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Collins statement on Copyright Office oversight hearing – House Judiciary Committee

“Strong copyright protections are critical to promoting innovation and creativity, and they are critical to our economy. . . . The Copyright Office plays a key role in this system, and we in Congress are fortunate to have their advice and analysis on numerous policy matters.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, gave the following opening statement for the hearing on oversight of the Copyright Office with Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Ranking Member Collins: Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. There are many ongoing copyright issues that deserve our attention, and you and I have a history of working on these issues together in a very bipartisan way. I would like to see the committee focus more on issues like copyright, that are critical to our economy and represent areas where we can actually legislate and get things done, rather than re-doing the Mueller investigation and wasting taxpayer dollars.

I also want to thank Ms. Temple for appearing before us today. Although this is her first time appearing before us as the officially appointed Register of Copyrights, she is by no means a stranger to this committee or to copyright law.

Ms. Temple, congratulations on your appointment. We are glad to see this important position has been filled permanently and look forward to continuing to work with you.

Copyright is a right designated by the U.S. Constitution. Strong copyright protections are critical to promoting innovation and creativity, and they are critical to our economy. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, core copyright industries contribute more than $1 trillion to the U.S. GDP and make up almost seven percent of the US economy.

The Copyright Office plays a key role in this system, and we in Congress are fortunate to have their advice and analysis on numerous policy matters.

Last year, the Music Modernization Act was signed into law. This bill was the culmination of years of work and the first major update to the music licensing system in a generation. The Copyright Office provided its expertise throughout the process and is now in the process of implementing the law. We look forward to hearing how implementation is proceeding and to continue working with the Copyright Office to ensure this law is functioning as intended.

In addition to the Music Modernization Act, there are numerous other copyright related matters that deserve our attention. Copyright modernization remains a priority, and, as the Copyright Office moves to a new IT system, we must ensure it has the resources it needs to fulfill its unique mission.

This committee has jurisdiction over the satellite compulsory license for distant signals — the Section 119 license — and we have heard from the Copyright Office about its belief that the license should be allowed to expire, consistent with their historic opposition to statutory licenses. While not all expiring Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act provisions are in the jurisdiction of this committee, the committee should review those that are.

We must also work to ensure the copyright system functions well for content creators and content users who rely on it. Too often today, we’re seeing small creators effectively sidelined from enforcing their rights. I’m proud to have introduced the CASE Act with Congressman Jeffries to address this issue.

Piracy also continues to be a problem. While registration pendency times have gone down, questions persist about how to protect rights properly as works are registered. Piracy can happen in seconds, but registration can take months. I commend the Copyright Office’s efforts to shorten pendency, but these are questions that we must consider.

We must also work to ensure our copyright laws — many of which are decades old — reflect the needs and realities of today’s digital world.

Many challenges remain in the copyright ecosystem, but I’m committed to finding solutions. I look forward to hearing from the Register of Copyrights today and to continued bipartisan work to strengthen our copyright system and ensure it is working for creators and content users alike.

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