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US creatives welcome copyright reform proposal

February 6, 2017

By Colin Mann

CreativeFuture, the grass-roots coalition which unites those who value American creativity and innovation in the fight against content theft, has welcomed a proposal from the House Judiciary Committee, led by Congressman Goodlatte and Congressman Conyers, that “identifies important reforms to help ensure the Copyright Office keeps pace in the digital age”.

“On behalf of creatives everywhere, we support the proposal because the centrepiece of any strong copyright system is a strong Copyright Office. The standing of the Copyright Office should reflect the value of the economic and cultural contributions of the creative economy that it supports,” said CreativeFuture.

“CreativeFuture applauds the Judiciary Committee for giving serious consideration to the steps necessary to ensure a proper framework for a 21st Century Copyright Office,” it added.

“Regardless of craft, creatives are united in the belief that copyright is the legal engine that protects creativity and promotes free speech and free expression. Copyright gives creatives confidence that they can safely and securely share their work globally. And those who do create frequently reinvest the rewards of their labour back into the next project and the next – allowing creativity to continue to flourish,” said Ruth Vitale, CEO, CreativeFuture.

On December 8, Goodlatte and Conyers released the first policy proposal to come out of the House Judiciary Committee’s review of US Copyright law.

In a joint statement, Goodlatte and Conyers said having listened over as number of years to the views and concerns of stakeholders from all sides of the copyright debate, it was now time to move forward into the next stage. “We intend to periodically release policy proposals on select, individual issue areas within the larger copyright system that are in need of reform where there is a potential for consensus. These policy proposals are not meant to be the final word on reform in these individual issue areas, but rather a starting point for further discussion by all stakeholders, with the goal of producing legislative text within each issue area,” they said.

“Today, we are releasing our first policy proposal, which identifies reforms to modernise the Copyright Office so that it can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Among the reforms in this document are granting the Copyright Office autonomy with respect to the Library of Congress, requiring the Copyright Office to maintain an up-to-date digital, searchable database of all copyrighted works and associated copyright ownership information, and many others reforms.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte first announced the Committee’s intention to undertake a comprehensive review of US copyright law on April 24, 2013, in a speech before the World Intellectual Property Day celebration at the Library of Congress. As part of the copyright review, the House Judiciary Committee has held 20 hearings which included testimony from 100 witnesses.

Following these hearings, Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers invited all prior witnesses of the Committee’s copyright review hearings and other interested stakeholders to meet with Committee staff and provide additional input on copyright policy issues. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee conducted a listening tour with stops in Nashville, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles where they heard from a wide range of creators, innovators, technology professionals, and users of copyrighted works.

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