Copyright law that works for you

August 2016 issue

Changes will protect photographers


PPA's Lindsey Forson and David Trust are frequent visitors to Capitol Hill as the orgnization advocates for more effective copyright protection for photogrpahers;.

After years working at the leading edge of copyright reform, PPA sees that U.S. copyright law is on the verge of change for the better. Legislation is being put forth in Washington, D.C., that will protect working photographers like never before. PPA is represented on Capitol Hill as it advocates for three actions related to copyright:

1. Creation of a small claims process for copyright enforcement. Right now copyright infringement can be battled in federal court only, and attorneys typically won’t take on a case unless potential damages exceed $30,000. But the average value of an infringement against a photographer is $3,000, which is far less than the cost of hiring legal representation (not to mention lost work hours, travel, etc.). A small claims process would provide photographers a feasible means for seeking infringement damages.

2. Modification to copyright registration. Registering photos with the U.S. Copyright Office is time-consuming for professional photographers, who may create thousands of images in a single weekend. Simple changes to visual arts registration could greatly increase image registration.

3. Granting the U.S. Copyright Office the resources and authority necessary to administer the law. The U.S. Copyright Office is in need of key modernization improvements so that it can implement change.

 “It is very promising that Congress is reviewing and beginning to address shortcomings in our nation’s copyright system,” says PPA CEO David Trust. “For more than 10 years, PPA has advocated for specific, key changes which will expand copyright protection to small business creators for the first time ever. The current congressional copyright review provides a greater opportunity to finally achieve our primary goal of a small claims enforcement option for copyright owners.”

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