Category Archives: DMLA

Coalition of Visual Artists Respond to House Judiciary Committee on U.S. Copyright Office Reform

On January 30, 2017 DMLA Digital Media Licensing Association) joined with the other members of a Coalition of Visual Artists (APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) in a joint response to the House Judiciary Committee with comments to the first proposal by Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers “Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office.”

After months of hard work to reach consensus and a united voice, our comments, entitled “Creating a USCO Capable of Succeeding in A Changing World”, begins “Collectively, all members of the signatory associations depend on effective copyright protection and enforcement for their livelihood.”

Read all about it here with a link to the full comments.

COMMENTS ON THE REFORM OF U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE

On January 30, 2017 DMLA joined with the other members of a Coalition of Visual Artists (APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) in a joint response to the House Judiciary Committee with comments to the first proposal by Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers “Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office.”

After months of hard work to reach consensus and a united voice, our comments, entitled “Creating a USCO Capable of Succeeding in A Changing World”, begins “Collectively, all members of the signatory associations depend on effective copyright protection and enforcement for their livelihood.” To ensure that happening we continue “We join with the Judiciary Committee’s call for greater autonomy for the Copyright Office. Regardless of whether the Office remains an independent agency housed in the Library of Congress, or an independent agency under the Legislative Branch with no connection to the Library of Congress, history has demonstrated that it is essential that it have autonomy over the its budget and its technology needs as well as its operational procedures (staffing, fees, structure, etc.).

The comments of the coalition also address the issue of the Register of Copyrights:
“We further support the selection of the Register of Copyrights as a Presidential appointee. If the judiciary committee decides to pursue this approach, we urge the Congress to move with great alacrity in passing the necessary legislation and respectfully urge the Librarian to refrain from appointing a new Register and instead await such legislative action. We fear that otherwise, many qualified candidates may not be willing to take the position of Register under existing procedures, uncertain whether that their appointment may be just months long.”
The Small Claims System Hosted by the United States Copyright Office” is also addressed “For the members of the visual arts community the overriding purpose of a copyright small claims proposal is narrow and straightforward: to end a longstanding inequity in our copyright system and finally provide photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, other visual artists and their licensing representatives with a fair, cost-effective and streamlined venue in which they can seek relief for relatively modest copyright infringement claims.
Under current law, too many legitimate copyright claimants are unable to pursue a copyright infringement action in federal court. This is due primarily to the prohibitive cost of retaining counsel and maintaining the litigation for some of these high volume, relatively low value claims brought by visual artists—a situation exacerbated by the fact that “they are often opposed by large corporations with limitless resources and the resolve to complicate and protract a case in hopes that the plaintiff runs out of patience, money or both.”

A full copy of the Coalition of Visual Artists comments can be found here. (You will need to scroll down to Amicus Briefs and Notices of Inquiries)

 

Important Section 512 Survey

DMLA has been actively participating in a study initiated by the Copyright Office on the impact and effectiveness of the Digital Millennial Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions contained in Section 512 of the Copyright Act. The safe harbor offers qualified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) immunity from monetary damages for hosting infringing content if the ISP expeditiously removes the content after receiving a proper notice. DMLA has provided responses to past Notices of Inquiries and attended round table hearings on this subject. The Copyright Office is now seeking additional comments and is specifically inviting parties to submit empirical research.

As this is such an important issue, DMLA plans to respond and has adapted for DMLA members and their contributors an online survey prepared by the Copyright Alliance for small creators to determine if this “notice and take down” procedure of the safe harbor is being used, how difficult it is to use, and how successful it is in having infringing content removed. The survey is short and should not take long to complete. We encourage all members to participate and send it to their contributors to build a large response pool. If copyright law is to improve, we need to have hard data on what is working and what is not.

If you haven’t filled out your responses yet, please do so.  The more responses we receive the better data we will be able to supply to the Copyright office.  You will find the survey here.

Deadline for completion is February 17, 2017.

President’s Message for the New Year

It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is almost over. Reflecting on the past year we’d like to thank you for your support of our trade association. Working on your behalf, we strive to deliver the best legal advocacy, educational information and networking opportunities in the digital media industry.  Read the entire message here

President’s Message January 2017

 

 

 

 

Dear DMLA Members:

It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is almost over. Reflecting on the past year we’d like to thank you for your support of our trade association. Working on your behalf, we strive to deliver the best legal advocacy, educational information and networking opportunities in the digital media industry.

In addition to the name change from PACA to DMLA to better reflect the constituents of the association, we are proud of the many accomplishments that DMLA has achieved over the last few years. Some of the significant 2016 accomplishments are highlighted below.

With a new board taking over in May 2016, we have set new objectives for the next two years to further evolve our organization, broaden our membership base and cement DMLA’s relevance to the digital media licensing industry. We look forward to sharing news on our initiatives in the coming months as we build up to our 22nd Annual DMLA Conference October 22-24 back in Manhattan again at the historic New Yorker Hotel.

