as register is marred by a number of controversial positions, including her strong sup-
port of the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and other “bad ideas” on copyright
reform. “Today’s Copyright Office needs someone who isn’t just representing
Hollywood’s viewpoint and recognizes that copyright itself is supposed to benefit the
public first and foremost,” Masnick wrote, “something Pallante denies.”
But multiple sources suggest that Pallante’s removal wasn’t necessarily over dif-
fering views on copyright policy, but rather was a function of Hayden getting the
Library of Congress’s house in order. After all, in a 2015 report Pallante strongly urged
lawmakers to remove the Copyright Office from under the purview of the Library of
Congress and to make her the head of an independent agency. Sources tell PW that
Hayden couldn’t be expected to lead the Copyright Office forward with a subordinate
pushing Congress for independence.
“If Congress wants to remove the Copyright Office, it can do so,” explains one
source. “But for now, it is part of the Library of Congress.” Though for how much
longer remains to be seen. See #7, below.
7. Copyright Reform
After more than two years of hearings and testimony, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob
Goodlatte and ranking member John Conyers
released their first public policy proposal for U.S.
copyright reform in December. Their first salvo: a
push to establish an independent, and autonomous
In the proposal, the first to be presented to the
House Judiciary Committee following a recently
concluded review of the nation’s copyright laws,
Goodlatte and Conyers, who led the copyright-review panel, concluded that an independent
Copyright Office would be better suited to managing a 21st-century copyright regime. Under their
proposal, the register of copyrights position would
become a separate, term-limited post ( 10 years),
subject to Senate “advise and consent” rules.
Currently, the Copyright Office resides in the
Library of Congress, and the librarian of Congress
has sole discretion to hire or fire the register.
In addition to backing independence for the
Copyright Office, Goodlatte and Conyers also proposed expanding the Copyright Office’s bureaucracy with new positions, including a chief economist, chief technologist, and deputy register, and
also proposed to establish a small claims tribunal
within the Copyright Office. The committee is now
seeking written public comments on the proposal
by Jan. 31, 2017.
The recommendations from Goodlatte and
Conyers are not unexpected. Both legislators were supporters of recently ousted
register Maria Pallante, who had advocated independence for the Copyright Office.
And their proposal follows two similar recent proposals in Congress. In July, Rep.
Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, introduced H.R. 5757, dubbed the CASE
Act (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement), which proposed the
“It’s a genuine
pleasure to read a
story of detection
that depends purely
on observation and
to reach its
— Publishers Weekly