House Judiciary Committee Sets Up First Hearing On Copyright Reform

from the and-away-we-go dept

With comprehensive copyright reform back on the table in the US, and with Rep. Bob Goodlatte looking to lead the process, he's hosting the first House Judiciary Committee hearings on the matter, with the initial focus focused on finding consensus. They're starting with five witnesses, all of whom participated in the Copyright Principles Project, which we wrote about a few years ago when it came out. At the time, we wondered if anyone would pay attention to it, so it's actually great to see that it's front and center in this discussion.

That document -- which was put together by a wide variety of folks from different backgrounds -- looked at 25 possible areas for reform. All five witnesses participated in the process:
  • Jon Baumgarten, retired Proskauer Rose attorney and former General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office (noted litigator on copyright matters including music and movie issues)
  • Laura Gasaway, Professor, University of North Carolina Law School and co-chair of the Section 108 Study Group (libraries)
  • Daniel Gervais, Director, Vanderbilt Law School Intellectual Property Program (international issues)
  • Pam Samuelson, Professor, University of California at Berkeley Law School (convenor of the CPP and copyright law scholar)
  • Jule Sigall, Assistant General Counsel for Copyright, Microsoft and former Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs of the U.S. Copyright Office (tech)
Having Samuelson on the list is the key one, as she was the driving force behind the project and is one of, if not the most, knowledgeable folks concerning copyright issues around. I recognize that any copyright reform process could go seriously off the rails once certain lobbyists go crazy over it, but I'm going to take an optimistic approach here and hope for the best. Starting from this position with the folks who were involved in this process is a good place to start, though we'll see where it goes from here.

Filed Under: bob goodlatte, copyright, copyright principles project, copyright reform, daniel gervais, house judiciary committee, jon baumgarten, jule sigall, laura gasaway, pam samuelson

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2013 @ 5:43pm

    Copyright seizures

    One area that urgently needs reform is the in rem seizures of domain names.

    I just ran across this paper, which ought to remind us of some of the issues that Techdirt has covered.

    Has the Quest to Quelch Piracy Gone Too Far?: How the Government is Misstating the Law to Take Down Linking Websites” by Freddi Mack (University of Miami - University of Miami Law Review), January 28, 2013

    Recently, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been seizing domain names as part of its “Operation: In Our Sites” project to combat online piracy. The procedure allows seizure based on a warrant asserting probable cause that copyright infringement is facilitated on these sites. The sites may be administratively forfeited if the domain owner doesn’t contest the seizure. If the domain owner does contest the seizure, the government must file a judicial forfeiture action. Recently, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has proposed a reevaluation of the procedures used in seizing domain names.

    While the First Amendment and Due Process implications of civil forfeiture procedures have been thoroughly debated, the specific topic this paper addresses is whether the government can sufficiently allege a cause of action justifying forfeiture of domain names of linking websites under the copyright infringement statutes, 17 U.S.C. § 506 and 18 U.S.C. § 2319. Particularly, this paper looks at the case of Rojadirecta .  . .

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