyright Act and we will now be more plugged in than ever. 

In fact, with the Nickles Group, we're now the only photography association with a full-time presence! This agreement is a really big deal and you need to know about it.

Here is the press release in its entirety:


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Professional Photographers of America (PPA) announced today it has reached an agreement with The Nickles Group, LLC, to represent PPA on Capitol Hill. The Nickles Group will help the association's lobbying efforts for photographers' copyrights.

Through the Nickles Group, one of the preeminent lobbying firms on the Hill, PPA will be at the center of the action on a daily basis. Using the Nickles Group's extensive network, PPA will make introductions, build relationships and arrange meetings with key players and also create opportunities to testify at Congressional hearings. The partnership looks to build upon the strong foundation PPA has established in Washington over the past 15 years.

Founded in 2005, the Nickles Group brings together an accomplished team of public policy advocates and experts to provide strategic advice, policy development and political navigation for clients seeking to engage in the federal legislative or executive process.

"We're pleased to join forces with the PPA to be an important advocate for the rights of photographers and other creators," said Don Nickles, chairman and CEO of The Nickles Group. "With copyright issues becoming more complex as Congress reviews the laws that govern rights, we look forward to partnering with PPA and impacting policy for the better."

Nickles, a Senator for the state of Oklahoma from 1981 to 2005 certainly knows his way around the Hill. In his tenure, Nickles built a legacy of advancing free enterprise causes, from natural gas deregulation and repeat of the windfall profits tax in the 1980s, to repeal of onerous ergonomics regulation and the fight against federalized healthcare during the Clinton Administration. He was the author of the Congressional Review Act and the Child Citizenship Act, and the principal sponsor of President Bush's economic growth package in 2003, which cut capital gains and corporate dividend taxes to 15 percent.

Thanks to this agreement PPA now has the ability to put its members front and center, a coup for PPA given the recent discussions on orphan works and the U.S. Copyright office's push for the Next Great Copyright Act. 

"This could not come at a better time for us," said David Trust, CEO of PPA. "We are entering one of the most critical eras in the history of copyright law. This relationship with the Nickles Group will ensure that PPA members, and photographers in general, will have an increased position in the copyright discussion on Capitol Hill."

The Nickles Group represents the likes of the Comcast, Eli Lilly and Company, Exxon Mobil and now PPA. The agreement makes PPA the only professional photography association with a full-time presence on Capitol Hill.

In addition to having the photography world's only copyright and government affairs department, PPA provides a wealth of resources for photographers online, including sample contracts and model releases. For more information, visit


Of course, as the Nickles Group reports back to us, we will forward the info on to you! Things are really cooking up there in Washington. BE MORE!


Yesterday, PPA's board of directors visited with key staffers and senators on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns on copyright protection. You can view yesterday's post on their visit to get caught up. 

Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's copyright and government affairs department is back with an update on what went down!


We talked, they listened!

On behalf of PPA members and professional photographers everywhere, an excited PPA board of directors spent their Tuesday in our nation's capita. They met with chief counsels, judiciary aides and senators and told their story. They explained the impact copyright theft can have on their business and families--as well as the potential economic impact for their state--and light bulbs went on.

The board asked staffers and senators to deliver this message to the senate: Copyright affects more than just big industry; it impacts mom-and-pop businesses in every corner of their state. Many of the offices we met with agreed that strong copyright laws are essential to ensuring a thriving creative community. They also admitted that most of their efforts on the intellectual property front as of late have been focused on patent and not copyright reform--something they will be looking to remedy!

This visit was great progress for the copyright debate. Next up: Keep lobbying to get the talk moving toward action on the senate!

The board had a great time in D.C. and shared their visit all over social media. Check out their posts below.

(Click the images to view the original posts.)


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PPA will continue to provide updates on the ongoing copyright movement. Things are getting really exciting!

Want a copyright update? You got it!

PPA's board of directors is back on Capitol Hill today to visit U.S. Senate offices. They're returning to drive home a message--that strong copyright laws are critical to the small business photographer.

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The board takes to the Hill during a very active period in the copyright reform efforts.  While there have been a number of recent roundtables hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office and regular copyright themed hearings held by the House of Representatives, activity on the copyright front has been relatively quiet on the Senate side.

But no longer! Each board member will meet with at least one of their home state's senators and offer firsthand insight on what it means to be a professional photographer in today's world. Hopefully hearing about the importance of strong copyright laws directly from working photographers that are among their constituency will urge these senators to champion the cause within the Senate. And from there... some new legislation!

