CopyrightX summit: Keynote by Maria Strong

CopyrightX summit
Keynote: Maria
Strong, Director of Policy & International Affairs, U.S. Copyright Office
Update on elements
of protection, exceptions/permissible uses. 
Biggest news in 20 years: Music Moernization Act, including many
recommendations from the CO.  Blanket
license for digital music providers: new way for tech platforms and music
providers to unite online. CLASSICS Act: pre-72 recordings partially into the
federal © system, with some exceptions/limitations.  Requires a lot of rulemaking by CO, including
exceptions for noncommercial use and designating licensing coordinators.  New spirit of cooperation and momentum in
Washington.  Could this lead to more
openness to action on things like felony streaming of infringing public
performances?  That died along with SOPA
but maybe there’s an appetite for it now, or for something on small ©
claims.  $350,000 is average ©
litigation.  New legislation was just
introduced in House and Senate on small claims.
DMCA: continue to
work on policy study examining effectiveness of §512.  92,000 comments received and several
roundtables.  Often oversimplified by 2
sides.  Content folks feel 512 is broken
and tech feel its fine. Large content providers have different concerns than
small providers, and so too with tech companies. Many different kinds of users.
Moral rights: 30
years since we joined Berne under a “patchwork” of moral rights. Tech changes, Dastar, state law changes, new int’l
treaties chane things.  Did notice &
comment.  Report identified key
principles: maintain First Amendment & fair use, copyright’s limited term,
importance of attribution to creators. US legal framework provides important
protection, but there’s room for improvement if Congress wants.  Identifies several legislative paths:
amending the Lanham Act; VARA fixes; §1202 copyright management tweaks in new
1202A; federal right of publicity.
Proposed changes to
Compendium of office practices; currently seeking comments. Also post review
letters for appeals from denial of registration.  And we’ve prepared a Fair Use index:
summaries of over 200 fair use cases, searchable by court and type of
work. 
Int’l: WIPO.
Broadcasting Treaty negotiations, going on for more than 20 years at WIPO.  US supports a signal-based approach to the
treaty. More guidance coming in October. 
Second, IGC (intergovt’l committee) tackling connections b/t cultural
identity and mobility. Current focus: distinction b/t traditional knowledge and
traditional cultural expressions and possibility of different treatment of
those.  Most important politically:
decide on recommendation on scope of group’s mandate.
Activities related
to exceptions/permissible uses: Marrakesh Treaty was adopted rapidly.  US amended law to comply, last October, just
in effect on May 8.  From nondramatic
literary works, expanded coverage. New 121A deals with export and import of
accessible works by authorized entities.
1201: Policy study
to streamline the process, which is long/arduous [co-signed!].  Proposed some streamlining for renewals of
unopposed exemptions, which was implemented. Split process into looking at unopposed
v. new proposals/data. Many of the new exemptions built on prior rulemaking.
Recommended 9 classes for exemptions. 20% faster than previous. 329 pages this
time versus 400+ last time.  It’s a
fulltime yearlong process; we realize it’s challenging for participants.
MMA: permits
unoncommercial uses of pre-72 sound recordings not being commercially exploited
under certain circumstances.  CO now
accepts Notices of Noncommercial Use: document users can file to become
eligible for safe harbor. CO doesn’t verify information in NNU.  User has to conduct good faith, reasonable
search & rightsowner must not object w/in 90 days of filing of NNU.  Detailed instructions for good faith search:
example—for recordings of recognized Alaska Native or American Indian tribes,
search must be done through contacting the relevant tribe, association, or
holding institution.
Section 108:
discussion document stating CO’s belief that 108 needs revision for libraries
and archives.  Wanted a framework for
further discussion among stakeholders and Congress: preservation,
security.  CO provided model statutory
language to jumpstart the discussion.
Working on better
public access to records. Digitized over 41 million © card catalogs, 1870-1977.
Now browsable. MMA outreach: we have tutorials, dedicated website,
participation in events around the country.
Q re digitization: did
you get everything?
A: we got all of one
type of record, but there are 2 other types we’re digitizing.
Q: museum
exceptions?
A: a major
modification we’d like to make is to include museums specifically, not just
libraries/archives.
Q: moving CO out of
Library of Congress?
A: awkward Q! Two
years ago, there was uncertainty when Register left and House passed a bill to
make the Register a Senate appointed position. That didn’t pass and hasn’t been
reintroduced. Near future: that issue is probably not going to be engaged.  [I think there’s a huge separation of powers
issue in giving the CO rulemaking etc. powers as an entity in the legislative
branch but that’s not a political or policy question in the ordinary sense and
there’s no reason Strong needs to have a position on it.]

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