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NPPA Submits Comments Regarding Orphan Works

January 26th, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) has, in response to a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) by the Copyright Office, submitted comments on the issue of orphan works and mass digitalization. The Copyright Office has solicited comments for use in advising Congress on how to address current issues involving copyright and orphan works.

These official comments, written by NPPA attorneys Mickey Osterreicher and Alicia Calzada, with contributions from board member Greg Smith and NPPA intern Joan Blazich, discuss the issues currently facing visual journalists regarding copyright and propose solutions for creating a system which would treat copyright holders and users of orphaned works fairly and efficiently.

The comments state that “NPPA is gravely concerned that in seeking to address the frustration of ‘good faith users’ of Orphan Works in order to cure their potential liability and ‘gridlock in the digital marketplace,’ the Copyright Office may create a far more serious problem for authors/owners of visual works.” The comments also note that “As visual journalists, our members are squeezed from every side by onerous contracts seeking all rights for little compensation, the proliferation of user generated content by publishers and the widespread infringement of visual works by individuals and organizations. While we understand and appreciate the concerns of those in the copyright community who need to use Orphan Works, we believe it is crucial to protect the copyright of recently created visual works that, for whatever reason, appear to be orphaned when, in fact, they are not.”

NPPA attorneys Osterreicher and Calzada plan to attend the Copyright Office’s public hearings on orphan works once dates and times for those hearings are announced. As more visual journalists face situations in which their images are misappropriated under an “orphan works” claim, the NPPA proposes that if any legislation is enacted, it must include language that protects authors from predatory practices by those who would infringe upon our members’ work with impunity under the protection of a new law.

“Photographers are lucky to have advocates like Mickey, Alicia, Greg and Joan, who spend a great deal of time examining these issues and and how they will affect our members and all those who create content,” said NPPA President Mike Borland.  “The orphan works issue won’t be resolved soon and it certainly won’t be resolved properly without our voice being heard,” he added.

In accordance with that goal, the comments recommend significant limitations on what works qualify as orphans and which users would be entitled to such  protection. In addition, the NPPA advocated for registration of any uses of orphan works, along with a bond or insurance requirement to protect rights holders’ financial interests in the event they come forward to make a claim.

To read the NPPA’s comments, click here. To read the Copyright Office’s current NOI, click here. To read about previous Copyright Office inquiries on the subject of orphan works click here.

Posted in copyright, copyright infringement, National Press Photographers Association, NPPA, Orphan Works, Photographers' Rights, U.S. Copyright Office, Visual Journalists | No Comments »

NPPA Submits Comments Regarding A Copyright Small Claims Court System

October 22nd, 2012 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) has, at the request of the Copyright Office, submitted comments concerning the creation of a copyright small claims court system. These comments constitute the second round of commentary requested by the Copyright Office over the possibility of instituting a small claims copyright court system.

These official comments, written by NPPA attorneys Mickey Osterreicher and Alicia Calzada, with a significant contribution by board member Greg Smith and NPPA intern Joan Blazich, discusses the issues currently facing photojournalists regarding copyright and presents potential solutions for creating a court system that would permit an efficient and cost-effective method of addressing copyright small claims.

“While much of the advocacy by NPPA deals with access issues and the right to photograph and record in public; it cannot be understated that without the ability to affordably protect one’s copyright visual journalists will soon be out of business,” Osterreicher said. “That is why it is so important that the Copyright Office support a new initiative that will address this critical issue,” he added.

The Copyright Office will hold public hearings on these issues in New York City on November 15-16, 2012 and in Los Angeles on November 26-27, 2012. It is holding these discussions to learn more about the topics listed in its August 23, 2012 Notice of Inquiry and the comments submitted in response to that Notice, as well as the comments in response to the initial October 27, 2012 Notice of Inquiry.

The New York City hearings will be held at the Jerome Greene Annex of Columbia Law School, 410 West 117th Street, New York, New York 10027. The November 15 hearing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the November 16 hearing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles hearings will be held in Room 1314 of the UCLA School of Law, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90095. The November 26 hearing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the November 27 hearing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

NPPA attorneys Osterreicher and Calzada plan to participate in those meetings to advocate for NPPA’s proposals. As many photojournalists face situations involving copyright claims that amount to a limited amount of damages, the NPPA strongly supports the creation of a copyright small claims court system by the Copyright Office that would permit photojournalists to resolve such claims in an expedited and cost effective manner.