And don't forget, while the board is on the hill advocating for your copyrights, you can take action too! Sign up to participate in Copyright Awareness Month and spread the word.

Look for a recap from the board's visit to Capitol Hill soon!




3/17/14 UPDATE

Maria Matthews was a last-minute replacement for David Trust and spoke on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday. She's back with a report on what went down! And boy, it sounds like organizations on every side of the debate are as passionate as ever! Get caught up and read her latest update at the bottom!

By: Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs department

On March 10-11, the debate over "orphan works" will remerge during the ongoing copyright review process. PPA's CEO David Trust is heading to Capitol Hill to make sure photographers have a seat at the table.

"Orphan works" are loosely defined as copyright-protected material where the copyright owner is unknown or cannot be located. The vast majority of these "orphans" are photographs and other works of visual arts. How the public can make use of these "orphans" has been debated on Capitol Hill for almost a decade.

The purpose of the two-day roundtable, hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office, is to gather insight on potential legislative solutions and discuss orphan works in the context of new technology and mass digitization efforts.

PPA has been involved in the orphan works debate since the Copyright Office began its initial study of the issue in 2005. Over the years we have testified before Congress, worked closely with Copyright Office officials, key Congressional Leaders and their staff to ensure that photographers concerns were incorporated into any future law. 

The closest an orphan works bill came to being enacted was in 2009 when the "Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act" was passed by the Senate. The bill did not make it out of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over copyright matters, as it greatly differed from the legislative language they proposed. Since then there was little activity on this front until the issue was incorporated into the Register of Copyright's "Priorities and Special Projects" outline.

Stay tuned for an update on "orphan works" and related legislative activity following our return from Capitol Hill!

3/5/2014 UPDATE: 

We've got more details for you!

David Trust will sit on two panels at next week's Orphan Works Roundtable:

1. "The types of works subject to any orphan works legislation, including issues related specifically to photographs."

2. "Remedies and procedures regarding orphan works".

Trust will speak on behalf of professional photographers during a session on the treatment of "orphaned" photographs in any legislative language to be drafted. He will also address remedies and procedures relating to orphan works. 

Major stakeholders in the copyright review efforts who represent interests on both side of the orphan works debate will be present at the meeting. Fellow visual arts organizations and pro-copyright scholars from copyright-friendly organizations like the PLUS Coalition and university research centers will speak on behalf of creators. On the opposite side of the table are organizations that represent the interests of potential "orphan works" users, including museums, libraries and internet freedoms groups.

Due to the high demand from prospective participants, panelists were limited to two of nine possible sessions. PPA signed up for nearly all of them, but luckily wound up in two of our highest listed priorities. The Copyright Office will hold an open comment period at the conclusion of the second day to ensure all voices are heard.  

That's the latest! We'll provide a recap once we return. As always, PPA's got your back!

3/12/14 UPDATE:

There's plenty to talk about from a busy couple days on Capitol Hill! Here are some highlights:

In reframing the orphan works debate, the Copyright Office is considering giving photographs and other works of visual arts special treatment as they make their recommendations to Congress. This "special treatment" could exclude photographs from the types of works that can be considered "orphaned." This will help raise the bar for determining when a photograph is an "orphan."  

This has the potential to be great news for photographers. We appreciate the Copyright Office's recognition of the unique nature of photographs and photographers and agree that exempting photographs from orphan works legislation makes sense. This could facilitate progress toward meaningful legislation.

This new way of thinking stems from the fact that the very technologies that have helped advance the profession often separate photographers from their images. This refers specifically to when metadata and watermarks get stripped away (either intentionally or accidentally) as files are transferred, posted online or cropped for publication. 

If photographs are included in orphan works legislation, the language must be thorough and it cannot make compensation inaccessible, as we outlined in our written comments.

There has also been some progress to ensure that copyright owners whose works were designated "orphan works" are properly compensated when they come forward following its use. Early versions of orphan works bills included a great deal of protection for the would-be infringer, preventing the copyright owner from collecting any form of compensation. But there is now some movement in favor of language to protect copyright owners as well.

Many representatives from the user community have expressed interest in incorporating language that would allow copyright owners to receive reasonable compensation, set according to market value. Any legislation that does not protect the legitimate interests of the right holder by ensuring reasonable compensation for the use of their creative works denies them equal treatment as provided by law.

