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4:30pm We finished our last two meetings for the day. Right after lunch we met with Representative Lamar Smith's (TX) office. He was happy to hear from us about the progress of the Small Claims bill and is waiting as anxiously as we are for the bill to drop. He is looking forward to continuing working with PPA. His office understands that it is important to get the word out about small claims to ensure we can get all the support we need when it comes time for a vote. (Grassroots!) Hopefully, Representative Smith's office will be able to co-sponsor when the times comes.

Out last meeting for today was with Representative Steve Chabot's (OH) office. This was our first meeting with his office and they were very open to the idea of small claims. Like the other first-time meetings we've taken this week, it was important to lay out the foundation of small claims and history of how PPA began advocating for photographers' copyright protection. His office was very attentive and fully understood why small claims would be important. This was a very preliminary meeting and PPA hopes to be able to follow up with Chabot's office as we get closer to the bill being released.

We are headed to the airport for the return to Atlanta. This was a jam packed and extremely productive meeting. PPA is extremely happy with how how responsive everyone was and even more excited about the bill and upcoming meetings at Capitol Hill!

Be sure YOU'RE taking action and encouraging everyone you know to lend their name to and learning more about Small Claims at

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12:30pm We just left Representative Richmond's office (LA). He thoroughly enjoyed the update on the Small Claims bill and we discussed, and he understood, why photographers can't be treated the same as Hollywood artistic properties, with the relatively "low" value placed on works of photographic or visual art compared with motion pictures and music publishing. This is why a small claims option is so important! Richmond's office was very optimistic about the legislation in the long term, but acknowledges that it is important to keep the upcoming elections in mind. Richmond's office want on to say that "nothing is more bipartisan then small business owners" and he can see why small claims would be popular and a bipartisan issue. He hopes, upon reading the bills, they can co-sponsor and help bring copyright protection to photographers.

11:45am Just finished up our first two meetings of the day. Representative Bishop's office (MI) fully understands and embraces the importance of Small Claims Copyright legislation and the effect it could have on photographers. We brought Representative Chu's bill to their attention and they were extremely interested to read further when the bill is introduced. They will continue to do their own research and let us know what they think. We hope Representative Bishop will join us in this fight for small claims!

After leaving Representative Bishop's office we met with Representative DeSantis' office (FL). Representative DeSantis informed us of how important copyright modernization and small claims is to him and hopes that we can make some headway in that area soon, since we all need to have a deeper look into small claims. He is waiting to hear back about Representative Chu's bill and will hopefully be able to co- sponsor when the time comes.

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9:30am: We have another exciting day ahead at Capitol Hill. This morning we have three back-to-back meetings with House Representatives. 

We start off in Representative Mike Bishop's (MI) office. This will be our first meeting with this office and we hope we can show them how important the Small Claims Copyright legislation is and eventually get him to co-sign when the bill is introduced. 

After Bishops office we are going to Representative Ron DeSantis' (FL) office. This meeting is an update to discuss the progress we have made on the bill and the great support we have via our Grassroots team! Once we leave Representative DeSantis' office we are meeting with Representative Cedric Richmond's (LA) office. This is also a follow-up meeting and an opportunity to remind him of how important small claims is and hopefully convince him to co-sponsor soon!

We have a lot going on Capitol Hill today! Stayed tuned for more!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for capitolcollins.jpg6:00pm Our last meeting for the day was with Representative Doug Collins' (GA) Office. Collins' office is still looking into the Small Claims bill and understands the importance of providing an alternative remedy for copyright infringement. His office has close ties with both Representatives Jeffries and Chu and wants to ensure he is able to comb through both bills in order to have a better view of what the impact of small claims will be to copyright law. They plan to reach out to PPA once they have more information or insight.

This brings Day One at the Capitol to a close. We are extremely happy that we can continue to build upon our relationships with the members of the House and also create new relationships along the way. Tomorrow we have six meetings back to back, so stay tuned for even more updates!

4:30pm Just had two very productive meetings. Our first meeting was with Representative Gowdy's (SC) office. This was our first meeting with Gowdy, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. We explained the importance of the Small Claims Copyright bill and the effect it can have on professional photographers. Representative Gowdy's office was extremely interested and said they would look further into the Small Claims bill when it finally drops.

Our second meeting was with Representative Markwayne Mullins' (OK) office. Representative Mullins is a part of the Commerce Committee. This committee is important to the success of the Small Claims bill, since after leaving the House Judiciary, the bill will go to the Commerce Committee. Our meeting with Mullins' office allowed us to lay the foundation for success in this committee, as they were very open to the idea of small claims and said they would review further and let us know if they can co-sponsor. 

