This week, the House Judiciary Committee voted overwhelmingly to advance the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.). In particular, this legislation would require the head of the U.S. Copyright Office (the Register), currently appointed by the Librarian of Congress, to be approved through the advice and consent process of Congress and be given a 10-year term limit. Moreover, the Register would only be able to be removed for cause, an item of note given the concerns of Goodlatte and Conyers after the somewhat abrupt departure of the most recent Register, Maria Pallante.
In a joint statement, Goodlatte and Conyers said, “In the past, the authority of the Copyright Office to conduct rulemakings has been challenged in the courts because the Register is not currently presidentially appointed. This bipartisan legislation would put to rest, once and for all, that question, and ensures that the Register is accountable to Congress.”
More information about this bill and other copyright proposals under consideration are available from the committee here.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: March 31, 2017