In fact, any quest for compensation has to be applied in conjunction with a small claims process that makes it feasible for copyright owners to assert and defend their rights.  Being able to pursue an infringement outside the federal court system will take into account the burden and expense of waging a federal lawsuit. This would ultimately prevent a photographer from collecting even the most modest amount of money.

The mass digitization of copyrighted works (like photographs) was also a major topic of discussion. Two arguments that were repeated throughout both days centered on a benefit to the "public good" and the need to "satisfy their mission." But if all creations are inherently free to use there's no incentive for creators to continue to create!

The Copyright Office concluded the sessions by inviting participants to submit parting thoughts during an open comment period. We will digest the ideas shared and provide additional feedback to ensure photographer's needs are well represented in the recommendations the Copyright Office offers to Congress.

The ultimate goal of this roundtable and any future "fact finding" sessions, roundtables, comment periods, etc. will be to issue an updated report on the state of orphaned works, including what aspects should be legislated and what aspects should be left to administrative rules making.

Of course, as the situation develops, we will keep you all posted!

Last week, Maria Matthews, PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs manager gave us an update from Capitol Hill.

Now, PPA received a shout out on the matter in The New York Times!

In "Photographers Band Together to Protect Work in Fair Use Cases," author Patricia Cohen outlines the Capitol Hill effort in detail and names a few of the major players, including PPA. Ms. Cohen gives great insight to photographer's battle against Fair Use, using  individual cases as examples.

She writes:

"Technological advances, shifting artistic values and dizzying spikes in art prices have turned the world of visual arts into a boxing ring for intellectual-property rights disputes. Photographers, in particular, are complaining not only that their work is being stolen by other artists, but also that their ability to create new work related to their originals is also being compromised."

The problem lies in the broadness of "Fair Use" itself.

"Fair use started out as an exception to copyright law," Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers, said. "Now it seems that copyright is the exception to fair use."

A more fine line must be drawn in the sand to determine what stands as work "inspired by" an original image and what counts as a violation of the photographer's copyrights. PPA remains a major voice to be heard on the matter, with exciting movement toward "the next great copyright law" underway. Look for another update on PPA's contributions to the copyright effort on Capitol Hill in mid-March!


Article originally appeared online at the New York Times, Feb. 21. Read the full article here.


By Maria Matthews, Manager of PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs department


While you kept your eyes squarely focused through your viewfinder, or honed in on the finer points of the next great image you're retouching, PPA's Government Affairs Team was walking and talking to key staffers on Capitol Hill.


On its February 3-4 visit, PPA's CEO David Trust spoke with some rather influential individuals on the copyright and health insurance fronts, including the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee. The Chief Counsel is the committee's point-person on this particular reform movement. He sets the hearing schedule, who gets to testify at each one, and the honor of receiving feedback from key stakeholders--like us.  


While offering our thoughts on the most recent hearings, we learned that there are many more to come between now and the end of the congressional session (likely late November or early-December). Copyright owners can anticipate many more hearings on just about every aspect of the current statute as the committee dissects the current laws in the hopes of drafting "the next great copyright law". As dates are set and milestones achieved, we'll be there to lend your voice and keep you in the know.


Also on the copyright itinerary this trip was a meeting with the Copyright Alliance. PPA is a founding member and longtime supporter of the Copyright Alliance, an industry coalition made up of associations that represent creators (like PPA!), and corporations that produce copyrighted content. The coalition helps to lend a larger voice to the copyright community. We are eager to work even closer with the Copyright Alliance this year, both as the copyright review unfolds and the alliance itself rolls out a number of programs to benefit all creators. Stay tuned for more on this front!


Our first visit of the year is always a good time to take the temperature of the healthcare climate on Capitol Hill. To help get a sense what might be in the pipeline for the small business photographer, we visited with the Small Business Coalition for Affordable Healthcare. We learned that much of this year's action will be on the regulatory front, this means IRS publications and white (or other colored) papers from key Department of Health and Human Services agencies. We are hopeful that there is still some momentum in both the House and Senate to address business owners' concerns with the Affordable Care Act.


To ensure we're keeping the pulse of the Hill, PPA will again find itself in Washington on March 10-11 for a copyright small claims court themed roundtable organized by the U.S. Copyright Office! 

An eight-year battle on behalf of creators has ended badly. Federal Circuit Court Judge Dennis Chin ruled last week that the mass digitization of library books "provides significant public benefits" and "advances the progress of the arts and sciences." This comes as a shock to the creative world, and apparently opens the flood gates on the mass digitization of creative works, with or without the creator's permission. 

