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PPA is proud to announce a HUGE agreement the Nickles Group to help us out on Capitol Hill. This will put us front and center during the ongoing copyright discussion at the most critical time. Momentum is really building toward that Next Great Copyright Act and we will now be more plugged in than ever. 


In fact, with the Nickles Group, we're now the only photography association with a full-time presence! This agreement is a really big deal and you need to know about it.


Here is the press release in its entirety:

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Professional Photographers of America (PPA) announced today it has reached an agreement with The Nickles Group, LLC, to represent PPA on Capitol Hill. The Nickles Group will help the association's lobbying efforts for photographers' copyrights.

Through the Nickles Group, one of the preeminent lobbying firms on the Hill, PPA will be at the center of the action on a daily basis. Using the Nickles Group's extensive network, PPA will make introductions, build relationships and arrange meetings with key players and also create opportunities to testify at Congressional hearings. The partnership looks to build upon the strong foundation PPA has established in Washington over the past 15 years.

Founded in 2005, the Nickles Group brings together an accomplished team of public policy advocates and experts to provide strategic advice, policy development and political navigation for clients seeking to engage in the federal legislative or executive process.

"We're pleased to join forces with the PPA to be an important advocate for the rights of photographers and other creators," said Don Nickles, chairman and CEO of The Nickles Group. "With copyright issues becoming more complex as Congress reviews the laws that govern rights, we look forward to partnering with PPA and impacting policy for the better."

Nickles, a Senator for the state of Oklahoma from 1981 to 2005 certainly knows his way around the Hill. In his tenure, Nickles built a legacy of advancing free enterprise causes, from natural gas deregulation and repeat of the windfall profits tax in the 1980s, to repeal of onerous ergonomics regulation and the fight against federalized healthcare during the Clinton Administration. He was the author of the Congressional Review Act and the Child Citizenship Act, and the principal sponsor of President Bush's economic growth package in 2003, which cut capital gains and corporate dividend taxes to 15 percent.

Thanks to this agreement PPA now has the ability to put its members front and center, a coup for PPA given the recent discussions on orphan works and the U.S. Copyright office's push for the Next Great Copyright Act. 

"This could not come at a better time for us," said David Trust, CEO of PPA. "We are entering one of the most critical eras in the history of copyright law. This relationship with the Nickles Group will ensure that PPA members, and photographers in general, will have an increased position in the copyright discussion on Capitol Hill."

The Nickles Group represents the likes of the Comcast, Eli Lilly and Company, Exxon Mobil and now PPA. The agreement makes PPA the only professional photography association with a full-time presence on Capitol Hill.

In addition to having the photography world's only copyright and government affairs department, PPA provides a wealth of resources for photographers online, including sample contracts and model releases. For more information, visit ppa.com/copyright.

 

Of course, as the Nickles Group reports back to us, we will forward the info on to you! Things are really cooking up there in Washington. BE MORE!

 

Yesterday, PPA's board of directors visited with key staffers and senators on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns on copyright protection. You can view yesterday's post on their visit to get caught up. 

Maria Matthews, manager of PPA's copyright and government affairs department is back with an update on what went down!

 

We talked, they listened!

On behalf of PPA members and professional photographers everywhere, an excited PPA board of directors spent their Tuesday in our nation's capita. They met with chief counsels, judiciary aides and senators and told their story. They explained the impact copyright theft can have on their business and families--as well as the potential economic impact for their state--and light bulbs went on.

The board asked staffers and senators to deliver this message to the senate: Copyright affects more than just big industry; it impacts mom-and-pop businesses in every corner of their state. Many of the offices we met with agreed that strong copyright laws are essential to ensuring a thriving creative community. They also admitted that most of their efforts on the intellectual property front as of late have been focused on patent and not copyright reform--something they will be looking to remedy!

This visit was great progress for the copyright debate. Next up: Keep lobbying to get the talk moving toward action on the senate!

The board had a great time in D.C. and shared their visit all over social media. Check out their posts below.

