WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2019—As the Voice of Visual Journalists, whose members provide the public with compelling images and stories that inform our democracy, the National Press Photographers Association commends the introduction of H.R. 2426,/S.1273 the CASE Act, legislation that would create a copyright small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. NPPA was in Washington today to celebrate the introduction of the bill with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). Jeffries and Collins have worked diligently with authors groups including the NPPA to craft a measure that would serve the needs of individual creators. The NPPA is also extremely grateful to original House co-sponsors of the bill, Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) are expected to introduce a similar bill in the Senate this week.
“Copyright infringement is a pernicious problem for our members,” NPPA President Michael P. King explained. “Visual journalism is incredibly valuable work that is regularly stolen and circulated on the internet in a matter of minutes. Yet visual journalists currently face a long, expensive process to be compensated for the theft of their work.” King added, “the manner in which infringement persists without a workable remedy is economically devastating for photographers, their clients and their employers. It is our hope that the balanced nature of the CASE Act provides a real solution for photographers and other authors.”
NPPA members’ work helps Americans — and others — better understand the world in which we live. As news organizations have trimmed staff, more and more of our members work as independent contractors, licensing their images and footage for editorial use. Visual journalists work on extremely tight deadlines covering events of great national and international importance, including political campaigns, wars, breaking news, sports and entertainment. Those images are widely infringed as a matter of course. Within seconds of its creation an image may be downloaded and re-posted, becoming “viral” in short order.
“Copyright infringement of this work has contributed to a devastating loss for our members. It takes a direct economic toll on these small business owners who must shoulder the burden of policing infringements, which takes time, energy and funding away from their work as journalists.” NPPA General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said. “Under increased competition from others who infringe with impunity, some publishers now use photos without permission, credit or compensation under the premise of ‘act first, apologize later.’ As part of that cost/benefit analysis, publications weigh the probability of discovery and resulting litigation against the time and cost involved in obtaining prior permission and proper licensing. We hope that the CASE Act changes that equation and enables both sides to have a reasonable and affordable venue to resolve these misappropriations,” Osterreicher added.
“It is heartbreaking and infuriating to hear from photographers whose work has been infringed, especially when they are unable to take on the burden of a federal lawsuit – currently the only way to address an infringement," Deputy General Counsel Alicia Calzada said. "We know from hearing the same stories over and over – the lack of a reasonable venue to pursue copyright infringement makes it more challenging every year for journalists to make ends meet.” Calzada added, “as a practical solution for the problem of policing copyright infringement, the CASE Act has the potential to benefit thousands of photojournalists and make our industry – which is essential to our democracy – more equitable.”
NPPA is very grateful for the support of Rep. Jeffries, Rep. Collins, and the many other members of Congress who have stepped forward to support visual journalists and other creators.
Since its founding in 1946, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been the Voice of Visual Journalists.
NPPA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism, its creation, editing and distribution in all news media. Our Code of Ethics encourage visual journalists to reflect the highest standards of quality and ethics in their professional performance, in their business practices and in their comportment.
NPPA vigorously advocates for and protects the Constitutional rights of journalists as well as freedom of the press and speech in all its forms, especially as it relates to visual journalism. Its members include still and television photographers, editors, students, and representatives of businesses serving the visual journalism community.
On May 3-5, 2019, there will be a $20 discount to join and also for renewals.
For more information contact Mickey H. Osterreicher at
716.983.7800 or via email [email protected]