On November 3, Nancy Wolff, DMLA Counsel, attended the Rights Caucus for the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC. The event was held in a Judiciary Committee hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Creative Rights Caucus is a bi-partisan legislative “listening” committee co-Chaired by Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) and Representative Doug Collins (R-GA). It is dedicated to protecting the rights of content creators. More importantly, the Caucus aims to help the public understand that we cannot judge the entertainment industry by how well famous Hollywood or music stars are doing.
The event was organized by David Trust, Executive Director of the PPA (Professional Photographers of America), who also moderated the panel discussion. Panelists included photographer Denis Reggie, illustrator John Schmelzer, photographer Mary Fisk Taylor, graphic artist Lisa Shaftel, and photographer Michael Grecco.
There was an extraordinary turn-out of approximately 150 people and standing room only in the hearing room.
Afterwards Nancy joined the PPA and other association representatives in meeting some congressional staffers as well as Congressman Hakeen Jeffries of New York about the issues of the image licensing industry and about legislation to support a copyright small claims court and the modernization of the Copyright Office.
On November 10, 2015, Sarah Fix, DMLA President participated in a private meeting in Los Angeles bringing Members of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and their staff together with photographers and photo/visual editors representing ASMP, APA, DMLA and NPPA to discuss the marketplace realities facing professional photographers as small business owners and representatives of the creative class.
Organized and moderated by ASMP Executive Director, Tom Kennedy, it was a lively discussion covering a wide range of topics of concern to photographers including:
- Modernization of the Copyright Office and the need to simplify copyright registration.
- The creation of a Copyright Small Claims Court as a remedy for infringements that cannot realistically be pursued within the Federal court system.
- The proliferation of infringement fostered by digital distribution systems and the commercial harm caused by such rampant infringements.
- The challenges presented by “click-bait” sites whose entire business models are built around intentional infringement.
The House Committee seemed to respond well to the first-hand accounts from the presenters and generally agreeable to the ideas shared at the meeting including the Copyright Small Claims Court. It seemed clear that their legislative solutions would include individual creators.