Here’s your chance to be heard in Washington regarding copyright issues (one of our favorite topics, believe it or not). The Copyright Office itself is seeking comments from photographers. Or as they say, they’re requesting “written comments on how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations, are monetized, enforced, and registered under the Copyright Act”. Or as we would put it – “What the heck is really going on out there? What would you liked changed?”
You can start by going to http://copyright.gov/policy/visualworks/ and then clicking on the “Comment Submission Page” link at the top. The comment period ends July 23, 2015. If you plan on sending them your comments, which we strongly recommend, do it sooner than later. If you wait, you’ll probably remember to do it on July 24th, followed by a head slap when you realize it was due yesterday.
Ed has already submitted 50 pages of comments in the past regarding some of the issues being looked at, like a small claims solution for some infringements rather than a full blown Federal lawsuit. Jack will submit a request to make works published only on social media not be considered published work or make their registration process easier. Also to make registering any published images, an even easier process than it is currently.
Several of the trade associations are virtually falling over each other in an attempt to become the key voice on behalf of all photographers in dealings with the Copyright office. It’s sort of like a polite, adult version of the kid’s game King of the Hill. Each group has its own constituency, which they are presumably trying to protect.
We believe however, that the individual concerns of photographers – whether members of trade associations or not – are best expressed by those photographers. Here is a golden opportunity for photographers to submit their own proposals, suggestions and requests to make copyright registration and enforcement more efficient. There have been many excellent changes in the copyright process enacted by the Copyright Office in the last few years – easier online registration being a shining example.
So in your own words (rather than via some form template) do submit your concerns on the copyright issues that matter most to you. Your common sense comments will be received unfiltered by any lawyer, trade association officer or politician and perhaps adopted by the folks at the Copyright office, who by and large take their jobs seriously.
If rather than submit your comments, you choose to watch a re-run of The Big Bang Theory, then just don’t bitch later on about this or that problem you may encounter with the copyright office. We believe in being pro-active here and not relying on the actions of others to protect your interests.
The words of Bob Marley come to mind:
Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your rights.
Get up, Stand up, Don’t give up the fight.