PPA Today: Copyright Archives
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But that doesn't mean it's not important to know what's going on. Will a legal decision affect your business? Is there a law being debated that will help or hinder your copyrights? As the only professional photographic association with a full-time Copyright & Government Affairs staff that maintains a regular presence on Capitol Hill, PPA has dedicated itself to protecting and defending your intellectual property and livelihood. We can help you focus your attention where needed.
Here is a quick look at some important issues you should be watching.
We were disappointed by some of the heavy-handed tactics used by opponents of the bills. The objective of those tactics was obviously to create fear and hysteria, while at the same time spreading false information about what the bills would actually accomplish. We want you to know the following:
- Both pieces of legislation (SOPA in the Senate and PIPA in the House) targeted off-shore pirating of works produced in the U.S.
- We do not feel that the measures were perfect--no legislation is. But the greater good demands that measures be taken to protect the rights of creators like you.
- It is true that those mega-corporations opposed to the bill could possibly have been inconvenienced by the legislation. It is their job to make money, and their actions merely represented those purposes.
- It is not true that the public would have been deprived of works to which it has rights, but rather, only those works that are copyrighted and being sold illegally by rogue off-shore websites.
Since 2006, PPA has been advocating for an alternative dispute resolution system like this in an effort to help photographers better defend their copyrights. We have recently submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office, highlighting the benefits of such a system over the existing federal court process...which requires federal registration of an image, a lengthy trial in the federal courts, and the possibility of a copyright owner walking away with only a meager amount of damages.
Read the full article here.
"PPA is pleased to see a number of its advocacy priorities now become top priorities by the copyright rulemaking body," says David Trust, PPA's chief executive officer. "We look forward to working with the Register over the next few months to ensure photographers' voices continue to be heard as proposals and proposed rule changes are released."
Read more here.
One of the three PPA members featured in conjunction with this event was renowned wedding photographer Denis Reggie, who represented the association during a panel discussion. Reggie shared not only the craftsmanship and expertise required to be a professional photographer, but also how copyright laws impact his own approach to photography and clients:
"Copyright is the backbone of the creative industries in America--it is our lifeblood. We as a people, as a society, would be far poorer were it not for the copyright protections that encourage creators to do what they do best. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to capture moments in time that will eventually define our world. Copyright law gives me the ability to invest myself in creating the very best image possible; therefore, it is important to all of us, whether we are creating an image or viewing it."
The event was the first of many Capitol Hill briefings focusing on photography and the copyright community at large--an effort by PPA and the Copyright Alliance to educate legislators on the importance of maintaining strong copyright laws.
Read more here.
"As artists in every creative field are all too aware, digital theft of their work is a threat to their livelihoods," says Copyright Alliance Executive Director Sandra Aistars. "Websites trafficking in unlicensed, infringing content divert customers from legitimate online outlets, robbing creators of both incomes. Also frustrating is that chasing down all this illegal activity detracts from the ability to devote time and energy toward their work." Read more here.
- S. 986 - The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (The PROTECT IP Act)
- S. 978 - a bill that increases the criminal penalties associated with online copyright infringement.
"Photographers are all too familiar with digital theft," notes David Trust, PPA's chief executive officer. "Even if a client isn't misusing the image files, the mere presence of an image online increases the odds that someone can find it and steal it. While not a 'cure-all,' these new Senate bills strengthen the enforcement side of the law, creating much-needed deterrents to keep infringing hands off your work." Read more here.
A few days ago, PPA asked if (and why) you registered your images with the U.S. Copyright Office, so we could share your thoughts with those on Capitol Hill. Here is what we found from the 2,830 photographers who responded (March 24-28):
How often do you register your work with the Copyright Office?
- 2,392 (84%) of respondents said they NEVER register their work.
- 41 (1%) of respondents said they ALWAYS register.
- 324 (11%) of respondents said they OCCASIONALLY register.
Of those who always register their images:
- 210 (38%) want the additional protection offered by copyright registration.
- 111 (20%) wanted to establish their copyright ownership.
- 16 (2%) specifically registered to pursue an infringement suit.
Of those who choose not to register their work or register on a regular basis:
- 651 (25%) of respondents said they never heard about registration.
- 636 (24%) of respondents said it is too time consuming.
- 355 (13%) of respondents said it is too expensive.
These results were presented during a discussion about photographic copyright protection with Maria Pallante, Acting Register of the Copyright Office, on March 28. To read more about this meeting, check out "PPA Heads to Capitol Hill March 28-29."
Your timely response is appreciated. This poll will close on Monday, March 28 at 12pm ET.