Understanding the Importance of a Small Claims Process – Educational Webinar
As a professional photographer, you have copyright protection but do not have an effective means of enforcing your rights. In fact, the current copyright system in the United States practically excludes the vast majority of creators by not offering an adequate enforcement option for small-business copyright holders. PPA’s Government Affairs team has been advocating for the creation of a copyright small claims process for the past ten years! We are very excited to report that members of the House Judiciary Committee are currently working to create legislation which would achieve this goal!
PPA will be calling on every member to advocate for this legislation at a grassroots level. These grassroots efforts will begin when a bill is introduced within the next few weeks. Please watch and share this introductory webinar to learn more about PPA’s top legislative priority and how you can be involved as we mobilize our effort.
Professional photographers have long been left out of the copyright system. But legislation is underway for a Small Claims Process that will give photographers an equal seat at the copyright table! PPA needs all photographers to help us contact congress about the importance of this Small Claims system. PPA CEO David Trust explains what you can do to help us in this effort!
Why Do We Need Copyright Small Claims?
See why a Small Claims system is vital to your photography business! It may surprise you to learn that the majority of copyright holders in the United States are mom-and-pop businesses, the majority of which are professional photographers. Our current one-size-fits-all copyright system leaves out most visual artists. It works for low-volume, high-value creators – motion picture creators, recording arists, etc. – but is largely ineffective for small creative businesses like professional photographers, hence the need for a Small Claims system to deal with infringements of photographs and other visual works.
PPA News Release
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Launches Grassroots Action Team for Copyright Protection
June 10, 2016
National Association mobilizing thousands of visual artists to support first-ever copyright small claims legislation
ATLANTA, GA (June 10, 2016) – As the movement to pass legislation creating a small claims process for copyright holders heats up on Capitol Hill, it is becoming apparent that getting the legislation passed will require an unprecedented grassroots effort. This is why Professional Photographers of America is calling all professional photographers and visual artists to join the Copyright Small Claims Grassroots Action Team to advocate for a historic piece of copyright legislation. For more than ten years, PPA has been working on Capitol Hill, explaining the critical need for a small claims enforcement option for small-business copyright owners. With a critical point reached in the effort, PPA has formed a Grassroots Action Team to increase participation.
Why is a copyright small claims option so crucial for photographers and visual artists? The cost and burden of seeking damages in the only existing venue for copyright infringement claims—Federal district courts—is prohibitive and leaves visual artists no way to enforce their rights. A small claims process within the U.S. Copyright Office would finally provide a fair, cost-effective and streamlined venue where artists could seek remedies for unauthorized uses of their work.
As David Trust, PPA’s CEO, explains, “The creation of a small claims process would transform the copyright landscape for every professional photographer across America. The success of this legislation hinges on the number of voices heard on Capitol Hill. We need everyone – 100% of the professional photographic community – to join the grassroots action team, speak up, and help make history!”
PPA expects one or more copyright small claims bills to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives within weeks, if not days. While the bill must go through a lengthy legislative process before becoming law, there are some upcoming key steps PPA has identified to work toward:
-Mobilizing a Grassroots Action Team
-Soliciting co-sponsors for the bill
-Telling Congress to vote ‘Yes’ on the bill
PPA has created a process to make participation as simple as possible. Interested supporters can sign up to join PPA’s Grassroots Action Team at PPA.com/Grassroots and receive up-to-date news and notifications. PPA will provide talking points and sample language, so individuals can quickly send emails or make phone calls to the right legislators at the right time. Trust explains, “The Grassroots Action Team will, once it’s all done, have helped to make a historic change, positively impacting the livelihood of professional photographers for generations to come.”
For complete details on the Grassroots Action Plan for copyright small claims, visit PPA.com/Advocacy.
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA’s roots date back to 1869. It assists nearly 30,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at PPA.com.
The Case for Copyright Small Claims Infographic
American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law – Comments to US Copyright Office (2012)
Industry survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (2015)