July 30, 2010 – To further strengthen the importance of copyright protections, APA National President Theresa Raffetto, APA National CEO Stephen Best, and APA National VP and Advocacy Chairman Michael Grecco attended important advocacy meetings in Washington DC July 28th and July 29th. Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) from the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, addressed the Copyright Alliance membership meeting the first day. Ms. Espinel agreed that infringement of all IP, including visual art, is a major concern of the Obama administration. All branches of the government must work together to ensure copyright protections are strong and enforced to combat the problems facing counterfeiting and piracy of IP around the world. “Hearing her speak was a perfect follow-up to the filing submitted by APA to the IPEC,” says President Raffetto.
Earlier on July 28th, APA held a meeting with the U.S. Copyright Office that included General Council David Carson and the Chief of Visual Arts and Recordation Division John Ashley, along with other U.S. Copyright Office staff. The topic of orphan works was a critical discussion point and one that APA insists needs to be clarified and written to reflect true definitions of what is an orphan work when a bill is reintroduced. APA believes the previous bills on orphan work back in 2008 were terribly weak in defining orphan works and would have allowed a “rights grab” of images. With the near completion of the PLUS Registry, APA expressed its belief that the PLUS Registry should be the “official” registry that would allow a search before declaring an image an orphan work.
On Thursday, July 29, the APA representatives met with counsel from both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Included in those meetings were Counsel to Representative Lamar Smith, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Counsel to Senator Diane Feinstein, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
APA was honored and pleased to meet with so many influential people on this important trip. Announcing that the rights of our members, and other photographers and visual artists, need to be enforced and strengthened was the overall theme of the meetings. As always, APA continues to be a strong ADVOCATE for your rights.
Stephen Best, APA National CEO