(Click the images to view the original posts.)

 

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PPA will continue to provide updates on the ongoing copyright movement. Things are getting really exciting!

In our recent "The Government Shutdown and You" blog post we discussed how the current government shutdown has affected copyright registration. Since we had copyright on our minds, we figured it was the perfect time to remind you of your PPA member copyright benefits. Remember, just because the copyright office is currently closed, that doesn't mean you can't still send in copyright registrations or that your copyrights are no longer valid!

A frustrating day for any photographer can be when you discover that someone is using one of your copyrighted images without your permission. Not only is it illegal--it also cuts into your bottom line! So what do you do if it happens to you? Luckily for PPA members, there's an easy solution: just call PPA's copyright and government affairs department at 800-786-6277 or by email at copyrightdefense@ppa.com.

Once you've contacted PPA, we'll help you determine the next steps to take to resolve your copyright infringement problem. If you wish to do so, you can also have us contact the infringer on your behalf as a way to get them to stop the practice or bring them to the negotiating table. 

Of course, we hope that you never run into a situation where someone has violated your copyright, which is why PPA provides a whole host of resources to help you protect your copyrights. 

Visit the copyright resources page to download the Copyright Kit, which will give you a great overview of the copyright process. You can also find copyright inserts you can include with your clients' orders to help keep them educated about copyright. Finally, there's also guides you can download to help you with electronic copyright registration as well as sample contracts for giving someone permission to reproduce one of your copyrighted images! 

Don't forget about the copyright webinars on the copyright resources page. They'll walk you through the basics of important copyright information you should be aware of. 

In addition to providing you with resources, PPA's RECON program checks on local retailers to make sure that they are obeying copyright law. If you're a PPA member, you can become part of this program! 

The Retail Compliance Network (RECON) is a dedicated group of photographer investigators who go undercover in an effort to preserve the integrity of photographers' copyrights. They embark on stealth missions to local retailers who offer photo finishing services or use online print services to see if they are complying with copyright law. If a retailer violates the laws, PPA approaches them with the results and urges them toward greater compliance. 

If you'd like to become a RECON investigator, you can download an application; just remember you need to be a PPA member. 

Along with all of these efforts, PPA members can also get a discount on services to add digital watermarks to your images. This is especially important for photographers that post copyrighted images to forums, websites, Facebook or other social media! The watermark lets everyone know who these images are copyrighted by and cuts down on illegal use.

So, access the copyright resources today and make sure all your images are properly copyrighted! These resources are just for PPA members, so join PPA today to have access to the resources as well as copyright assistance. 

Want to read more about protecting your images? Check out the "10 Ways for Photographers to Protect Their Copyright" post.
You know how we keep saying PPA has your back? Well we mean it. And our Copyright & Government Affairs department advocates for you members and professional photographers everywhere at the top--on Capitol Hill! Here is an update on what was learned from their latest visit, courtesy of Maria Matthews, department manager.

Copyright Talks Continue on Capitol Hill
Photographers and photography were at the center of a discussion by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on our most recent visit to Capitol Hill. Just before Congress broke for their August recess, talks focused on the courts, intellectual property and the internet. While not photography-centric, the copyright debate is at the center of the subcommittee's September agenda, with three additional copyright hearings on everything from satellite regulations (i.e. the laws that allow networks to continue to broadcast your favorite shows) to highly specialized hearings on role of voluntary agreements.

During this time, PPA met with the Register of Copyrights as well as key Congressional leaders to stress the importance of strong copyright laws, and the need for accessible enforcement tools in order to protect your livelihood. Our message was received positively by every office we encountered. While we are encouraged by the efforts both the Copyright Office and the Subcommittee are taking to examine copyright statute as it currently exists, we are keeping a watchful eye on the unfolding debate to ensure that photographers are not forgotten.  

Although the date has not yet been set, the Committee Chair has committed to hosting additional copyright-themed hearings prior to their December recess. In addition to the subcommittee's copyright-intensive schedule, we are also expecting the release of the Copyright Office's study on the Copyright Small Claims Process and possible improvements to the registration process.


