Last Updated on September 30, 2015, 5:15 pm ET
On September 30, 2015, the Re:Create Coalition released a letter supporting modernization of the Copyright Office while opposing the establishment of the Copyright Office as an independent agency (as suggested in a discussion draft bill by Representatives Chu (D-CA) and Marino (R-PA)). It points out that while some have claimed that consensus exists to make the Copyright Office an independent agency, no such consensus exists.
The letter notes that while modernization is needed, creating an independent Copyright Office will not solve the information technology challenges the office faces. Additionally, the letter states:
In this digital age, we agree there is a clear need to upgrade and modernize the Copyright Office and view the upcoming appointment of a new Librarian of Congress for the first time in three decades as an opportunity for just such potentially transformative change. We believe that reforms both to improve the process of registering copyrights and to improve the transparency and accessibility of this information to the public are crucial. Additionally, while Re:Create members have diverse views as to the appropriate home for the Copyright Office, we are united in our belief that the case has not been made for transforming the Copyright Office into an independent agency.
The letter also calls for the Copyright Office to be more responsive to the public, pointing out that:
A thoroughly modern Copyright Office will be one able to carefully weigh the interests of rights-holders, the rapidly evolving creative market, and the greater public of information users and consumers (often creators themselves), with an eye toward finding the appropriate balance to foster more, rather than less, speech. For example, in the context of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) rulemaking, a more thorough and balanced assessment of the public’s reliance on exemptions for cell phone unlocking or access to works for the blind and print-disabled could have altered the Office’s ultimately countermanded recommendations to eliminate those exemptions. In the case of cell phone unlocking, a fuller consideration of the needs of the public during the rulemaking process may even have prevented the need for Congress to step in to protect consumers’ ability to use the devices they own on the network of their choice.