The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hold a hearing on Wednesday consisting of a lone witness; the Register of Copyrights, head of the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress. In testimony released today, Register Maria Pallente says, “I think it is time for Congress to think about the next great copyright act, which will need to be more forward thinking and flexible than before.”
A source told Billboard the hearing is “part of a coordinated, slow march” by House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte and Register Maria Pallante toward reforming copyright.
On its face, the statement is significant for its boldness and its blunt call for an update to the DMCA. But Mike Masnick at Techdirt is skeptical:
In the end, she is thinking big, but there’s a lot to worry about in here, along with a few good things. Perhaps of even greater concern than Pallante’s thoughts, is that, for the time being any process in Congress will be lead by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. While Goodlatte is slightly better than Lamar Smith — and, as he constantly reminds people in Silicon Valley, his son works at Facebook, Goodlatte has a long history of siding with the maximalists, and having little grasp of the importance of the public benefit in copyright.
Also telling is that nowhere in the entire speech did she mention anything about SOPA. Pallante was an unabashed supporter of SOPA, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill back in 2011. The fact that the public rose up against it highlights how these issues have become a significant concern to the public, and one would hope that it would lead Pallante to make clear that any such discussion needs to take that into account.
“The Register’s Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law” by Maria Pallante