House Judiciary chairman promises copyright law hearings

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Issue Date: 
Apr 26 2013 - 11:05am

From Issue:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (pictured) says he'll lead his panel to "conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law over the coming months," likely (at least partially) in response to Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante's copyright reform (reported in RAIN here). Goodlatte spoke at the World Intellectual Property Day at the Library of Congress.

"The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age," Goodlatte said.

Among other issues, "there are concerns about statutory license and damage mechanisms. Federal judges are forced to make decisions using laws that are difficult to apply today. Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers - the American public."

Last year Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), a member of the Judiciary Committee, introduced the Internet Radio Fairness Act (read more in RAIN here). A companion bill was introduced to the Senate by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D). The bill calls to change the legal standard by which judges determine the statutory royalty rate for streaming radio. The royalty rates for most other, related uses of copyright sound recordings use the standards set in section 801(b) of the Copyright Act. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act made an exception for Internet radio, requiring rates to be set to what the judges felt a hypothetical "willing buyer and willing seller" would agree. The law would bring Internet radio in line with media like cable- and satellite radio, requiring rates to be set along 801(b) guidelines.

The bill has yet to be re-introduced to this year's Congress.

Read more in The Verge here.

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