President Barack Obama has nominated Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress, a job that is not about shushing noisy Congressmen. The Copyright Office, which is under the Library, is an important front in the battle between Silicon Valley and Hollywood over access to, and protection of, content.
"As Librarian of Congress, she'll work in close partnership with Congress, support the copyright office that serves our nation’s creative communities, and explore new ways to share the information housed within our library through innovative technologies," said Obama.
Hayden, who comes from the Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library and before that the Chicago library system (Obama became acquainted with her there), would be the first African American and first woman to hold the post.
"We congratulate Dr. Carla Hayden on her nomination," said Motion Picture Association of America President Chris Dodd.
"The Librarian of Congress plays a pivotal role for the copyright industries and the nation as a whole as the custodian of our intellectual and cultural heritage. We look forward to learning more during the confirmation process about Dr. Hayden’s vision for leading the Library and honoring the role of copyright as a driver of knowledge and creativity, as well as an engine of our nation’s economic growth and positive trade balance.”
The Copyright Alliance had some definite ideas of what that vision should be.
"We in the Copyright Community hope that Dr. Hayden will demonstrate a deep respect for the value of copyright; appreciate and support the value of authorship to our culture and the laws that protect that authorship; cultivate a direct relationship with the Register of the Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, and continue the deference that the Librarian of Congress has historically demonstrated to the Register of Copyrights," said Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid.
"A librarian who has experience modernizing library information technology is exactly what we need to bring the Copyright Office into the 21st Century," said the Computer and Communications Industry Association.
Public Knowledge, which is arguably the most visible fair use advocate, cheered the nomination. Library associations tend to be on the fair use side of the copyright debate, with studios on the other.
"We are pleased that the President has nominated a Librarian for the 21st century," it said. "Dr. Hayden’s track record of advancing the public interest speaks for itself: from protecting privacy and ending the digital divide to advocating for the public's right to access information, Dr. Hayden has consistently exhibited just the sort of priorities we would expect of the head of an institution that should be more than just a repository of culture and knowledge, but a pioneer in enabling access to these treasures."