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Reps. Chu, Marino Move to Modernize Copyright Office

June 4, 2015
Press Release

Washington D.C.— Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) and Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10) released a discussion draft of new landmark legislation designed to modernize and improve the United States Copyright Office.

The draft legislation, Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act or CODE Act, addresses the longstanding need for specific reforms regarding the way the U.S. Copyright Office operates. Representatives Chu and Marino are both senior members on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Copyright Office.

This draft balances concerns of the public, creators and stakeholders in the copyright community.

Congresswoman Judy Chu:

“We must act to bring the Copyright Office into the modern age. The copyright industries are responsible for millions of jobs and billions of dollars in our economy, yet the office responsible is running on analog in a digital world. We need a Copyright Office that serves the needs of owners, users, and the American public. This includes giving the office independence and sound legal ground to perform its core mission to administer the Copyright Act. I am proud to introduce this draft legislation today to continue the discussion and finally bring the Copyright Office into the 21st century. I look forward to working with Members and interested stakeholders to ensure that we can work toward a consensus bill that reflects the priorities of all industries involved.”

Congressman Marino said the following of the CODE Act:

“This effort has been bipartisan from the start and we intend to keep it that way as we thoroughly seek comment, advice and provisional suggestions from key partners in the copyright space. However, Rep. Chu and I maintain the most critical component in the bill’s success is maintaining its balance and providing the U.S. Copyright Office the autonomy it needs to elevate our country’s copyright system to one that is efficient, fair and exemplary to the rest of the world. Some may say this a tough sell in Congress but we have laid the groundwork for a solid piece of legislation that everyone can get on board with."

The following organizations issued the following statements in support of this discussion draft:

The Software & Information Industry Association:

“Few other government offices are more important to the growth of creativity and commercial activity in our nation than the U.S. Copyright Office.  Despite this, many of the services it provides have failed to keep pace with technology and the marketplace.  The Office is significantly understaffed, underfunded and forced to use the Library of Congress’ antiquated information technology systems.  Nearly everyone agrees the Office cannot continue operating under its current structure within the Library of Congress and is in dire need of additional funding and autonomy from the Library.

“SIIA applauds Reps. Marino and Chu for recognizing that the status quo is unacceptable and working to build consensus around steps to modernize the Copyright Office.  Their bipartisan draft would make tremendous operational improvements that would benefit copyright owners and users, the tech industry and the public.  Because this issue is so essential for ensuring U.S. economic opportunity and growth, we intend to work closely with Reps. Marino and Chu, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Nadler and others to move legislation forward.”

The Copyright Alliance:

“The Copyright Alliance congratulates Representatives Chu and Marino for their leadership in releasing a discussion draft of the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act (CODE Act). The discussion draft thoughtfully outlines how the structure and role of the Copyright Office might be updated to serve the needs of the public in the digital age. The CODE Act draft carefully considers a variety of legal and practical issues involved in modernizing the Copyright Office so that it may serve as a full partner to Congress in more nimbly addressing the complex issues presented by the rapidly evolving marketplace for copyrighted works. The members of the Copyright Alliance look forward to engaging in further conversation with other stakeholders and with members of the House Judiciary Committee and the Administration about this draft to ensure that all issues relevant to the modernization of this important office are fully considered.”

Reps. Chu and Marino expect to conduct conversations with stakeholders about this proposal in the months to come. A copy of the discussion draft can be found here. A section by section breakdown can be found here