July 18, 2019
Your fight for copyrights has been taken to Capitol Hill this week, as PPA and many other creators’ organizations meet with the legislature and the CASE Act is having a mark-up by the Senate! Support for The CASE Act is pouring in from people like Anne Geddes, who is there with PPA board member Kira Derryberry and a group of others to speak to discuss copyright small-claims with the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of the mark-up of the bill.
The CASE Act now has 53 co-sponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate, making it a real force to be reckoned with!
The Senate bill mark-up is TODAY so keep sending your letters of support in at www.ppa.com/smallclaims
Here’s a quick summary of yesterday’s events straight from our Government Affairs Manager, Victoria Person:
- We were split into three groups of about 15 people to cover all of the meetings that we had today in the House and the Senate.
- The groups consisted of creators and other representatives of PPA, the Copyright Alliance, American Continental Group (a lobbying firm that represents some of the participating organizations), National Press Photographers Association, Graphic Artists Guild, American Society of Media Photographers, American Bar Association – Intellectual Property Section, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Authors Guild, Songwriters Guild of America, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Recording Academy, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
- Each group had about 5 meetings. Most seemed to be impactful and the offices seemed to be receptive of the information. In my group, two of the offices we met with today mentioned that they had received an overwhelming number of grassroots emails and had recognized the editorial cartoons that we have been sending to staffers over the last few weeks. One staffer stated that he had been receiving a lot of emails from photographers and upon seeing my business card he recognized PPA immediately and said that he had received so many emails from us that he couldn’t ignore the CASE Act! The same staffer told us that his boss had signed on to the bill before we came to meet. Since we found out about the new co-sponsor as we were in the middle of giving our experiences and trying to persuade his office to support, it was a pleasant surprise.
- Most of the meetings were with staffers although a couple of groups had meetings with the Representative or Senator themselves.
- We also got a new Senate co-sponsor today!
- There were some other Senators whose offices said that they would likely vote for the bill, they just wouldn’t co-sponsor for whatever reason.
- At 5 pm we had the discussion that featured Anne Geddes, Kira Derryberry, Mark Dickson, Rick Carnes, Douglas Preston, and Laura Pederson. There was a good turnout. Each of the panelists talked about their experience with infringement and what the CASE Act would mean for them as creators. Mark Dickson was there on behalf of the ABA, so he provided a legal perspective on the bill. Once the discussion was over, everyone felt that today had been positive and that we were headed in the right direction, especially since there were no amendments to the bill filed ahead of the mark-up.
- Around almost 9 o’clock tonight, we found out that there was a Senator who a group met with earlier today who decided that he would not be in support of the bill. We also were concerned that he/his office would reach out to a couple of other senators who had been on the fence and try to sway them to the other side. Our groups pulled together some last-minute grassroots efforts to try and get our members to do a last-minute push to help convince the Senator to change his mind. We’ll see whether that had an impact at the mark-up tomorrow.
In our first two meetings, my group focused on giving the staffers more information about the CASE Act. In the first meeting, there was myself representing PPA, the Copyright Alliance, Graphic Artists Guild, ASMP, ACG (representing songwriters and authors).
In the third meeting, we were surprised to learn that the office we had met with recently decided to cosponsor - Nydia Velazquez. This is important because she is the chairwoman of the committee on small business.
This is really exciting news coming in from D.C.! Stay tuned for an update on the mark-up of the CASE Act by the Senate.