Music artists are reacting with outrage at the dismissal of the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, calling the move an aggressive attack that is part of a larger effort to erode their creative rights and to bolster advocates of free content.
“This is a major affront to copyright,” said songwriter and music publisher Dean Kay. “Google seems to be taking over the world — and politics. . . . Their major position is to allow themselves to use copyright material without remuneration. If the Copyright Office head is toeing the Google line, creators are going to get hurt.”
Source: Songwriters say this federal bureaucrat championed their rights. Now she’s lost her job. – The Washington Post
It’s not clear why Hayden removed Pallante, but media business lobbyists reacted with dismay and some politicians expressed concern. After Pallante resigned, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has responsibility for copyright issues, issued a statement that Pallante’s departure would be “a tremendous loss for the Copyright Office and for America’s creators, innovators and users of copyrighted works.”
They don’t mention Hayden, who informed members of Congress of her decision the day before the announcement, but their displeasure with her decision is implied.
Source: Maria Pallante’s Departure From the Copyright Office: What It Means and Why It Matters | Hollywood Reporter
Maria Pallante is out at the U.S. Register of Copyrights and is moving to a new post, a Friday announcement that was met with surprise by trade associations and other groups in Washington.
“We are surprised and concerned by today’s news, which comes at a time when the office and others are considering many potential changes to the copyright system and law,” said Keith Kupferschmid, the CEO of the Copyright Alliance, an industry group representing content creators.
Source: Maria Pallante Out as U.S. Register of Copyrights | Variety
U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante was removed from her job Friday morning (Oct. 21) by the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who has authority over the Copyright Office. Officially, Pallante has been appointed as a senior adviser for digital strategy for the Library of Congress, although it’s clear she was asked to step down.
Pallante was locked out of the Library of Congress computer system this morning, according to two sources who spoke with Library employees. Earlier, Hayden had called several members of Congress to tell them about her decision.
Source: Maria Pallante Removed as U.S. Register of Copyrights | Billboard
In addition to running the largest library in the world, overseeing the US Copyright Office, appointing a Poet Laureate each year, and selecting Gershwin Prize honorees for popular song, Hayden will be responsible for pushing the Library of Congress into the 21st century. Unlike former librarians of Congress, Hayden is the first appointed after widespread use of the internet and information technology, which has changed nearly everything, including America’s libraries.
In March 2015, the US Government Accountability Office issued a report documenting the library’s failure to catch up to the today’s technology. While this was partly due to poor strategic planning, GAO also noted “the Library does not have the leadership needed to address these [information technology] management weaknesses.”
Source: Carla Hayden is officially sworn in as the first woman and African-American librarian of Congress – Vox
The U.S. Copyright Office criticized a federal agency’s plan to open up the market for pay-TV set-top boxes in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday.
The letter adds to political pressure on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has been pushing since the beginning of the year for new FCC rules to open up the market for the costly set-top boxes—currently dominated by cable and satellite pay-TV providers—to new entrants such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit.
Source: U.S. Copyright Office Criticizes FCC’s Plan on Set-Top Boxes – WSJ
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, challenging Sections 1201, 1203, and 1204 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, known as the “anti-circumvention provisions,” on constitutional grounds.
That, in itself, is not particularly surprising. EFF served as pro bono counsel to Eric Corley in one of the first major cases to test Section 1201 in court and has been an outspoken critic of the law since it was enacted in 1998. What makes this week’s filing notable is its timing and EFF’s apparent strategy.
Section 1201 broadly prohibits the circumvention of DRM (“technical protection measures,” or TPMs in the language of the statute) used to protect access to copyrighted works (Section 1203 prohibits “trafficking” in anti-circumvention technologies and Section 1204 provides for criminal penalties for violating Section 1201). In its lawsuit, filed on behalf of a computer security researcher and a technology inventor and entrepreneur, EFF claims the three provisions violate the First Amendment because they prevent people from engaging in what would otherwise be protected speech under the fair use doctrine in copyright law — an argument raised many times before.
But the complaint also takes direct aim at the law’s triennial rulemaking procedures by which members of the public are allowed to apply to the Library of Congress for an exemption to the anti-circumvention rules for specific purposes. The complaint declares the rulemaking itself “an unconstitutional speech-licensing regime.”
Source: DMCA Showdown at the Library of Congress | Concurrent Media