On Thursday, December 12, the US Department of Commerce hosted a daylong event at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss some of the copyright policy issues raised in the PTO “green paper,” Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (PDF). Each of the following topics was addressed by a panel of speakers representing key stakeholders, moderated by officials from the PTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA):
- The Appropriate Calibration of Statutory Damages: Individual File Sharers and Secondary Liability
- The First Sale Doctrine in the Digital Age
- Legal Framework for Remixes
- Improving the Operation of the Notice and Takedown System
- The Government’s Role in a More Efficient Online Marketplace
Maria Pallante, US register of copyrights, delivered a keynote address entitled “Current Copyright Office Initiatives on Digital Issues.” Pallante acknowledged that legislative changes are very unlikely in the short term, and would be challenging even in the long term, a fact that colored discussion on each of the panels. Moderators and participants often gravitated to privately negotiated solutions and actions administrative agencies could take on their own, shying away from suggesting legislative changes. Representatives from copyright industries returned repeatedly to the notion that evolving market solutions will make content available and useful in whatever ways the public may need.
Brandon Butler represented the Library Copyright Alliance on the panel about government action to facilitate licensing. Butler emphasized the extensive licensing activities in which libraries already engage, suggesting that any further “facilitation” could unduly favor rights holders and endanger fair use.
Government officials underscored that the green paper and the December 12 meeting were only the first steps in a long process of policy review.
Further comments on the green paper and the policy issues it raises can be submitted via e-mail to CopyrightComments2013@uspto.gov by January 17, 2014.
For more background, see:
- Library Copyright Alliance comments on the green paper (PDF), submitted prior to the meeting
- Full agenda for the public meeting (PDF)
- Video archive of the meeting webcast, organized by panel sessions
- USPTO’s website on copyright issues
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) consists of three major library associations—the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries. These three associations collectively represent over 300,000 information professionals and thousands of libraries of all kinds throughout the United States and Canada. Find us on the web at http://librarycopyrightalliance.org/.