We hope both Representatives Mullins and Gowdy will provide their support and Co-Sponsor the Small Claims bill.  

We have one more meeting today with Representative Doug Collins from Georgia. 

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2:30pm It was great touching base with Representative Chu again. The Small Claims Copyright bill is going through some cleaning up and should be introduced to the House soon. There will be plenty of opportunities to ensure that photographers' rights are fully and clearly laid out. Representative Chu's office is just as excited as we are about this bill and wants to make sure photographers and other visual artists finally get to take advantage of the copyright system that was deemed so important by our founding fathers. We appreciate everything Representative Chu has done for us and look forward to working even closer with her. 
We are now heading into another meeting with Representative Trey Gowdy (SC). 

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10:00am: PPA is back on Capitol Hill again advocating for the introduction of a Small Claims Copyright Bill.  On this trip we plan to meet with Representative Judy Chu's (CA) office to get an update on the soon to be released small claims bill. After meeting with her office, we are also going to meet with other members of the House of Representatives to continue to discuss with them the importance of Small Claims. The next two days are jam-packed with meetings so stay tuned for updates!
by James Yates
Copyright in America is on a brink of change with the introduction of a Copyright Small Claims Process on Capitol Hill. Over 7,000 people already added their name to support these legislative changes. 

This week, PPA CEO David Trust participated in two different podcasts talking about the incoming Copyright Small Claims Process that is being introduced on Capitol Hill. The podcasts explain what this is about, how simple it is and the huge difference adding your name will make.

First up, Bill Ramsey of The PhotoTellers brings his skills as an interviewer to his talk with David, taking us into a deep dive addressing the Small Claims piece of legislation that's about to hit the floor and what YOU can do to help (it's easy and takes all of four seconds). 

Next, Rob Trawick and Jim Felder of FotoFacts cracked us up with their usual madcap energy as David Trust breaks down the history of Copyright Small Claims and exactly who can and should add their name to the Grassroots Action Team (here's a hint: EVERYBODY). 

Stream or download these two podcasts. Copyright law matters, because photographers' livelihoods depend on it. Our industry has never been this close to making a big leap forward. It's so easy and fast to add your name, you won't regret it!  

Take a listen, add your name to and...  SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with your friends and family, everyone you have ever met on social media, people at the grocery store, your mailman... anyone who believes in the rights of content creators. Thank you!

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James 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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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  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.! 

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).

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. 

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:

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

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.

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.

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!

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 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

(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.

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 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!

by Amanda Arnold

What? You thought copyright law protects you?

Not so much. Copyright law is great for the big creators--the motion pictures companies, rock stars--but it does precious little for high-volume creators like professional photographers, for whom each piece of work has a relatively low monetary value. Here's why: In order to battle an infringer, you have to take your case to federal court. Federal court is expensive--like $345,000 expensive for the average copyright case cost. In fact, you'd have a hard time getting an attorney to touch a copyright infringement case unless damages are likely to exceed $30,000 ... at a minimum.

The average copyright infringement against a photographer is valued at less than $3,000. That's a lot of money for a photographer, who on average makes $35,000 a year. And yet it's not near enough to take down an infringer.

Sound unfair? And illogical? It is. That's why the nation's largest nonprofit association of working photographers is bucking for change. And the time to act is now.

For more than 20 years, Professional Photographers of America has been active in getting copyright law reformed. One of PPA's priorities is seeing the creation of a small claims process for copyright so photographers can go after infringers. And finally--just this month--lawmakers are drafting legislation to put this copyright small claims process in place.

Exciting news? Yes! End of the journey? No! The bill won't make it from draft to legislation without co-sponsors--lots of them. And it won't get co-sponsors without the voices of tens of thousands--yes, tens of thousands--of photographers and other visual arts creators pleading for them to act ASAP. So here's what we need you to do:

Go to right now and sign up to receive updates on the bill. At some point in the near future you will receive a notification to begin contacting your local and state representatives about the bill. Don't worry--the Grassroots Action Team website will make this process very easy. You'll simply plug in your ZIP code to find the appropriate lawmakers in your area to contact, and then you'll shoot off an email directly from the website. Or make a few phone calls. Simple and effective.

Share PPA's "Understanding Small Claims" video. Not just once, not twice--up to 10 times on your social media feeds. Remember, tens of thousands of photographers' voices are needed in this initiatve, so this video needs to go viral to make that impact.  

Tune in to PPA's upcoming webinars on copyright. These webinars will get you up to speed on copyright reform and explain what actions you need to take to mobilize in support of a small claims process. Visit for an updated list of webinar topics and times. 
This could be the most significant copyright change in your lifetime. Be a part of it!

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.

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