Copyright Modernization

Our Copyright System is Outdated

Our current copyright system is built upon the 1976 Copyright Act and is ill-suited to meets the needs of photographers working in today’s digital workplace. The United States Copyright Office is tasked with registering the images of our nation’s creators as required by copyright law but is itself hopelessly underfunded and ill-equipped for the task.

Nature photographers are hit especially hard by this situation. The Copyright Office has great difficulty quickly and efficiently registering the images of high volume photographers like nature photographers at a reasonable cost.

The entire copyright system needs to be modernized.

NANPA is Leading Efforts to Modernize the Copyright System

NANPA is a leading force in efforts to modernize our out-dated copyright system. Working within the Coalition of Visual Artists and as a member of the Copyright Alliance, NANPA is pushing for a modern system that matches the way photographers actually work. For example:

  • NANPA has helped fight efforts by the Copyright Office to decrease the number of images photographers my submit in a group registration.
  • When the Copyright Office proposed increasing the cost of a group registration of photographs from $55 to $100, NANPA led the fight by drafting the Coalition’s Comment in response to the proposal.
  • When the Copyright Office asked for comments on how it might modernize its own procedures, NANPA representatives took the lead in drafting a Comment and set out a comprehensive vision for a modernized copyright system.
  • NANPA is working actively with the Copyright Alliance in efforts to update copyright laws.

Working Toward A Modern Copyright System

NANPA is working toward a copyright system that will meet the needs of today’s nature photographer working in the digital age. For example, NANPA is advocating for the following:

  • Pass the CASE Act to establish a “small claims” process as an additional remedy for smaller infringements.
  • Eliminate the requirement that photographers must identify publication status in their copyright registration.
  • If publication status is still required, specify that any mistakes in identifying publication status is a harmless error that will not otherwise invalidate a photographer’s copyright registration. Also allow photographers to submit published and unpublished images in a single registration.
  • Keep the cost of registering groups of photographs inexpensive and if necessary, allow for a “deferred examination” option in which the examination can be deferred to a later time to keep Copyright Office costs down and thus allow for a much lower registration fee.
  • Build a registration system around the way photographers and artists actually work, such as by allowing for direct registration of images and subsequent tracking of image copyright status from within software such as Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, etc.
  • Protect the stripping of an image’s IPTC metadata by internet and social media entities.

If you would like to read more about what a modernized copyright system might look like, check out the Comment of the Coalition of Visual Artists, which NANPA took a lead role in drafting.