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PPA Today: Copyright: October 2017 Archives

Copyright: October 2017 Archives

By Sidra Safri 
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Recently the Copyright Office has had many rule proposals. These are done in an effort to make the office more efficient and bring clarity to the registration process. The most recent rule proposal deals with "unpublished collections". 

The proposed rule would require all registrants to submit an electronic application and upload all images instead of mailing them in. This process would allow the Copyright office to quickly review applications and determine if the images are copyrightable. 

This is a great first step in attempting to cut down the time it takes for a registrant to receive their certificate of copyright; however, this does not address the bigger problem.  Many creators are still struggling in determining when something is considered published or unpublished. When the requirement was first created it was easy to separate the two. If the image was printed then it was considered published. However, in the digital media age, this becomes extremely difficult since we are constantly sharing on social media, submitting galleries etc. 

Many of these rule changes are a step in the right direction, but sadly we still have a long way to go to ensure that the copyright office is fully able to work for the creators it was meant to protect. 

Stay up-to-date on copyright and the fight for artists' rights at and JOIN THE FIGHT at!

by Sidra Safri

PPA's second day on Capitol Hill has come to an end. This was our first trip up to D.C since the introduction of the small-claims bill, H.R 3945; it couldn't have gone any better. 

During the second half of the day we met with Representative Ted Lieu's office (D-CA). This was our opportunity to thank him for co-signing on to H.R 3945! Representative Lieu's office assured us that they would continue to support small creators and small claims as long as they can. 

Representative Lieu's office highlighted the importance to push for more co-sponsors. We sincerely thank Representative Lieu for supporting photographers and will continue to work with them to rally additional co-sponsors and provide any support we can. 

After Representative Lieu's office, we visited Representative Pramila Jayapal's (D-WA) office. We have met with Representative Jayapal's office a few times before, but felt it was important to visit again. During this opportunity, we updated the office on H.R. 3945, and highlighted once again why a copyright small claims bill is so important. We were happy to hear that her office is actively tracking the bill and is versed in the area of small claims. We hope with additional research and additional meetings we will be able to add Representative Jayapal to the list of co-sponsors. 

This wraps up our second day in D.C we are headed to the airport back to Atlanta. One sure thing that came from this trip... we need to send letters and get small claims on the radars of all representatives! So keep sending your letters and making your calls at!

Greetings from Washington D.C.! 

We started the day with two great meetings! Our first meeting was with Karen Bass's office(CA-D). It's been some time since we met with her office and wanted to take the time to bring them up to speed and see how much they knew about H.R. 3945. We were extremely happy to touch base and appreciate how supportive Representative Bass is of small businesses. We are optimistic and we hope that Representative Bass will go on to support small claims. 

After Representative Bass, we met with Representative Martha Roby of Alabama (R). We first met with Roby when she was appointed to the IP subcommittee. This committee looks at intellectual-propriety-related bills, such as copyright, and makes the determination on if the bill will go further. Since H.R. 3945 was just introduced, the office is still getting familiar with it and will eventually make a determination on the bill. We hope Representative Roby will join us in supporting small claim and go on to co-sponsor the bill. 

We are off to lunch with the CEO of the Copyright Alliance to talk about small claims and then we've got more great meetings! 

Stay tuned and don't forget to send letters at

by Sidra Safri
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This was a great first day on Capitol Hill, with three very productive meetings!

We started our day in Representative Brad Schneider's office (D-IL).  We have met with his office before, but wanted to take the time to update them about H.R. 3924's (the small-claims bill) introduction and how important it would be for many photographers, not only in his state but also in his district. Representative Schneider was very open to the idea of Small Claims and wanted to take some time to look further into the bill. He's going to stay in contact with us. We hope that Representative Schneider will join us in supporting Small Claims and the fight for artists' rights! 

After meeting with Representative Schneider, we made our way to Representative Ted Poe's office (R-TX). During this meeting, we took the time to bring them up to speed on how H.R 3945 will be a great asset for many small businesses in his district, especially photographers. Representative Poe's office stated that he would love to see some movement in general on legislation that would help small-business owners and will continue to look into H.R 3945.  

After meeting with Representative Poe's office, we made our way to a small-claims ally, Georgia's Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). During this meeting, we took the time to thank Representative Collins for signing on to H.R. 3945 as a co-sponsor and always being on the front line, advocating for small creators and demanding artist's rights! His office also went on to say that it is more important than ever before to make sure we have members contacting their representative and sharing why Small Claims is so important to them! 

