House Overwhelmingly Passes Bipartisan Legislation on Selection Process for Copyright Register

The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 378-48 the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695).  This bipartisan bill – introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) — makes important changes to the selection process for the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights.

Specifically, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act creates a selection panel made up of Members of Congress and the Librarian of Congress.  This panel would be tasked with submitting a list of at least three qualified individuals to the President for his or her consideration. The President would nominate an individual from the selection panel’s list and that individual would be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  The legislation also limits the Register to a 10-year term which is renewable by another Presidential nomination and Senate confirmation.

Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers praised today’s approval of the bill in the statement below.

“The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act is one product of the House Judiciary Committee’s multi-year comprehensive review of our copyright laws.  This bipartisan review, which began under the tenure of the former Librarian of Congress in April 2013, has been focused on ensuring our copyright laws keep pace in the digital age and has included much discussion on the merits of giving the Copyright Office more autonomy with respect to the Library of Congress.

“While this legislation represents an important first step in the Committee’s efforts to update our nation’s copyright laws, we remain committed to working with all members and stakeholders to take additional steps to ensure the U.S Copyright Office is modernized so that it functions efficiently and effectively for all Americans.”

Background: Chairman Goodlatte first announced the House Judiciary Committee’s intention to undertake a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law on April 24, 2013, in a speech before the World Intellectual Property Day celebration at the Library of Congress.  As part of the copyright review, the House Judiciary Committee held 20 hearings which included testimony from 100 witnesses.  Following these hearings, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers invited all prior witnesses of the Committee’s copyright review hearings and other interested stakeholders to meet with Committee staff and provide additional input on copyright policy issues.  In addition, the House Judiciary Committee conducted a listening tour with stops in Nashville, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles where they heard from a wide range of creators, innovators, technology professionals, and users of copyrighted works. In December 2016, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers released the first policy proposal to come out of the Committee’s review of U.S. copyright law.  Additional policy proposals will be released.

More information on the House Judiciary Committee’s comprehensive copyright review can be found here.

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Tell Congress to Vote “Yes” on H.R. 1695

From the APA (published here with permission):

Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the H.R. 1695, The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act

The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee in a nearly unanimous 27 to 1 vote!
It will now go to the full House of Represenatives for a vote.

The bill would elevate the Register of Copyrights (previously held by Maria Pallante) to a position appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. We believe this will provide a more transparent and accountable selection process. The Copyright Office has been operating without a permanent Register since last October. It is urgent that this issue is addressed so efforts to modernize the Copyright Office can move forward.

It is vital that Congress hears from creators about the importance of this issue. APA and organizations representing creators from across the spectrum of the creative community have already voiced their support.

Take Action here through our partners at the Copyright Alliance 
http://copyrightalliance.org/get-involved/add-your-voice/

The vote is due to happen this week or next.  

Here are the members of Congress (members of the Judiciary Committee) who voted for this bill and have shown their support for the creative communities:

Rep. Karen Bass, D, CA-37
Rep. Steve Cohen, D, TN-09
Rep. John Conyers Jr., D, MI-13
Rep. Ted Deutch, D, FL-22
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D, TX-18
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D, WA-07
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D, NY-08
Rep. Ted Lieu, D, CA-33
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D, NY-10
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D, MD-08
Rep. Brad Schneider, D, IL-10
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D, CA-15
Rep. Andy Biggs, R, AZ-05
Rep. Ken Buck, R, CO-04
Rep. Doug Collins, R, GA-09
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R, FL-06
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R, TX-27
Rep. Trent Franks, R, AZ-08
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R, TX-01
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R, VA-06
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R, SC-04
Rep. Darrell Issa, R, CA-49
Rep. Mike Johnson, R, LA-04
Rep. Jim Jordan, R, OH-04
Rep. Raul Labrador, R, ID-01
Rep. Ted Poe, R, TX-02
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R, TX-04

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Copyright Office Extends Comment Period for Moral Rights Study

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a Federal Register notice extending the deadlines for public comment in connection with the Office’s study on the moral rights of attribution and integrity.  Public comments are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 30, 2017, and reply comments are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on May 15, 2017.  Additional information, including instructions on how to submit a comment, is available here.

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Copyright Office Extends Comment Period for Section 512 Study

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a Federal Register notice extending the deadlines for public comment in connection with the Office’s study on section 512 of Title 17. The Office requested additional public comments, as well as the submission of empirical research studies assessing issues related to the operation of section 512 on a quantitative or qualitative basis, on November 8, 2016. Public comments are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on February 21, 2017, and empirical research studies are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 22, 2017. Additional information, including instructions on how to submit a comment, is available here.

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Copyright Office Initiates Study on the Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity

In the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”), Congress for the first time legislated limited moral rights of attribution and integrity to authors of narrowly defined works of visual arts. These rights, following the model suggested in the international Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, mirror rights granted to authors by most industrialized nations of the world. They guarantee to authors of so-called fine arts and exhibition photographs the right to claim or disclaim authorship in a work; limited rights to prevent distortion, mutilation, or modification of a work; and the right, under some circumstances, to prevent destruction of a work that is incorporated into a building. VARA covers only limited, fine art categories of “works of visual art”: paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, still photographs produced for exhibition. Within this group, only single copies or signed and numbered limited editions of 200 or less are actually protected. See http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/martin/art_law/esworthy.htm  The Copyright Office has a report on waiver of the VARA that includes some history and comparison of the VARA to other nation’s “moral rights” protection for artists.

