Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider H.R. 1695, the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017.” The bill would take away the power of the Librarian of Congress to appoint the Register of Copyrights, and transfer that power to the President, subject to Senate confirmation. Public Knowledge opposes H.R. 1695 as presently written.
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) announced a proposal to reform the United States Copyright Office. The Committee has requested written comments on its proposal by January 31, 2017 and cautions that it only “marks a starting point for further discussion.”
Today we’re releasing our newest report, “Captured: Systemic Bias at the U.S. Copyright Office.” This report examines the role of industry capture and the revolving door between the content industry and the Copyright Office, and the implications that capture has had on the policies the Office embraces. In the report, we investigate how the Copyright Office.
As we’ve been talking about recently, the Copyright Office has a long history of being bad at its job, and misrepresenting the law it’s charged with understanding. Anyone familiar with tech policy already knows about the debacle that is the exemption process under Section 1201, but it doesn’t end there. Aside from its seemingly never-ending quest to accumulate more power by pulling non-copyright issues under its umbrella, the Office pushes wildly expansive interpretations of copyright law--asserting rights that don’t exist, interpreting consumer safeguards so narrowly as to render them useless, preventing consumers from using assistive technologies, creating “solutions” that nobody asked for, and otherwise making bizarre proclamations that completely ignore relevant facts and law. Over and over again, the Copyright Office bends over backwards to align its positions with the lobbying agendas of the big entertainment conglomerates.