The Push for a New U.S. Copyright Office
On Dec. 8, 2016, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the committee's ranking member, introduced the first policy proposal on copyright reform, which reflects many of the reforms suggested in the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy (CODE) Act. The CODE Act was originally introduced to the House (as HR 4241) by Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) on Dec. 11, 2015, and was reintroduced by Marino and Chu on Feb. 6, 2017 (as HR 890).
Goodlatte and Conyers' policy proposal requested that written comments from stakeholders be submitted by Jan. 31, 2017. As of April 2017, more than 70 interested parties-including the Copyright Alliance, Copyright Clearance Center, Motion Picture Association of America, Authors Guild, Library Copyright Alliance, and Electronic Frontier Foundation- have essentially agreed that the U.S. Copyright Office is in dire need of modernization and upgraded IT systems, but their opinions differ on whether the office should be separated from the Library of Congress (LC).
The proposal includes making the Register of Copyrights' appointment subject to a nomination and consent process, creating copyright advisory committees, performing IT upgrades, and developing a searchable digital database of historical and current copyright ownership information. The Copyright Office is also encouraged to review the LC data center being built in Virginia to determine if it would match or exceed what a private sector provider could offer it.
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