Photographers and other artistic creators get the short end of the stick. You ask, “What the heck are you talking about Bob?” That would be the CASE Act, which is in the US Senate at this moment. S. 1273, aka the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act, is before the Senate. I’ll explain below and show you how you can be of help.


At this moment a photographer or other artistic creator who has work stolen from them has no recourse. If someone is using your photography image without your permission it has to be adjudicated in federal court. This can cost well over $300,000.

As Professional Photographers of America (PPA) CEO David Trust says, “It’s not fair! If I were to go in a store and steal a $1.25 candy bar (not that I would do that, by the way) the owner could call the police. If someone steals a thousand, or five thousand dollars, worth of imagery from a photographic artist there is no recourse within the current copyright system. Passing the CASE Act would give photographers and other creators a small claims option.”

The problem

The CASE Act recently was passed in a bipartisan vote of 410 to 6 in the House of Representatives. It has bipartisan support in the Senate. Unfortunately there is one senator, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who has put a hold on bringing the vote to the floor.

Thousands of photographers raise their index fingers to bring attention to #justone Senator with a hold on a bill that can help creators of all types. Image courtesy of PPA.

One senator!

What can you do to help? You can help put pressure on Sen. Wyden to lift his hold and let the bill come to the floor for a vote. Take a picture of yourself holding up one finger (index finger please) with a serious look on your face. Not a scolding look or angry look, just serious. Post this image to all your social media accounts with the hashtags #justone and #caseact.

Raise your index finger in a selfie and hashtag the image #justone and #caseact and share on social media.

Also ask your voting age friends, fellow artists and art groups, and other parties who are interested in seeing artists have a fair system in place weigh in.

Contact Sen. Wyden

You can also contact Sen. Wyden’s office via phone and email asking that he lift the hold as well. Email your comments on legislation here or contact him via mail or phone here:

  • Portland, OR office: 911 NE 11th Ave., Ste 630, Portland, OR 97232; (503) 326-7525.
  • Salem, OR office: 707 13th St, SE, Ste 285, Salem, OR 97301; (503) 589-4555.

Fourteen years of work

This copyright legislation has been in the works for over fourteen years. PPA has been leading the charge working with fellow art organizations. Let’s not stall here. Do your part.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob