Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) announced a proposal to reform the United States Copyright Office. The Committee has requested written comments on its proposal by January 31, 2017 and cautions that it only “marks a starting point for further discussion.”
The following can be attributed to Public Knowledge General Counsel Ryan Clough:
“Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers are right to focus on fixing the Copyright Office, to bring it into the digital age and ensure that it serves all stakeholders in the copyright system. However, we do have some significant questions and potential concerns about this proposal. Like any other government agency — particularly one with a documented history of regulatory capture — the Copyright Office needs rigorous accountability and oversight. It is unclear whether the current proposal would eliminate all supervision by the Librarian of Congress, making the Copyright Office a free-floating regulatory agency housed within the legislative branch.
“The proposal to create a special small claims process for copyright owners will require substantial further deliberation. It is critical that Congress not create a new litigation process that copyright trolls could hijack. It is also unclear why this new forum for lawsuits should be housed within the legislative branch as opposed to other federal courts.
“We applaud Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers for soliciting public feedback about their proposal, and look forward to working within this open process.”
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