We truly appreciate your support and hope you recognize, as we do, the valuable role your membership plays in allowing us to continue our efforts on behalf of the industry.

We are asking you to show your continued commitment to DMLA by renewing your membership for 2017. Invoices were mailed out in December and many of you have already made your payments, which is very much appreciated. We have made it easy to pay your dues; our Monthly payment plan has been a popular option for many members and is available again this year.  Dues are payable by January 31, 2017, so please make arrangements to get them paid by then.

 Finally, from the DMLA Board and all our Committee members, we wish you all the best for 2017!

Geoff Cannon                                                                                                                                                    DMLA President

 

DMLA 2016 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Membership

  •  Welcomed 10 new members into the Association

DMLASearch

  • Total relaunch of PACAsearch as DMLAsearch including a new website that includes photos from contributing agencies on homepage DMLAsearch.com

Connectivity

  •  Consistent communication with members this year through the use of our blog, twitter and Facebook page
  • Our 21st Annual Conference: Another outstanding conference was held in Jersey City in October. The sessions were reviewed as some of the best ever covering subjects from Doing Business in China to Advances in Visual Recognition. You can read reviews of all the sessions here, In a post-conference survey we received Very Good or Excellent marks from over 83% of our attendees.
  • Participation in Visual Connections in Chicago and New York to connect with buyers

Education

  • Webinar series continued in 2016 with “Sensitive Issues Web. You can find the audio recording here
  • Worked with DMLA member Adobe to produce and record legal videos explaining the basics of releases, fair use, issues involving outside art, graffiti and social media use of images. You will find them on our website Note – It’s a members-only section of the site so you will need your username and password to gain access.

Advocacy

  •  Maintained our presence in Washington, DC to advocate for DMLA
  • Meetings with the Copyright Office on the 108 exception, dealing with libraries and archives in July and then again in September with ASMP on suggestions for improving the current proposed Copyright Small Claims bill
  • Attended the U.S. Copyright Office’s public roundtable in New York, New York on May 2-3, 2016 in connection with the Office’s study on section 512 (involving immunity for ISP’s).
  • Attended and spoke on a panel on a day-long symposium sponsored by the US Copyright Office and the Center for Intellectual Property at George Mason Law School entitled AUTHORS, ATTRIBUTION, and INTEGRITY: Examining Moral Rights in the United States on April 18, 2016.
  • Submitted an amicus brief to the Second Circuit on behalf of the DMLA supporting Fox Network before the Second Circuit in New York in  the appeal of the decision  in Fox Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., explaining that there is a robust licensing market for images and clips and that expanding fair use for an unauthorized distributor of video clips in this case could have a significant impact on the content licensing industry
  • Submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the DMLA supporting T3 Media before the Ninth Circuit in California in the appeal of the decision in Maloney v T3 Media, Inc. supporting T3 Media and the decision that held the act of offering editorial content for licensing or sale does not violate the subject’s right of publicity under state law and that the Copyright Act preempts state law where it interferes with the copyright holder’s right to exercise her exclusive rights. We explained the importance of this decision to the content licensing industry as a whole and the ability of the press and others to have access to licensable content.
  • Weekly phone meetings with the other visual arts associations on copyright small claims and other issues to help get important issues moved along by working as a cohesive group
  • Wrote Blogs on cases involving take down notices under the DMCA, removal of copyright management information and copyright damages
  • Worked successfully on Right of Publicity Act in Minnesota.

 

 

 

Save the date: DMLA 2017 Conference Announced

The DMLA Board is pleased to announce that the 2017 Conference will be held October 22-24, 2017 at the historic New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York City.  More information will be forthcoming, but please mark your calendars and we’ll see you in October!

DMLA Legal Blog: What is ahead for 2017

by Nancy Wolff, DMLA Counsel

2017 is off to a rapid start for the DMLA legal committee and team. In December DMLA, along with other visual artist associations, (American Photographic Artists, American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, National Press Photographers Association, North American Nature Photography Association and Professional Photographers of America) attended the annual face to face meeting of visual artists’ associations to set the course of collaborative action for the coming year. This year’s meeting was in DC, and the changes at the Copyright Office; the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Reform of the Copyright Office together with recent copyright small claims bills were priority topics.

In addition to strategizing on how to approach the above issues, we had a training session on lobbying, a meeting with Keith Kupferschmid, the CEO of the Copyright Alliance on participating in a search for a new register at the Copyright Office; discussions on whether the Copyright Office should move out of the Library of Congress; and a guest speaker, Rob Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Directors of Registration Practice Policy & Practice at the US Copyright Office. Specifically, Rob discussed a recently published notice of proposed rulemaking regarding group registration of photographs that will impact how published and unpublished photographs are registered as well as the database registrations employed by many DMLA members.

