House Judiciary Committee Releases Copyright Proposal and Wants Feedback

For some time, the House Judiciary Committee has been exploring how to update U.S. Copyright Law and the Copyright Office to meet current needs of the digital age. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) have released the first policy proposal to come out of the Committee’s review of U.S. Copyright law.

The plan is to release policy proposals periodically to get feedback on “select, individual issue areas within the larger copyright system that are in need of reform where there is a potential for consensus.” It’s a starting point for discussion and from there legislation will be drafted.

This first proposal will:

  1. Grant the Copyright Office autonomy with respect to the Library of Congress,
  2. The Copyright Office will have autonomy over its budget and technology needs,
  3. The Register will now be nominated by the President through the consent process with a 10-year term limit, then can then be re-nominated,
  4. New positions will be added including Chief Economist, Chief Technologist, and a Deputy Register,
  5. The Copyright Office should add a combination of permanent and ad-hoc advisory committees with members reflecting a wide range of views. Permanent committees should be created to focus on, but not limited to, the registration and recordation system, public outreach efforts, access for the visually impaired, and issues related to
    libraries, museums, and archives. To ensure that a diverse set of voices is represented, committee membership should be limited and the ability of individuals to serve on more than one committee should be limited.
  6. The Copyright Office will maintain an up-to-date digital, searchable database of all copyrighted works and associated copyright ownership information,
  7. That database should include additional metadata for a fee and be made available for a fee,
  8. The office should be authorized to build up reserve accounts and offer other “fee-for-service” options to create revenue to be used for modernization,
  9. A pilot project should be created to increase the federal registration of copyrights,
  10. The Copyright Office should host a small claims system to handle low-value infringement cases as well as bad faith Section 512 notices.

You can read the full proposal at the link above.

This first proposal is some ideas (not legislation, not law) and they’re looking for feedback through written comments from interested stakeholders by January 31, 2017. Those comments will be shared with Committee members and be made public after the comment period ends.

You can submit your thoughts through mail at:

2138 Rayburn House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515