Marking A Win for Free Expression Online, Copyright Office Finds that New Forms of Copyright Would Not Benefit Journalism

The U.S. Copyright Office finds that the publishing industry does not need any new copyright protections, including those like "ancillary copyright" that could reduce free and open internet access.

Today, the U.S. Copyright Office published its report on “Copyright Protections for Press Publishers,” concluding that the publishing industry already benefits from significant protections under existing law and does not require any new copyright protections, including a new ancillary copyright like the one currently implied in the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.” Public Knowledge applauds the Copyright Office for conducting a robust inquiry into the questions and providing balanced, nuanced insights into the issue.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge: 

“The Copyright Office’s report today made one thing crystal clear: Copyright law is neither the source of, nor the solution to, the crisis facing journalism in the United States. The Office also helpfully notes that creating an ancillary right (such as a right to prevent outside linking to content) would go far beyond the bounds of existing copyright law, would likely be unable to accommodate basic free speech protections, and would otherwise raise constitutional concerns. 

“The answer to journalism’s ills is not, and has never been, ‘more copyright.’ Similarly, ‘solutions’ like the ‘Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,’ among their other problems, could also have a negative effect on copyright law, effectively granting major news companies a brand-new right which could prevent users from sharing links online.”

View our blog post, “The Free Press Is A Pillar of Our Democratic Infrastructure — and It’s Crumbling. Policymakers Should Support Local News in the Infrastructure Bill,” to learn more about how we can support journalism. View our other blog post, “We Can Save Local News Without Upending Copyright Law,” for more information on how expanding copyrights for the publishing industry would actually reduce free and open access to the internet.

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.