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, 9 May 2013 @ 5:14am

    Who else may get left out?: Anti-globalists

    The Copyright Principles Project, in section 7 of their “Guiding Principles” avers:
    7. Copyright law should recognize that the system in which creative activity occurs and in which creative works are circulated is increasingly global
    7.1. The United States should develop its copyright law in a manner that respects the global system in which creative activity occurs.

    7.2. The United States should seek to ensure that international law leaves room to allow domestic laws to fully comport with these principles.


    That leaves out the voices of those who believe that the international copyright regime, created through the Berne Convention framework, and through other internationlist instruments is fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution of the United States of America, and its guarantees of free speech and a free press.

    I, myself, have called for repeal of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. I believe that repeal is the best way for our nation to get out of the mess that Justice Ginsburg has created in Eldred.

    But I have (mostly) stopped short of calling for the withdrawal and repudiation of the Berne Convention by the United States.

    Yet, I am not convinced that adherence to the Berne Convention can be reconciled with our Constitution, and traditions. We do need to put our elected representatives on the hotspot. We should ask them, flat out, if it comes down to it, which do you support — our Constitution? or the Berne Convention?

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