House Judiciary subcommittee copyright reform hearing to focus on "Copyright Principles Project" paper

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 11:25am

The Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary will hold its first hearing on comprehensive copyright review this afternoon. It's to be the first in a series of hearings "to determine whether the copyright laws are still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation," says Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

In March (RAIN coverage here) Register of Copyrights for the U.S. Copyright Office Maria Pallante went public with her intention to push Congress for copyright reform, focusing mostly on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Late last month Goodlatte (RAIN coverage here) promised a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law by his committee.

Today's hearing is called "A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project." It will focus on a whitepaper from a group called the Copyright Principles Project (which is online here).

The CPP document, according to TechDirt (here), "looked at 25 possible areas for reform," and "was put together by a wide variety of folks from different backgrounds."

Not enough different backgrounds, according to an editorial in Politico here. Musician David Lowery criticizes that, "There are no creators involved in the Copyright Principles Project at all! The Internet has democratized creativity, but this group of Big Tech and Big Media companies and the lawyers and academics who love them is about as undemocratic a 'consensus' as any artist could imagine."

Goodlatte said, "The Committee is not endorsing the specific recommendations of the Copyright Principles Project. However, it is my hope that this hearing will help demonstrate how interested parties can come together to discuss copyright issues in a productive way."

Goodlatte, Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC), and subcommittee Ranking Member Mel Watt (D-NC) have released statements in advance the hearing here.

NAB reportedly focusing on freshmen House members in royalty fight

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 1:15pm

On Friday we addressed the topic of broadcast radio and royalties, and the real possibility that the matter is the top sticking point for Internet radio's efforts to "normalize" what it pays to use copyright sound recordings (see Friday's RAIN here).

Inside Radio says the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is focusing on freshmen House members in its lobby for support of the anti-royalty resolution, the Local Radio Freedom Act ("That Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station."). Of 109 House members who've signed on, many are newly elected members.

What's more, apparently Virginia NAB member stations have met with House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (who represents that state, pictured). Any bill on this matter would most likely have to get through Goodlatte's committee (The House Judiciary's subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing on the Internet Radio Fairness Act in November that was almost completely taken over by music industry advocates' calls for a broadcast royalty, in RAIN here).

Goodlatte himself says he advocates royalty "fairness" and want to work towards new legislation as a solution to the matter of royalties for broadcast radio. Read more from Inside Radio here.

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