Big news on U.S. copyright reform. Today, Bob Goodlatte announced that the Judiciary Committee will conduct a comprehensive review of the U.S. law over the upcoming months. Bob Goodlatte is Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary in the U.S. House of Representatives. Goodlatte made this announcement as part of his opening remarks at WIPO World Intellectual Property Day celebrations held at the Library of Congress.
On 20 March 2013, U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante appeared before the Judiciary Committee sharing her message that the U.S. Copyright Act is showing its age and requires attention. She encouraged the Committee to think big and to start considering the next great copyright act. Details of issues to be considered in the next great act are set out in a paper which formed the basis of a lecture Ms. Pallante gave at Columbia University on 4 March 2013.
Chairman Goodlatte stated: There is little doubt that our copyright system faces new challenges today. The Internet has enabled copyright owners to make available their works to consumers around the world, but has also enabled others to do so without any compensation for copyright owners. Efforts to digitize our history so that all have access to it face questions about copyright ownership by those who are hard, if not impossible, to locate. There are concerns about statutory license and damage mechanisms. Federal judges are forced to make decisions using laws that are difficult to apply today. Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers – the American public.
So it is my belief that a wide review of our nation’s copyright laws and related enforcement mechanisms is timely. I am announcing today that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a comprehensive series of hearings on U.S. copyright law in the months ahead. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age. I welcome all interested parties to submit their views and concerns to the Committee.
I also look forward to working with the Register and the Copyright Office that has served Congress well since its creation over 110 years ago. There is much work to be done.