PPA is very happy with the meetings today and we look forward to even more productive meetings tomorrow, when we are meeting with Representatives from California, Alabama, and Washington, to not only thank them but also encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors. 

In the meantime, continue to contact your representative! Send letters, make phone calls, and share with everyone you know! Visit and demand artists' rights!

by Sidra Safri

After the long-awaited introduction of H.R 3945 (the Small-Claims Bill!), PPA is ready to hit the ground running and get it passed through the House! Now we're heading back to Washington D.C. for another round of meetings about the fight for artists' rights.

During our trip to D.C this week we are going to take the opportunity to thank some of our co-sponsors for supporting the Small-Claims bill and express how much it means to photographers. We will also take this opportunity to touch base on what else we can do to help ensure H.R 3945 gets passed through the House as smoothly as possible with continued bi-partisan support.
We're going to be meeting with other potential co-sponsors as well, talking to them about Small Claims and the impact it has on photographers who are also small-business owners. Remember, we need as many co-sponsors as we can get. The more co-sponsors a bill has, the more likely it is to pass the House. 

Don't forget to keep contacting your Representative through letters and phone calls by visiting and demanding they join the fight for artists' rights!


By James Yates

This is the moment we have all been waiting for! 

Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) have introduced HR 3945, a small claims bill entitled Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Act of 2017, or "CASE".

This bill will enable photographers to pursue copyright infringement in a more cost effective and timely manner!

Many of you remember December 2016, when Representative Chu (D-CA) and Representative Smith (R-TX) introduced the Fairness for America's Small Creators Act, or FASCA. Instead of proceeding with that bill, Representatives Chu and Smith have both agreed to sign on as co-sponsors to CASE. 

Both understand the importance and need for a Copyright Small Claims process and thought it was best to sign on, and push one bill. Additionally, Vice Chair Doug Collins (R-GA) has also agreed to co-sponsor CASE, highlighting how important it is to for creative artists to have a remedy to protect their copyright.

The CASE Act of 2017 features the following policy:

  1. The claim must be brought within 3 years of the infringement.
  2. There will be a small fee associated with filing a claim. This is to be determined.
  3. The claim will be heard by a tribunal that consists of two copyright attorneys and one copyright arbitrator.
  4. Before filing a claim, the copyright owner must provide the tribunal with a completed registration application filed with the Copyright Office or a certificate of registration.
  5. Bring a copyright infringement claim valued at up to $30,000:
    • If the work was registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $15,000.
    • If the work was not registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $7,500.
  6. The photographer will not need an attorney, since, similar to other small claims processes, this is a self-represent system, allowing you to bring a claim without a large financial investment.
  7. You can hire an attorney but you will pay for your own attorney fees.
  8. No need to travel for hearings or proceedings. Everything will be done online through video communication channels such as Skype.
  9. Partaking in the Copyright Small Claims process is voluntary.
    • If the infringer decides to opt-out, you still have the option to bring a claim in Federal Court.
  10. A final decision will be not handed down by the tribunal until a final registration certificate has been issued by the Copyright Office.
    • The decision will be held until the registration certificate has been issued.

The introduction of this bill is huge! CASE is the culmination of decades of hard work by PPA, lawmakers, the previous Register of copyright, and the entire visual artist community, to create a process that handles copyright infringement in a new way. This bill handles copyright in a manner that acknowledges the social media era is a different world in terms of sharing other people's work. The CASE bill and the small claims process that it creates will make it so much easier to protect your work and recover damages if your work is infringed upon.

It is time for all of us to support CASE and get our representatives to sign on as co-sponsors. The more co-sponsors the bill has, the better chances it has of making it to the floor for an actual vote. We've done this before with FASCA, which passed the House with overwhelming, bi-partisan support (378-48)! We can do this again!


The small-claims copyright bill we've been waiting for has dropped! Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of NY and Rep. Tom Marino of PA have introduced the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Act and, once passed, it could save photographers thousands of dollars. 

Professional Photographer magazine has an update, including a handy video for you to share. In it, you'll learn WHY "small claims" is such an important issue. You can even contact your Congressperson right from the page and ask them to co-sponsor in less than a minute!


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Copyright category from October 2017.

Copyright: September 2017 is the previous archive.

Copyright: November 2017 is the next archive.

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