Members state opposition to the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act during floor debate.
Rep. Jared Polis (CO): “It effectively politicizes the Office of the head of the Copyright Office.” “Under this bill, the position of Register of Copyrights will be yet another political position and will, frankly, stall one of the great projects they are embarking on, the modernization effort that is desperately needed at the Copyright Office. The last thing we need is political cronyism in the Copyright Office…After the obscene wasting of taxpayer dollars, do we really want to provide for more politically motivated decision making within the Office of the Copyright? I think the answer is no; that is why I oppose the rule. I oppose the bill.”
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA): “The Library is finally making progress…This bill would actually disrupt that progress.” “Despite all the rhetoric, this bill does really just one thing: it takes the appointment of the Register away from Dr. Carla Hayden, the most qualified Librarian we have ever had at the Library of Congress…the potential for empowering special interests in this bill is very high. We ought to say ‘no’ to this bill.”
Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA): “This waste of taxpayer dollars is unacceptable, and any legislation to reform the Office ought to have successful modernization as its primary goal. This legislation fails that test.” “I was very disturbed to learn recently that six years and nearly $12 million were wasted on yet another failed government IT project, this time at the Copyright Office. This waste of taxpayer dollars is unacceptable, and any legislation to reform the Office ought to have successful modernization as its primary goal. This legislation fails that test. H.R. 1695 sets back the clock on considerable progress that has been made already under the leadership of the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.”
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA): “Our copyrights are too important to take lightly.” “The system for the appointment of the Register of Copyrights has long been in place, and selection of the head of the Office of Copyrights has been within the purview of the Librarian of Congress, this Nation’s top librarian. The system is not broken, but the entire system, including the Library of Congress, is in need of congressional attention and upgrade…Modernization of the Library has been discussed for the past 10 years. Let’s do it comprehensively. Let’s not start off with this proposal which, quite frankly, doesn’t pass the smell test at this time.”
Rep. Robert Brady (PA): “This bill is a solution in search of a problem.” “Dr. Carla Hayden, appointed by President Obama, has been on the job less than a year and deserves the opportunity to complete the IT modernization of the Copyright Office before this authority is taken away from her…Dr. Hayden has made excellent process in reforming the Copyright Office, knocking two years off the estimated time to complete its modernization…This measure not only impedes the progress Dr. Hayden is currently making but will also undo the strides that have already been made. Simply put, this bill does nothing to improve the operations of the Copyright Office.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR): “H.R. 1695, however, might unnecessarily politicize the Copyright Office and the position of the Register…” “As the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Library of Congress Caucus, I care deeply about the services and the mission of the Library, including the U.S. Copyright Office…and I strongly support efforts to modernize and reform existing practices. H.R. 1695, however, might unnecessarily politicize the Copyright Office and the position of the Register and could make its work less transparent and less neutral to all parties. We should allow Dr. Carla Hayden to continue to guide the modernization process by selecting a Register, a decision enjoyed by all of her predecessors to hold the office of Librarian.”