Re:Create Raises Concerns With Goodlatte-Conyers Copyright Office Proposal

WASHINGTON —The Re:Create Coalition submitted comments in response to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers’ Copyright Office policy proposal, which was unveiled in December. See below for highlighted excerpts from the Re:Create Coalition’s filing:

“We are strong supporters of a needed and overdue modernization of the Copyright Office to meet the needs of today’s digital environment. As you have proposed, the Copyright Office should maintain an up-to-date digital, searchable database of all copyrighted works and associated copyright information…

“However, giving more autonomy to the Copyright Office is not the right solution to the Office’s problems. There are many reasons that the Copyright Office has struggled to keep up with the technological demands of the digital era, including lack of resources and technical expertise. It is also due to lack of proper stewardship at both the Copyright Office and Library as a whole. But independence will not solve those problems. In fact, it may create more problems and delays as it is forced to organize under a new order. Rather, we would recommend that Congress appropriate the necessary resources to the Office and both partner with and exercise oversight over the Librarian and Register on proper implementation of a modernization plan…

“Finally, we would like to express our strong opposition to creating a small claims court at the Copyright Office. While we applaud your recognition that bad faith Section 512 notices are a problem that needs to be addressed, this is neither the right forum nor way to do it. There are legitimate Constitutional concerns about having a judicial process in the Legislative Branch that will likely tie up the Office in years of litigation, distracting from the need to modernize the Office.

“As the proposal is written, only an uninformed defendant would ever submit to ‘voluntary’ jurisdiction, causing small use of the process and, likely, allowing copyright knowledgeable industries to take advantage of average non-copyright knowledgeable Americans. Additionally, we have serious due process questions about the structure, including the appeals process and lack of access to the judicial branch on what is a judicial issue. Given these questions, the Copyright Office does not seem like an appropriate place for a small claims process…”

Re:Create’s full comments can be viewed here.

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