Today, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden announced her appointment of Karyn A. Temple as the new Register of Copyrights, a role she has filled on an acting basis since 2016. As the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, Ms. Temple will oversee the Office’s administration of major areas of copyright law, such as registration by copyright owners and various statutory licenses, as well as the advice the Office provides to Congress.
Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed comments with the Copyright Office in its rulemaking, as part of the recently passed Music Modernization Act, to establish a “safe harbor” protocol for non-commercial use of pre-1972 sound recordings. Public Knowledge encourages the Office to make this safe harbor process accessible to average Americans.
It’s almost axiomatic that independent artists face unique difficulties in the digital environment. Unlicensed commercial use of creative works is not uncommon, and the money that those uses theoretically represent in unpaid licensing fees can be substantial. So it’s understandable that artists would push for a system that makes it cheaper and easier for them to recover royalties for infringements of their copyrights.
Today, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act, which would establish an information database for musical works and sound recordings that users and services could search and would make music licensing more efficient.
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.