"To be honest, it is just shocking to everyone involved in the protection of copyright," commented PPA's CEO David Trust. "Judge Chin's opinion is short-sighted. Creators cannot do what they do best--create--if they are not compensated for it. And when creators no longer create, the public suffers."

The suit:
The Author's Guild filed suit against Google in 2005 in response to The Google Book Project. The project, launched in 2004, was designed to create a digital collection of printed texts that would be searchable online. Google began sourcing books and other printed media from libraries and universities and later "partnered" with publishers. At no time were the individual authors consulted nor was their permission to make reproductions requested. This was the basis for the suit.

"We disagree with and are disappointed by the court's decision today," Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken said. "Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world's valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of fair use defense."

The Author's Guild plans to appeal.
In our recent "The Government Shutdown and You" blog post we discussed how the current government shutdown has affected copyright registration. Since we had copyright on our minds, we figured it was the perfect time to remind you of your PPA member copyright benefits. Remember, just because the copyright office is currently closed, that doesn't mean you can't still send in copyright registrations or that your copyrights are no longer valid!

A frustrating day for any photographer can be when you discover that someone is using one of your copyrighted images without your permission. Not only is it illegal--it also cuts into your bottom line! So what do you do if it happens to you? Luckily for PPA members, there's an easy solution: just call PPA's copyright and government affairs department at 800-786-6277 or by email at

Once you've contacted PPA, we'll help you determine the next steps to take to resolve your copyright infringement problem. If you wish to do so, you can also have us contact the infringer on your behalf as a way to get them to stop the practice or bring them to the negotiating table. 

Of course, we hope that you never run into a situation where someone has violated your copyright, which is why PPA provides a whole host of resources to help you protect your copyrights. 

Visit the copyright resources page to download the Copyright Kit, which will give you a great overview of the copyright process. You can also find copyright inserts you can include with your clients' orders to help keep them educated about copyright. Finally, there's also guides you can download to help you with electronic copyright registration as well as sample contracts for giving someone permission to reproduce one of your copyrighted images! 

Don't forget about the copyright webinars on the copyright resources page. They'll walk you through the basics of important copyright information you should be aware of. 

In addition to providing you with resources, PPA's RECON program checks on local retailers to make sure that they are obeying copyright law. If you're a PPA member, you can become part of this program! 

The Retail Compliance Network (RECON) is a dedicated group of photographer investigators who go undercover in an effort to preserve the integrity of photographers' copyrights. They embark on stealth missions to local retailers who offer photo finishing services or use online print services to see if they are complying with copyright law. If a retailer violates the laws, PPA approaches them with the results and urges them toward greater compliance. 

If you'd like to become a RECON investigator, you can download an application; just remember you need to be a PPA member. 

Along with all of these efforts, PPA members can also get a discount on services to add digital watermarks to your images. This is especially important for photographers that post copyrighted images to forums, websites, Facebook or other social media! The watermark lets everyone know who these images are copyrighted by and cuts down on illegal use.

So, access the copyright resources today and make sure all your images are properly copyrighted! These resources are just for PPA members, so join PPA today to have access to the resources as well as copyright assistance. 

Want to read more about protecting your images? Check out the "10 Ways for Photographers to Protect Their Copyright" post.
You know how we keep saying PPA has your back? Well we mean it. And our Copyright & Government Affairs department advocates for you members and professional photographers everywhere at the top--on Capitol Hill! Here is an update on what was learned from their latest visit, courtesy of Maria Matthews, department manager.

Copyright Talks Continue on Capitol Hill
Photographers and photography were at the center of a discussion by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on our most recent visit to Capitol Hill. Just before Congress broke for their August recess, talks focused on the courts, intellectual property and the internet. While not photography-centric, the copyright debate is at the center of the subcommittee's September agenda, with three additional copyright hearings on everything from satellite regulations (i.e. the laws that allow networks to continue to broadcast your favorite shows) to highly specialized hearings on role of voluntary agreements.

During this time, PPA met with the Register of Copyrights as well as key Congressional leaders to stress the importance of strong copyright laws, and the need for accessible enforcement tools in order to protect your livelihood. Our message was received positively by every office we encountered. While we are encouraged by the efforts both the Copyright Office and the Subcommittee are taking to examine copyright statute as it currently exists, we are keeping a watchful eye on the unfolding debate to ensure that photographers are not forgotten.  