National Park Service Releases Updated Rules & Fees
While Congress is plugging away at copyright, elsewhere on Capitol Hill the Department of the Interior (DOI) released updated "Special Use Permit" rules for still photography. The rules, which have been five years in the making, offer clarity on when a photographer would be required to seek a permit from a park superintendent prior to arriving for a session on park or other federal land. (Note: These rules also apply to areas managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.)

Thanks to these revisions, photographers now have the benefit of knowing the rules no matter which type of federal land they visit. While a basic set of requirements have been streamlined across these agencies, photographers will need to contact the specific property (or visit its website) to find out if there are certain seasonal restrictions (i.e. winter road closures or peak traffic periods) that might require additional clearance and/or fees.

The revised permit guidelines now say still photographers do not require a permit unless they're using a model, props, or if there are additional circumstances that require the use of park resources. For example, the location is off limits to the general public or resources to minimize the effect of the shoot on general visitors. This means that if you're entering the park and intend to stay "on the beaten path" chances are you won't need a permit and shouldn't be stopped and asked for one.

When it comes to models, props, and sets, DOI also provided photographer-friendly definitions to these once confusing terms. "Models" are no longer considered portrait subjects like members of a wedding party or high school graduates. "Props and Sets" are now specifically defined as "items constructed or place on agency lands" and extends to backdrops, lights and tracks. Tripods, something previously included in this list are no longer deemed a "prop" if they are not used with any other equipment.

While we expect many photographers will now be exempt from permits because of the new definition of "model," we continue to have great concerns over the newly proposed fee structure. The addition of a $250 monthly permit for 1-3 (including the photographer) should prove helpful to those who frequently use National Parks in small groups. However, photographers must still contend with any "locations fees" that are required by the individual park. Again these fees are calculated based on the specific agency resources you'll need to complete the assignment as well as any seasonal restrictions that might be in place.

We are keeping an eye out for any additional fee studies and opportunities to offer input on the rulemaking process on behalf of the photographic industry. Given the improvements to the law made to date, we are hopeful DOI will implement additional photographer friendly measures as they solidify the updated rules.


Healthcare Rates Released October 1
Although the www.healthcare.gov website has been up and running for some time now, Oct. 1, 2013, will be the first time it will be 100% populated with the rate information for your state. 

Check to see if your state has established its very own "healthcare marketplace." Many states are even already allowing those who could potentially qualify to be insured to shop policies and determine whether they're eligible for coverage. Simply visit the "Get Insurance" tab at www.healthcare.gov site and select your state to get started.

In addition to exploring your options October 1, you can also choose to purchase insurance. However, it is important to note that the policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014. During this initial implementation period, enrollment will extend through March 31, 2014. Even though the March 31, 2014, enrollment deadline has been set, there are certain special circumstances (i.e. marriage, relocation, birth of a child, etc.) that will allow you to modify your coverage or enroll for the very first time. 

If you need more information about what's to come or if you're curious how the new laws apply to you, we encourage you to watch the three part healthcare webinar series hosted by Ross Pallay, of Pallay Insurance Agency, Inc., PPA's medical and dental insurance partner.

That's all for now! As soon as any new information regarding copyright becomes available we will be the first to let you know. We've said it before and we'll say it again--we've got your back!

You are invited to submit artwork for a juried digital art show that will take place May 17, 2012, during the five-year anniversary celebration of the Copyright Alliance. PPA is one of the founding members of the Copyright Alliance (our CEO David Trust is a past board member, too).

Called "Connecting Creators: Showcasing the Artists Among Us," the event itself will take place at Microsoft's D.C. office on May 17, 4:30pm - 8:00pm. Submitting your image means you have a chance to win the Best of Show or Honorable Mention awards and be celebrated at the event! In fact, the Best in Show winner gets a chance to tell their story to members of the copyright community on Capitol Hill during a panel discussion from 4:30pm - 5:30pm.

