What They’re Saying: Opposition Continues To Grow Against H.R. 1695, The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren: “It Will Only Serve To Delay Copyright Office Modernization.” “This bill is a vote of ‘no confidence’ in a Librarian who is aggressively pulling the Library and Copyright Office into the 21st century and, by all evidence, justifiably reassigned an ineffective and negligent Register. It will only serve to delay Copyright Office modernization, harm the public, harm content creators, increase tension between the Library and Copyright Office, and harm Copyright Office employees.” (Press Release: “Don’t Trump The Library Of Congress,” 4/24/17)

Kerry Maeve Sheehan, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): “The Copyright Office Isn’t Supposed To Be The Entertainment Industry’s Lobbyist Within The Government.” “Why are advocates for major media and entertainment companies pushing Congress to rush through a bill that would make the U.S.’s top copyright official – the Register of Copyrights – a position appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate? … [T]he Copyright Office isn’t supposed to be the entertainment industry’s lobbyist within the government. Like copyright itself, it’s supposed to serve the public as a whole, and ensure that the interests of copyright owners are balanced with those of the public.” (Kerry Maeve Sheehan, “With Register Of Copyrights Bill, Big Media Seeks Its Own In-House Lobbyist,” The Hill, 4/24/17)

Joshua Lamel, Re:Create Coalition: “The Bill Fails To Make Modernization A Priority…We Urge The House [To] Oppose The Bill.” “Despite widespread agreement that the Copyright Office is in need of modernization, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act fails to make modernization a priority and will do just the opposite. We urge the House to consider these concerns and oppose the bill.” (Press Release: “Re:Create Statement Opposing Register Of Copyrights Bill,” 4/25/17)

Ferras Vinh, Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT): “The Legislation Would Dilute The Ability Of The Librarian Of Congress To Provide Meaningful Oversight.” “H.R. 1695 would actually weaken the ability of the one person best positioned and perhaps most qualified to demand accountability and guide modernization at USCO. The legislation would dilute the ability of the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, to provide meaningful oversight by outsourcing the authority to appoint and dismiss the Register to the president. … CDT believes that Congress should reconsider efforts to curtail Hayden’s authority and instead work with the LOC to implement reforms that will improve the copyright system for rightsholders and users alike.” (Ferras Vinh, “Putting Problems at the Copyright Office in Perspective,” CDT Blog, 4/10/17)

Library Copyright Alliance: The Bill Is “Mystifying.” “The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act is mystifying. Why Congress would voluntarily cede its own confirmed Librarian’s authority to select and oversee a key Congressional advisor on copyright matters to the Executive Branch is hard to imagine.” (Press Release: “National Library Groups Oppose Bill To Make Register Of Copyrights A Presidential Appointee,” 3/23/17)

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly: The Bill “Could Taint The Next Register.” “[H]ere’s what’s most troublesome to me: this bill can so easily be seen as an attempt to keep Maria Pallante’s views on copyright intact at the Copyright Office, that it could very well taint anything that might eventually come from the House Judiciary Committee review. Or worse, it could taint the next register. …  [A]s long as the Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress, a lot of stakeholders believe Carla Hayden should appoint the next register.” (Andrew Albanese, Op-Ed, “Copyright Reform Is Never Happening,” Publishers Weekly, 4/14/17)

Mike Masnick, Techdirt: “Copyright-Centric Industries…Recognize One Of The Best Ways To Protect Their Interests Is To Have Much More Control Over Who Will Be In Charge Of The Copyright Office.” “[The bill] would effectively remove the Copyright Office from the library and remove the public interest mission of the library as a counterbalancing force on the Copyright Office and its recent one-sided focus on the law. The copyright-centric industries – who have always had an uneasy relationship with the internet – recognize one of the best ways to protect their interests is to have much more control over who will be in charge of the Copyright Office. The new bill gives the copyright industry the means to do that.” (Mike Masnick, Op-Ed, “Congress Is Trying To Give Even More Power To Hollywood,” The Verge, 4/3/17)

Dear Colleague Letter From Reps. Joyce Beatty, Bob Brady, G.K. Butterfield, Jim Clyburn, Elijah Cummings, Susan Davis, Diana DeGette, Mike Doyle, Keith Ellison, Marcia Fudge, Zoe Lofgren and Jan Schakowsky: “The policy excuses for this are unpersuasive … Join us in resisting this further expansion of the powers of the president.” (Nancy Scola, “Dozen House Democrats Oppose Register Of Copyrights Switch,” Politico Pro, 4/6/17)