Although the date has not yet been set, the Committee Chair has committed to hosting additional copyright-themed hearings prior to their December recess. In addition to the subcommittee's copyright-intensive schedule, we are also expecting the release of the Copyright Office's study on the Copyright Small Claims Process and possible improvements to the registration process.

National Park Service Releases Updated Rules & Fees
While Congress is plugging away at copyright, elsewhere on Capitol Hill the Department of the Interior (DOI) released updated "Special Use Permit" rules for still photography. The rules, which have been five years in the making, offer clarity on when a photographer would be required to seek a permit from a park superintendent prior to arriving for a session on park or other federal land. (Note: These rules also apply to areas managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.)

Thanks to these revisions, photographers now have the benefit of knowing the rules no matter which type of federal land they visit. While a basic set of requirements have been streamlined across these agencies, photographers will need to contact the specific property (or visit its website) to find out if there are certain seasonal restrictions (i.e. winter road closures or peak traffic periods) that might require additional clearance and/or fees.

The revised permit guidelines now say still photographers do not require a permit unless they're using a model, props, or if there are additional circumstances that require the use of park resources. For example, the location is off limits to the general public or resources to minimize the effect of the shoot on general visitors. This means that if you're entering the park and intend to stay "on the beaten path" chances are you won't need a permit and shouldn't be stopped and asked for one.

When it comes to models, props, and sets, DOI also provided photographer-friendly definitions to these once confusing terms. "Models" are no longer considered portrait subjects like members of a wedding party or high school graduates. "Props and Sets" are now specifically defined as "items constructed or place on agency lands" and extends to backdrops, lights and tracks. Tripods, something previously included in this list are no longer deemed a "prop" if they are not used with any other equipment.

While we expect many photographers will now be exempt from permits because of the new definition of "model," we continue to have great concerns over the newly proposed fee structure. The addition of a $250 monthly permit for 1-3 (including the photographer) should prove helpful to those who frequently use National Parks in small groups. However, photographers must still contend with any "locations fees" that are required by the individual park. Again these fees are calculated based on the specific agency resources you'll need to complete the assignment as well as any seasonal restrictions that might be in place.

We are keeping an eye out for any additional fee studies and opportunities to offer input on the rulemaking process on behalf of the photographic industry. Given the improvements to the law made to date, we are hopeful DOI will implement additional photographer friendly measures as they solidify the updated rules.

Healthcare Rates Released October 1
Although the website has been up and running for some time now, Oct. 1, 2013, will be the first time it will be 100% populated with the rate information for your state. 

Check to see if your state has established its very own "healthcare marketplace." Many states are even already allowing those who could potentially qualify to be insured to shop policies and determine whether they're eligible for coverage. Simply visit the "Get Insurance" tab at site and select your state to get started.

In addition to exploring your options October 1, you can also choose to purchase insurance. However, it is important to note that the policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014. During this initial implementation period, enrollment will extend through March 31, 2014. Even though the March 31, 2014, enrollment deadline has been set, there are certain special circumstances (i.e. marriage, relocation, birth of a child, etc.) that will allow you to modify your coverage or enroll for the very first time. 

If you need more information about what's to come or if you're curious how the new laws apply to you, we encourage you to watch the three part healthcare webinar series hosted by Ross Pallay, of Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., PPA's medical and dental insurance partner.

That's all for now! As soon as any new information regarding copyright becomes available we will be the first to let you know. We've said it before and we'll say it again--we've got your back!
Copiers, scanners, screenshots and printers...oh MY! These days it's all too easy for your clients to use the available technology to reproduce your work. It may feel like you're fighting a losing battle, but you're not alone. You're a member of PPA, and we are staunchly in your corner with all the copyright information you need to protect your images. We're here to educate, advocate and, if necessary, help you litigate.

What Can You Do?
Remember: Copyright is a property right. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 (effective January 1, 1978 and amended when the U.S. joined the Berne Convention in 1989), your photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation. 

You are the first line of defense in your copyright protection. We are here to support you, but we also encourage you to take some simple steps to strengthen your position. We asked Maria Mathews, Manager of Copyright and Government Affairs at PPA, to help explain 10 ways you can protect your copyright:

1. Mark your images as copyrighted
This can be done on the front or back of a print, and you can either watermark a digital image or embed your copyright in the metadata. While it is not required by law (your images are protected from the moment of creation), it is a wise step.