Interested? Don't forget to submit by April 6 at 5:00pm Eastern! Download the complete details and submission form here.

Every day we hear something on the news about Capitol Hill and legal or governmental issues. Many of us tend to tune it out after a while because it becomes difficult to sift through the subjects to find the ones that really impact us...and even then it's just plain hard to understand what's going on!

But that doesn't mean it's not important to know what's going on. Will a legal decision affect your business? Is there a law being debated that will help or hinder your copyrights? As the only professional photographic association with a full-time Copyright & Government Affairs staff that maintains a regular presence on Capitol Hill, PPA has dedicated itself to protecting and defending your intellectual property and livelihood. We can help you focus your attention where needed.

Here is a quick look at some important issues you should be watching.

We know that many of you have been following the developments with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). There has been some confusion over the proposed legislation, which frankly is the intent of the bills' opponents. We wanted to take a moment to correct some of the bad information, and to let you know where we stand.

We were disappointed by some of the heavy-handed tactics used by opponents of the bills. The objective of those tactics was obviously to create fear and hysteria, while at the same time spreading false information about what the bills would actually accomplish. We want you to know the following:

  • Both pieces of legislation (SOPA in the Senate and PIPA in the House) targeted off-shore pirating of works produced in the U.S.
  • We do not feel that the measures were perfect--no legislation is. But the greater good demands that measures be taken to protect the rights of creators like you.
  • It is true that those mega-corporations opposed to the bill could possibly have been inconvenienced by the legislation. It is their job to make money, and their actions merely represented those purposes.
  • It is not true that the public would have been deprived of works to which it has rights, but rather, only those works that are copyrighted and being sold illegally by rogue off-shore websites.

Read the full article here.

Pay attention, photographers--changes are on the way that could affect the copyright landscape! Maria Pallante, Register of Copyrights, recently announced how the U.S. Copyright Office plans to focus its efforts over the next two years.

"PPA is pleased to see a number of its advocacy priorities now become top priorities by the copyright rulemaking body," says David Trust, PPA's chief executive officer. "We look forward to working with the Register over the next few months to ensure photographers' voices continue to be heard as proposals and proposed rule changes are released."

Read more here.
Health care will remain a hot-button issue for some time, and PPA is actively working to protect your ability to access quality and affordable care now and in the future. One of our primary efforts is making sure your needs are considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they continue to craft rules that will directly affect not only how you purchase health insurance as a small business, but also the quality of the plans the soon-to-open state health care exchanges will offer you.

On October 21, HHS accepted a second round of comments on their proposed framework for how such health care exchanges should operate. "Exchange" is the term used by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to describe a health care pool, or group, which will give small businesses and self-employed photographers a more affordable way to purchase coverage.

"We recognize the difficulties small-business owners face when purchasing and maintaining health insurance," says David Trust, PPA's chief executive officer. "The decision to protect the well-being of your family and that of your employees is one we hope will be made easier through these exchanges."

Read more here.
Today (June 23, 2011), professional photographers spoke out about their needs and experiences on Capitol Hill--putting a face on photographic copyrights. That's why Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and the Copyright Alliance co-hosted the "Recording Our History: Faces Behind the Camera" briefing for congressmen and their staff.

One of the three PPA members featured in conjunction with this event was renowned wedding photographer Denis Reggie, who represented the association during a panel discussion. Reggie shared not only the craftsmanship and expertise required to be a professional photographer, but also how copyright laws impact his own approach to photography and clients:

"Copyright is the backbone of the creative industries in America--it is our lifeblood. We as a people, as a society, would be far poorer were it not for the copyright protections that encourage creators to do what they do best. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to capture moments in time that will eventually define our world.  Copyright law gives me the ability to invest myself in creating the very best image possible; therefore, it is important to all of us, whether we are creating an image or viewing it."

The event was the first of many Capitol Hill briefings focusing on photography and the copyright community at large--an effort by PPA and the Copyright Alliance to educate legislators on the importance of maintaining strong copyright laws.

Read more here.


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