Re:Create Recap – October 27, 2016

Register Of Copyrights Departs Copyright Office. Maria Pallante is no longer the Register of Copyrights — the top position in the Copyright Office — reports Roll Call this week. Karyn Temple Claggett, the current associate register, will lead the office in the interim as the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden plans to conduct a search for a new permanent register. Following the news, Re:Create Coalition Executive Director Josh Lamel issued a statement thanking Pallante for her service and “efforts on behalf of digitization and improved information technology.” He added, “It is our hope that the next Register will continue her work to modernize the Office and be an advocate for the public interest in copyright.”

How Big Studios Have Co-Opted Comic Creators’ Work. An October 24 podcast from New Hampshire Public Radio takes a look at Jack Kirby, the creator of iconic comic characters like Captain America, and how he took on Marvel Studios for the rights to his creations and fair compensation. Kirby, who was also part of Stan Lee’s creative team, often did not receive credit or creative control. After the Copyright Act’s revisions in the 1970s, Marvel Studios fought with Kirby and his heirs for decades over creator credits, physical artwork, financial compensation and residuals for his work.

What The Loss Of The Apple Headphone Jack Means For Consumer Rights.
Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone jack “reveals the slow erosion of consumer ownership of and control over the products they buy,” according to R Street Institute’s Sasha Moss and Case Western Reserve University professor Aaron Perzanowski in a post for Inside Sources. The new Lightning jack not only restricts the type of headphones that can be used but also imposes new software checks “to see if your device is licensed, if it’s running the latest firmware or even if an app maker or copyright holder has restricted playback.” Moss and Perzanowski caution that consumers should understand that software, as protected under the DMCA, can undermine personal control of consumer products.

EFF: Hollywood And The Copyright Office: A Picture-Perfect Couple In Set Top Box Debate. In Newly-Released Documents Show Hollywood Influenced the Copyright Office’s Comments on Set-Top Boxes, Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Ernesto Falcon writes about the results of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the United States Copyright Office. “[F]or months the Motion Picture Association of America and its allies, representing major TV and movie studios, aggressively lobbied the Copyright Office to take sides in the set-top box debate. Meanwhile, it appears that the Office made no attempt to seek other views…” Falcon wrote, while concluding, “An agency that listens only to the views of some industry groups without seeking out additional opinions cannot be a reliably neutral expert for Congress or the FCC.”

The Democratization And Digitization Of Libraries. The October 27 issue of The New York Review of Books examines how a new presidential administration could “open an opportunity to reorient literature and learning in a way that was envisioned by the Founders of our country, one that would bring books within the reach of the entire citizenry.” The magazine highlights the internet for its ability to spread information and knowledge yet laments that corporations have halted copyright’s constitutional provisions in favor of profits.