Tag Archives: legislative solutions

First Small Claims Bill Introduced in Congress

Washington, D.C., July 14, 2016 – In the wake of its release of a white paper setting out the key components of a copyright small claims bill, a coalition of visual artist groups commends the attention that this critical issue is now garnering on Capitol Hill. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’s (D-NY) introduction, along with original cosponsor Tom Marino (R-PA), of a bill, H.R. 5757 of a bill establishing a small claims board and the forthcoming introduction by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) of her own version of small claims legislation establishing a small claims tribunal in the Copyright Office, are a welcomed next step in a process that will hopefully result in much-needed legislative relief for photographers, photojournalists, videographers, illustrators, graphic designers, and other visual artists and their licensing representatives. These artists are currently squeezed out of the legal system by the high cost of bringing suit in federal court and have seen their licensing revenues decimated in recent years by the proliferation of copyright infringement, particularly in the online context.

We look forward to working with Representatives Jeffries, Chu and all members of Congress to correct this inequity in America’s copyright system.

Earlier this year, the coalition, which includes the American Photographic Artists (APA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA), set forth recommendations with regard to key components in any forthcoming congressional small claims legislation.

Coalition members believe small claims reform to be their top legislative priority and call upon Congress to enact legislation that provides visual artists and other small creators with a viable, affordable alternative to prosecuting copyright infringement in federal court—a prohibitively expensive and little-used option by visual artists. This approach is largely consistent with the legislative recommendations set forth in the “Copyright Small Claims” report released in late 2013 by the U.S. Copyright Office which deserves much credit for its groundbreaking effort in this area.

Cathy Aron, Executive Director of the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) said, “Our association supports the creation of a copyright small claims forum to encourage licensing of visual content from legitimate sources. A small claims court should help stem the tide of “right-click” image use as it offers content creators and their representatives a way to effectively enforce copyright and seek appropriate payment. The digital economy needs to work for all participants and this is an essential step forward.

A copy of the visual artists coalition’s white paper is available here.

For more information, please go to here or contact Lindsey Forson copyrightdefense@ppa.com

Copyright Office: Notice of Public Roundtables and Request for Additional Comments

The Copyright Office will host public roundtable discussions and seeks further comments on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law. The meetings and comments will provide an opportunity for interested parties to address new legal developments as well as issues raised by comments provided in response to the Office’s previous Notice of Inquiry.

The public roundtables will take place on March 10-11, 2014, in the Copyright Office Hearing Room, LM-408 of the Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20559. The roundtable discussions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days.

The schedule for the roundtables, which includes the dates and times for specific topics, is set forth below. As shown in the schedule, the roundtables have been divided into nine distinct sessions. If you are interested in participating in one or more of the roundtable sessions, please complete and submit the participation form no later than February 24, 2014.

Due to space constraints, the Office cannot guarantee that it will be able to accommodate every request. To maximize the number of viewpoints presented, the Office will accept only one representative per entity as a participant in a particular session (but an entity may request to have different representatives in different sessions).

The Office also will provide members of the public with the opportunity to observe the hearings. Note, however, that space is limited due to the size of the hearing room. The Office will admit observers on a first come, first serve basis.  To allow for a diverse audience, we ask that entities limit any observers to one per session.

The Office is making arrangements to transcribe the proceedings and will post the transcripts on the Office website. Additionally, the Office is seeking further public comments on orphan works issues, including those to be discussed at the public roundtables. A comment form will be posted on this site no later than March 12, 2014.  Comments must be submitted no later than April 14, 2014.

Sessions and hearing schedule

The public roundtable discussions will be divided into nine sessions addressing distinct topics. Below is the schedule and information as to which topics will be discussed at particular sessions.

TIME

DAY ONE (MARCH 10, 2014)

9:00 – 10:15 Session 1: The need for legislation in light of recent legal and technological developments
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 –  11:45 Session 2: Defining a good faith “reasonably diligent search” standard
11:45 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 2:00 Session 3: The role of private and public registries
2:00 – 2:15 Break
2:15 –  3:30 Session 4: The types of works subject to any orphan works legislation, including issues related specifically to photographs
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 5:00 Session 5: The types of users and uses subject to any orphan works legislation

 

TIME

DAY TWO (MARCH 11, 2014)

9:00 – 10:15 Session 6: Remedies and procedures regarding orphan works
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 –  11:45 Session 7: Mass digitization, generally
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 –  2:15 Session 8: Extended collective licensing and mass digitization
2:15– 2:30 Break
2:30 –  5:00 Session 9: The structure and mechanics of a possible extended collective licensing system in the United States

Background

The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. The issue is not contained to the United States. Indeed, a number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.

Nancy Wolff, PACA Counsel, will represent PACA at all sessions.