The U.S. Copyright Office is now undertaking a public study to review how existing U.S. law, including provisions found in Title 17 of the U.S. Code and other federal and state laws, protects the moral rights of attribution and integrity and whether any additional protection is advisable in this area. To support the congressional review of the nation’s copyright law and provide thorough assistance to Congress, the Office is seeking public input on a number of questions.

The Office published a Federal Register notice today soliciting written comments from the public. Instructions for submitting comments are available here. Comments must be received no later than11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 9, 2017. Reply comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 24, 2017. The Office may announce one or more public meetings, to take place after written comments are received, by separate notice in the future.

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Sign Copyright Alliance’s Letter to Political Candidates

~From the Copyright Alliance~

Dear Creators,

As election season grows closer and important copyright issues take center stage, please sign our letter reminding candidates of the vital role that copyright, free expression, creativity and innovation continue to play in our lives.

There is no “left” or “right” when it comes to respecting copyright. The creative community stands united in support of a copyright system that has made and continues to make the United States the global leader in the creative arts and the global paradigm for free expression. Our copyright system is not perfect but, like democracy, it is better than the alternatives. It works.

We urge candidates to universally resist attempts to erode the right of creators to determine when and how they share their works in the global marketplace.

– TAKE ACTION –

Make your voice heard on these important matters. You can also read and sign the letter we’ve written here. #YourVoiceForCopyright

Best,
Keith Kupferschmid
CEO, Copyright Alliance

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Sign the Copyright Alliance’s Open Letter to 2016 Political Candidates

Dear Creators,

As election season grows closer and important copyright issues take center stage, please sign our letter reminding candidates of the vital role that copyright, free expression, creativity and innovation continue to play in our lives.

There is no “left” or “right” when it comes to respecting copyright. The creative community stands united in support of a copyright system that has made and continues to make the United States the global leader in the creative arts and the global paradigm for free expression. Our copyright system is not perfect but, like democracy, it is better than the alternatives. It works.

We urge candidates to universally resist attempts to erode the right of creators to determine when and how they share their works in the global marketplace.

Read and sign the letter we’ve written here. Make your voice heard on these important matters. #YourVoiceForCopyright

Best,

Keith Kupferschmid
CEO, Copyright Alliance

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Copyright Office Announces Roundtable Discussions for Section 512 Study

The United States Copyright Office is announcing two two-day public roundtables to gather additional input for its section 512 study. The roundtables, to take place in New York, New York on May 2 and 3, 2016, and Stanford, California on May 12 and 13, 2016, will offer an opportunity for interested parties to comment on topics relating to the DMCA notice-and-takedown system, as set forth in the Notice of Inquiry issued by the Office on December 31, 2015. Those seeking to participate in the roundtables should complete and submit the online form available at http://copyright.gov/policy/section512/public-roundtable/participate-request.html. Requests to participate must be received by the Copyright Office no later than April 4, 2016. For further information about the section 512 study and roundtable, please see http://copyright.gov/policy/section512/.

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Request for Assistance to Oppose OHV Access at Silver Salmon Creek

Bear Drinking at Creek-Copyright Carolyn E. WrightMany photographers have enjoyed the beauty and great bear access at Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark National Park. But part of it is in jeopardy. Specifically, the National Park Service is considering a request from an in-holder in the Silver Salmon Area of Lake Clark National Park for in-holders to be permitted to use an off highway vehicle (“OHV”) on about 50 yards of a previously existing OHV trail for better access fishing along the river and supposedly to support educational programs.

This trail section is not currently included in the 2011 compatibility determination allowing the issuance of a permit for off read vehicle (“ORV”) use by Silver Salmon Creek landowners on 3.4 miles of existing ORV trails. The NPS has authority to issue permits for ORV use on existing ORV trails located in areas upon a finding that such ORV use would be compatible with the purposes and values for which the area was established under 43 CFR 36(g)(2).
Bear and Fishermen-Copyright Carolyn E. WrightHowever, this proposed access would negatively affect the bears’ normal activity. This area is in the path of the riparian banks that the bears use to catch salmon and OHVs in the area would have a moderate to major impact on the bear’s behavior. This potential change places human desires above the bears’ needs. Visitors now walk only about 100 yards to gain access to this beautiful location where fishing and bear viewing can take place cooperatively without noise and sight pollution. No educational process would be served by driving bears away from this habitat. The NPS should not allow for this request to use an OHV on these 50 yards just for better access for fishing along the river.

The NPS is accepting comments on the request for access through the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website through March 31st, 2016. Please submit comments to oppose this expansion using the link below.

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=17&projectID=63247&documentID=71247
Bear Cub Stand by Water-Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

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Copyright Office Extends Comment Period for Section 1201 Study

The United States Copyright Office has published a Federal Register notice extending the deadlines for public comment in connection with the Office’s study on section 1201 of Title 17. The study was announced in a Notice of Inquiry issued by the Office on December 29, 2015. Initial written comments in response to the Notice are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 3, 2016. Reply comments are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1, 2016.

Additional information, including instructions on how to submit a comment, is available here.

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