Read NPPA’s comments here:

Posted in copyright, Copyright Small Claims, National Press Photographers Association, NPPA, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, U.S. Copyright Office | No Comments »

NPPA Sends Recommendations to IPEC Regarding Copyright Protections

August 24th, 2012 by Advocacy Intern and tagged , , , ,

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has submitted comments to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Commission (IPEC) detailing recommendations that would improve copyright protection for visual images.

The 16-page document, which was submitted following an open request for comments from IPEC, highlighted numerous measures specifically aimed at giving photographers recourse when their images where pirated.

“Most photojournalists view our profession as a calling,” the comment states.  “None really expect to become wealthy in this line of work, but most do expect to earn a fair living, support themselves and their family and contribute to society. Copyright infringement reduces that economic incentive dramatically.”

One recommendation put forth in the comments was to track takedown notices for websites hosting pirated images in order to hold search engines liable when they continue to list those infringing websites in search results.  In a move indicating that this recommendation may soon become reality, Google announced on the same day that the comment was submitted, that it would drop the search rankings of sites with multiple takedown notices.

“Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site,” the Google Search blog said.  “Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.”

The NPPA comments proposed increased accountability for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in addition to search engines.  The comments also proposed enacting statutes targeting news aggregators and their use of hyper linking, encouraging metadata schemas that would enable easier identification of image ownership, and creating a small claims solution for copyright infringement.

The comments stressed that the loss of staff positions at newspapers nationwide and the increasing copyright infringement of images by the public have undermined the value of photojournalism and made it more important than ever that photojournalists have their images protected.

“The end result of the continued devaluation of journalism, and photojournalism, is that communities suffer,” the comment states.  “Important stories on public spending, public welfare, health and safety will not be told with the vigor and thoroughness of years past.”

NPPA’s comments can be viewed at this link.

Advocacy Chair note: NPPA Intern Justice Warren contributed significantly to this effort.

Posted in blogging, copyright, Legal, Licensing, National Press Photographers Association, NPPA, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism | No Comments »

NPPA meets with Copyright Office

March 23rd, 2012 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Representatives of the National Press Photographers Association met a couple of weeks ago with attorneys from the United States Copyright Office to discuss copyright small claims solutions and other copyright issues important to photojournalists.

NPPA General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA Executive Director Mindy Hutchison, and NPPA Attorney and Advocacy Chair Alicia Calzada took a break from the weekend’s Northern Short Course in Fairfax, Virginia to met with the General Counsel of the Copyright Office and two policy attorneys from the office in Washington, D.C.

Calzada and Osterreicher at the Copyright Office in DC. Photo by Mindy Hutchison.

 

NPPA submitted official comments to the Copyright Office back in January, outlining the challenges that photojournalists have relating to copyright claims, particularly smaller claims, and sharing the organization’s view of what we would like to see in a solution for small copyright claims. Friday’s meeting allowed NPPA to expand on the topics raised in the comments and answer questions from the Copyright Office.  Any small copyright claims solution would likely require passage from Congress.

Click here to read a copy of NPPA’s official comments to the Copyright Office.

 

 

Posted in copyright, Copyright Small Claims, District of Columbia, Legal, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism, Uncategorized | No Comments »

NPPA Comments to the Copyright Office on Copyright Small Claims

January 18th, 2012 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , ,

On Tuesday the NPPA submitted official comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the office’s request for comments on the idea of creating a system to adjudicate copyright infringements when the damages are low, also called Remedies for Small Copyright Claims.

The brief, written by NPPA attorneys Mickey Osterreicher and Alicia Wagner Calzada, with a significant contribution from board member Greg Smith, outlines the challenges specific to photojournalists, notes characteristics that would be important in the solution and presents ideas for framing a system.

A claim for copyright infringement can only be brought in federal court, but lawsuits in federal court cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, making it rare that a photojournalist will find the claim worth bringing. In addition, the rapid turnaround of news photography makes it virtually impossible for photojournalists to register their work prior to publication, which results in increased risk in bringing a case. Although a successful copyright plaintiff can sometimes get an award of legal fees, there is no guarantee that the defendant will be able to pay those fee. As the comment notes, “For those infringements that are discovered, most will never be prosecuted because it is economically unfeasible for the creators to commence an action in federal court.”

A small claims solution for infringements that are not worth hundreds of thousands of dollars would increase the ability of photojournalists to police their work and get compensated fairly for violations of their copyright.

NPPA is looking forward to working on this potential solution with the copyright office and with other photo organizations.

Read the official final_Copyright Small Claims Comments 01-17-12-1

 

 

 

Posted in D.C., Legal, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, photographers, photojournalism, Uncategorized | No Comments »