Even though it's no longer required by law, don't risk "orphaning" your images for the sake of aesthetics. One of the best copyright reminders to clients and retailers alike is seeing your name or studio logo.

2. Let people know how to contact you
PPA Members may use their Member ID number and PPA's number, 800-786-6277. We regularly help consumers find the creator of an image.

No matter how rooted your business is, making yourself as accessible as possible will always play in your favor when time comes for people to look for copyright permissions.

Make our Member Care Professionals (MCPs) part of your customer service team. Even if you think you'll never relocate, you can make sure clients or potential image users can always find you through PPA's call center or Find-A-Photographer search tool. Our MCPs regularly bring together copyright owners and prospective licensees.

3. Educate and inform your customers 
Your images are protected by Federal Copyright Law.

Bottom line, you're the only person who can decide who, when, and how your images are used. This means you have just as much of a right to say "no" to a client and third-party requests to use your copyrighted content as you do to license your work.

4. Use PPA's "Copyright Insert" 
You can download the Copyright Insert. These can be posted in your studio and inserted into each print order. (You can also call 800-786-6277 to purchase printed packs of 50 inserts.)

Let PPA bear some of the burden of enforcing/explaining copyright law. Use our short and easy to understand statement to support your studio's copyright policy.

5. Include a statement about copyright in your contract or other sales agreements
Infringements can then be dealt with as a contract violation, not just as a Federal Copyright case.

You never want to have to sue a client. Make sure they understand the law and their commitment to you as a client. This means putting a copyright clause in your agreements. It's often much easier for a client to understand they've broken a promise to you as opposed to a law they're somewhat removed from. If you need examples or a second pair of eyes on your clause, PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs will help you out at no cost (that's a PPA-membership benefit)! 

6. Consider including a statement with every order
The statement should remind clients that photographs are protected by copyright and that they (the customers) agree that reprints will only be ordered from the original photographer or with the photographer's permission.

If you don't put a copyright statement in your contract, you should at minimum put it on the order form or invoice. Depending on your state's laws this may not have the same weight as the actual contract but, it will indeed serve as a reminder to your client.
Again, one of the advantages of your membership is that PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs can help you with samples and basic advice there.

7. Establish contacts at local photo retailers
Visit with local store managers and urge them to keep an eye out for your and other professionally created images. They may get their feathers ruffled if they aren't well-informed about copyright laws, so approach them in a very friendly manner and open a casual, non-confrontational conversation. Often times, people just don't know. Plus, in the longer run, good relationships foster the best advocates!  

The Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau may also be helpful allies, and local media is often willing to print press releases focused on consumer education. Grassroots efforts such as these CAN make a difference. Your images are your property, so assert yourself and take the bull by the horns!

A lot of photographers have found that informing others is a great way to protect yourself!

Letting retailers know that they can easily pick up the phone to call you, or PPA, with questions is a good way to extend your sphere of protection. Make sure that store and/or photo center managers are familiar with your studio's policies. It's an important boost to their general understanding of the law and their own corporate policy. Most people will be thankful for this information.
8. Register your images
We hope you never experience an infringement but, why not give yourself a better bargaining position by ensuring your images are fully protected under the law.

Photographers often postpone or choose not to register images thinking they'll never need to defend their work, but less than 1% of photographers actually register their work. Even though registration isn't always known (unless of course you indicate as much on the print or to the client), making sure you can take full advantage of the law tells infringers (or potential infringers) you're serious about your intellectual property rights.

9. Don't close the door to licensing requests
In addition to offering up basic copyright education, remain open to your client's usage requests. Extending usage rights could be an upsell or an additional sale.

When it comes to your client's usage needs, copyright education is never ending. Make sure your clients know they can come back to you with their questions at any time. And even if you plan on saying "no," hear them out! Who knows? You might be open to the additional revenue that comes with image licensing.

10. Get Your Licenses/Permissions in writing
That old adage of putting it in writing. Aside from being the law it's good for your own record keeping purposes and a reminder to clients of what types of uses are off limits.

A lot of photographers think in good faith that 'verbal agreements are worth their weight in paper'. But while you might feel comfortable doing certain things on a handshake, copyright protections should not be one of them. The law requires you to put in writing any transfer of rights, no matter how big or small they might be. Remember, no one is above the law, so be sure you take the time to do so. PPA even makes it easy for you by making samples available.

So there you have it! Make sure you visit the Copyright Resources section of for more useful downloads and copyright information.

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