Register of Copyrights: Authors Are at Center of Public Interest
Tells Congress that protecting copyright holders is not at odds with public interest
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/19/2013 4:00:30 PM
Saying she hoped the point would not prove controversial, Pallante said that authors "are not a counterweight to the public interest but instead are at the very center of the equation."
And by authors, she explained, she meant filmmakers, visual artists, and other content producers whose creative output copyright law protects. "Congress has a duty to keep authors in its mind's eye," she planned to tell Congress. "A law that does not provide for authors would be illogical -- hardly a copyright law at all."
Among the issues teed up for congressional action include reviewing the "efficacy" of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and updating the framework for cable and satellite transmissions (which Judiciary will be taking up in the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act).
Pallante says the control of copyright owners should not be absolute, and suggests some possible changes including allowing for works to revert to the public domain in life-plus-50 years (it is currently life-plus-20 years), unless an heir or successor registers it with the Copyright Office, or "in compelling circumstances...reverse the general principle of copyright law that copyright owners should grant prior approval for the reproduction and dissemination of their works -- for example, by requiring copyright owners to object or "opt out" in order to prevent certain uses, whether paid or unpaid, by educational institutions or libraries."
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