Tag Archives: modernization

Copyright Office Releases “Copyright and Visual Works: The Legal Landscape of Opportunities and Challenges”

The U.S. Copyright Office has submitted a letter to Congress detailing the results of the Office’s public inquiry on how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations, are registered, monetized, and enforced under the Copyright Act of 1976. The Office sought commentary on the marketplace for these visual works, as well as observations regarding the real or potential obstacles that creators and users of visual works face when navigating the digital landscape. A number of stakeholders raised specific issues they face on a regular basis regarding current copyright law and practices that fall within three general categories: (1) difficulties with the registration process; (2) challenges with licensing generally and monetizing visual works online; and (3) general enforcement obstacles.

The Copyright Office takes these concerns seriously and has already taken steps to address them where it can, most notably with the ongoing Office modernization efforts in preparation for a wholesale technological upgrade to the Office’s systems. In other areas, the Office finds that legislative action is the best solution. The Office continues to strongly support the idea of a small copyright claims tribunal, as well as a legislative solution to the orphan works conundrum. Congress’ action in these two areas would go far to alleviate several important concerns raised by visual artists.

The letter, public comments, and background material are available on the Copyright Office website here

Maria Pallante’s Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Maria Pallante is the current Register of Copyrights and Director of the United States Copyright Office. Her testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee was, as expected, full of ideas for modernization of the copyright office which she sees as a top priority.

Maria also suggests that various issues including Music Licensing, Small Claims, Felony Streaming, Orphan works, Resale Royalty, Section 108 reform, improvements for persons with print impairment, and presumptions regarding section 1201 exceptions, have been studied by the Office and are ripe for legislative action. Her testimony additionally identifies other issues where the Office will conduct further study, and issues as to which the Office suggests action is needed but must occur in the courts or by other means.

Her remarks also included the announcement of the creation of The U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index. This Fair Use Index is a project undertaken by the Office of the Register in support of the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement of the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). Fair use is a longstanding and vital aspect of American copyright law. The goal of the Index is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable to the public by presenting a searchable database of court opinions, including by category and type of use (e.g., music, internet/digitization, parody).

You can access the entire testimony here.