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Creative Rights Caucus Update - PPA Today

Creative Rights Caucus Update

... or when the U.S. Copyright System Received Grades of Ds and Fs

By Lindsey Forson

To get a quick background on why we were in Washington, DC for this event, get the background info in this blog post.

The briefing was a huge success! Over 100 people were in attendance, most of who are on the staffs of key members of Congress. Our panel of five distinguished visual artists, Denis Reggie, John Schmelzer, Lisa Shaftel, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, and Michael Grecco, spoke passionately about how copyright is at the core of their livelihoods and why copyright protection matters.

The primary message of the panel discussion was that although the copyright system in the United States may work for some creators such as the high value, low-volume creators like motion picture creators, it does not work at all for small business creators like visual artists in general and photographers in particular. When asked to grade the copyright system in America for how well it works for each of their specialties, the panelists gave either a D or an F! Some of the issues pointed out were loss of control of images on the Internet, a copyright registration system that does not work for the visual arts industries, and the fact that the only option for legal enforcement is in federal court which is simply not a feasible option for the vast majority of creators. Here is the handout that was given at the event that outlined our priorities. 

PPA CEO David Trust moderated the panel discussion. He asked our speakers to offer solutions to these issues. One solution presented by several panelists was a small claims process for copyright enforcement. 

"If we don't implement a small claims process for copyright enforcement, even if a perfect registration system is created, it will be irrelevant for small business creators for whom it's not feasible to sue in federal court," said Mary Fisk-Taylor who is co-owner of Hayes & Fisk Photography and a Member of the Board of Directors for PPA.

All of the panelists agreed that it is crucial to make improvements to the copyright registration process and to modernize the U.S. copyright office.

The audience was intrigued by the discussion and asked important questions to make sure that they had full understanding of the issues. Public misconception of copyright even extends to Capitol Hill. One question asked was, "What exactly is copyright? What does your copyright do for you?" This gave our panel the opportunity to educate the audience on the most fundamental aspect of this topic - what is copyright - which is truly not understood at all by too many.

After the event, much of the audience stuck around to speak personally with the panelists and representatives from American Society of Media Photographers, American Photographic Artists, Digital Media Licensing Association, Graphic Artists Guide,  North American Nature Photography Association, National Press Photographers Association and Picture Licensing Universal System. Given the packed house (we even had to bring in a few extra chairs!) and the high level of engagement during and after the panel discussion, we feel like our message reached many important people today!

PPA President, Michael Timmons, M.Photog., M.Artist, CR., CPP, F-ASP said "I do not think I have ever been prouder to be a member of PPA than I am today with this event happening in our nation's capital. Today is an awesome day for PPA, its members, and the creative community at large."

We are now continuing our efforts on the Hill with more meetings with members of the House Judiciary Committee and their staffs. Our group of visual artist associations are currently speaking with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and we'll then move on to additional meetings: Bobby Cornett from Congressman Trent Frank's office and then Chris Esparza of Congressman Jason Chaffetz's office where we will focus on the same priorities.

IMG_1687 thanking the co-chairs of the creative rights caucus Doug Collins and Judy Chu cropped.jpg
We also wanted to give a huge thanks to Congressman Doug Collins and Congresswoman Judy Chu, co-chairs of the Creative Rights Caucus, for working with us on the event and staying so diligent each day to protect creators rights. We could not have done all we did today without them. Here they are speaking at today's event. 

Lindsey Forson is PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Coordinator.  She works with members on a daily basis addressing copyright questions and works closely with our CEO to advocate for professional photographers on Capitol Hill and to keep members informed on the issues that affect their businesses. She's new to Atlanta and spends most of her free time exploring the city (restaurants, markets, parks); spends three nights a week playing soccer and is a huge Auburn fan.


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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on November 3, 2015 9:56 PM.

Updated See The Difference Videos Are Now Available! was the previous entry in this blog.

Images from the Creative Rights Caucus is the next entry in this blog.

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