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UPDATING: PPA Advocacy Efforts in Washington, Get the Latest - PPA Today

UPDATING: PPA Advocacy Efforts in Washington, Get the Latest


PPA is back in Washington advocating for photographers! CEO David Trust, Director of Member Value and Experience, Kristen Hartman and Copyright and Government Affairs Coordinator, Lindsey Forson, are there meeting with staffers and congressmen and women before they attend tomorrow's House Judiciary Committee Hearing.

Look for updates here on this post they report back! 

Update #1: Tuesday, April 28, 3:48pm

This afternoon, we met with Linda Shim, staffer of California Congresswoman Judy Chu's office. Congresswoman Chu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Creative Rights Caucus. The meeting was productive as we talked about projects we can work on together to spread the word on the Hill about copyright from a small business perspective. 

We also met with Austin Smithson of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert's (also on the House Judiciary Committee) office and talked about the copyright registration process itself. We showed him how this cannot be a one-size-fits-all process, which he was very receptive to. There are many different business models represented among copyright owners and the current approach is not working for everyone. 

We are looking forward to two more meetings today before attending the House Judiciary Committee Hearing tomorrow morning where the actual U.S. Copyright Office will present "The Register's Perspective on Copyright Review." We will have three additional meetings after the hearing.


Update #2: Tuesday, April 28, 8:18pm


This afternoon we met with Jason Everett, a chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. We had an excellent conversation with him about progress that needs to be made in terms of copyright law and enforcement. We discussed the need for a small claims option (rather than federal court) for copyright cases and the need for a copyright registration process that works for photographers. He is open to working with PPA to help create and advocate for new copyright legislation more appropriate for the modern age. 


The last meeting of the day was with Congresswoman Mimi Walters of California. She sits on the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Aviation. Congresswoman Walters seemed to agree with us that commercial drone photography needs to be an option for professional photographers. Further, she sided with our stance that current regulations are stifling and the FAA should pass a final rule on new regulations as soon as possible. The Congresswoman was very receptive to PPA's copyright message as well and even requested to hear more about our advocacy for a small claims process in hopes to work with us toward a bill that addresses this. 

Update #3: Wednesday, 12:51pm


This morning, we attended an Intellectual Property Caucus panel discussion hosted by the Global Intellectual Property Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The panel presenters were Michelle Lee, Director of the Patent & Trademark Office; Daniel Marti, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement coordinator; and other administration officials who discussed the important role of Intellectual Property in the U.S. economy. New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and North Carolina Congressman George Holding, the co-chairs of the Intellectual Property caucus, also spoke. 


Daniel Marti with IPEC and DTrust 2.JPG

PPA CEO David Trust chats with Director of the Patent & Trademark Office; Daniel Marti

Congressman Conyers starts the hearing.JPG

The Judiciary Hearing begins

We then attended the Hearing of the House Judiciary Committee where Maria Pallante, the Register of the U.S. Copyright Office, gave testimony of her perspective on copyright review. Pallante urged the Committee to restructure the Copyright Office to allow for a more effective and efficient environment. We were happy to hear her present legislative priorities that would level the playing field for smaller copyright owners such as photographers. She pointed out that Intellectual Property in America is responsible for 40 million jobs and 5 trillion dollars of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product). 


She urged the committee to make legislative changes which would allow all copyright owners the ability to enforce the copyright saying, "Exclusive rights would be hollow without remedies." Pallante prioritized the need for a small claims enforcement process. During this visit to D.C., we're also urging all the committee members we're meeting with to put a priority on passing the implementation of a small claims process for copyright owners to address infringements. 

PPA has three more meetings this afternoon with staffers of house judiciary committee members. 

Update #4: Wednesday, 4:22pm


After the hearing this afternoon, we met with staffers of three Judiciary Committee members.  


We first talked with Kirsten Donaldson who works with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. He is a strong advocate on the Hill for copyright owners and gets the cause PPA is trying to defend for photographers. Ms. Donaldson spoke at length about her desire to work with other committee staff members to get something moving on a small claims process for copyright enforcement. This is very encouraging.


After that, we met with Anna Leieritz from Michigan Congressman Dave Trott's office, then Ritika Rodrigues, from Colorado Congressman Ken Buck's staff. Both of these Congressmen are in their first term. Since they both serve on the Judiciary Committee, it was important for our mission that they understood about who PPA is and what issues are important to us and why professional photographers' copyright matter so much. As with all the committee members we met with, we stressed the importance of introducing a small claims process. We got them to see and understand copyright from a small business perspective and advocated for copyright legislation. We also urged them to look at an administrative environment that meets the needs of smaller copyright owners such as photographers and other visual artists. A lot of talking and eye opening conversations with these Congressmen and their staff to further our cause!

Why do these meetings matter? Because if (when!) a new copyright legislation comes out; it will come from the Judiciary Committee. This is why the photographer's voice needs to be heard and why PPA is advocating and lobbying in DC month after month to make photographers voices and interests heard.

A full recap will be posted later on with more detail on the meetings and outcomes of this visit.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on April 28, 2015 10:31 PM.

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PPA Photographers' Infringement Stories is the next entry in this blog.

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