Tag Archives: registering published and unpublished photographs

GROUP REGISTRATION OF PHOTOGRAPHS

DMLA together with various other visual arts associations (what we are loosely referring to a Coalition of Visual Artists –DMLA, APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) filed a joint response to a proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office on Group Registration of Photographs.

The proposal seeks to establish new online registration procedures for groups of unpublished as well as published photographs. The proposal was quite in-depth, including an extensive history of group registration of photographs regulations and the requirements for a new proposed system. In general the coalition was in favor of improving the electronic registration process for registration of all photographs, but had some recommendations for the Copyright Office on as to how to improve the proposed system.

Universally, everyone agreed that the arbitrary limitation of 750 images per registration would be burdensome to visual artists and would discourage registration. This limit would be unworkable for many photographers who register all the works in an assignment in one application, and is much lower than the number of images submitted by many members of DMLA when submitting database registration of images uploaded to websites. In addition, the Copyright Office proposal specifically would discourage this database registration in favor of the group registration of unpublished and published photographs regimes. Database registrations were specifically crafted by the Copyright Office at the request of DMLA to assist DMLA members register photographs on behalf of contributors before ingesting them into their database for licensing on the web based platforms. The DMLA’s legal committee, and in particular Dan Pollack, Masterfile’s attorney assisted in responding to that aspect of the proposed rulemaking and expressed DMLA’s concern as this registration has been a key factor in many successful enforcement programs to deter infringements and encourage licensing.

The Coalition also urged that the provision to permit group registration of unpublished photographs and published photographs be expanded to include all forms of visual art, regardless of format, whether photographs, illustration or otherwise.

Other recommendations related to improving the application process to be compatible with typical visual artists’ workflows and promoting the use of APIs that may be developed to allow the seamless registration of photographs and visual artworks, and that both published and unpublished photographs can be registered at the same time.

The joint response was a result of corporation of all the associations and was quite extensive. A copy of the full response can be found here (you’ll have to scroll down to Amicus Briefs and Notices of Inquiries). This is a great example of the joint efforts of the various visual art association coming together with one voice. The Copyright Alliance also adopted the position set out in the coalition of visual artists’ response to the proposed rulemaking as well.

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!