The day was full with many open items to work on in 2017, with several responses to requests for comments from the Copyright Office and the legislature due by the end of this January. This annual meeting is in addition to nearly weekly meetings DMLA participates in with these associations. Since last year when we anticipated proposed copyright small claims legislation, the associations have been in frequent communication to work swiftly and cohesively when the need arises. A lesson learned from the proposed Orphan Works legislation nearly ten years ago was that the visual artists’ community needs to speak with as unified a voice as possible with Congress and the Copyright Office if our message is to be heard and considered. DMLA represents the only association of licensing entities and our perspective is important in highlighting the economic importance of licensing and the need for a robust copyright system. The Legal Committee will be sending requests for action items on pending responses due this month so look out for updates and please participate as we need to hear from all members on these important issues!

 

 

Visual Steam’s Annual Survey of Art Buyers

DMLA is a proud sponsor of VisualSteam’s 2016 Survey of Art Buyers.  As such, our members are able to receive a free copy (if you are in good standing).  To receive your free copy, please email sales@visualsteam.com and please note that you are a DMLA member and requesting your free copy.  Once verified, you will be sent a PDF copy and link to an online version.

 

 If you are not a member of DMLA, you may purchase a copy by clicking here.

 

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DMLA Legal Update

By Nancy Wolff, DMLA Legal Counsel

NEWS FROM WASHINGTON

This past week was a busy week for DMLA. We had our annual in-person meeting with a number of visual art associations in Washington, DC last Tuesday. Thursday, the House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee released its first policy proposal to reform the Copyright Office after extensive review of the U.S. Copyright Act over the past few years. Also on Thursday Representatives Judy Chu and Lamar Smith introduced the Fairness for American Small Creators Act, a bill proposing as an alternative to federal court, a copyright small claims court within the Copyright Office.

In-Person Association Meeting

Since Congress attempted to pass orphan works legislation ten years ago, the heads and counsel of the visual arts related associations in the United States have met in-person each year to discuss mutual goals and issues. We’ve focused primarily with respect to the ongoing studies conducted by the Copyright Office on issues relating to visual images, registration and a copyright small claims as well as the House of Representative Judiciary Committee’s review of the U.S. Copyright Act. The importance of responding to Congress on these important issues with a more unified voice was a lesson learned during the orphan works legislation hearings in 2006. Although there are regular telephone meetings during the year to deal with ongoing issues, the annual meeting help shape the goals for the year and promotes unity. In addition to DMLA, the following associations participate in these meetings: American Association of Media Photographers (ASMP), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), National Press Photographers of America (NPPA), American Photographic Artists (APA), North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA), the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) and the Plus Coalition.

This year the annual meeting emphasized several hot topics, First, we focused on the replacement of Maria Pallante, the former register of the Copyright Office, who was summarily removed by the recently appointed Librarian of Congress on October 21, 2016 and had been sensitive to the issues of visual artists. Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of the Copyright Alliance, met with the group at lunch to discuss the selection process, as he knows it, and to work with us to suggest appropriate candidates. In addition, he also encouraged the various associations to support a survey currently being drafted by the Copyright Alliance to respond to a recent request from the Copyright Office for more data on Section 512 of the Copyright Act, concerning the effectiveness of the notice and take down process to remove infringing materials from Internet Service Providers.

Next, the continued support for a proposed copyright small claims court as an alternative to costly federal litigation was high on the agenda as well as modernizing the Copyright Office and improving registration of images. Many of the members had meetings on the Hill the remainder of the week to support Copyright Small Claims, organized by the PPA. In addition, Rob Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Practices at the Copyright Office, was invited to speak in the afternoon and he discussed the recent request -Notice of Inquiry (NOI) published by the Copyright Office seeking to limit group registration of photographs to 750 images. (More to come on that from the DMLA). Over the past months, the associations have had weekly calls regarding Copyright small claims legislation, which we intend to continue during the next year.

Thursday, December 8, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers released the first policy proposal to come out of the Committee’s review of U.S. Copyright law. The document states that the Copyright Office should remain a part of the Legislative Branch and continue to provide advice to Congress. Further, the Office should have autonomy over its budget and technology needs. It supported the Copyright Office’s plan for IT modernization with searchable, digital databases. Additionally, it recommended that the Office host a small claims system consistent with the Copyright Office report to handle low value infringement cases. Reps. Goodlatte and Conyers released a statement and video stating that these policies are a starting point for further discussion by all stakeholders, with the goal of producing legislative text within each issue area. The Committee requests written comments from interested stakeholders by January 31, 2017.

With respect to the small claims system, on the same day, Representatives Judy Chu and Lamar Smith introduced the Fairness for American Small Creators Act, a bill proposing, as an alternative to federal court, a small claims court within the Copyright Office for copyright infringement lawsuits. More information is available at here.

The DMLA Legal Committee is reviewing the recent requests for information from the Copyright Office ad Congress for information of Section 512, registration and copyright small claims. 2017 looks like it could be an active year. If any legislation on copyright modernization or small claims is ready to be voted on, it will be important for DMLA members (and their contributors) to show support. We will keep you informed.