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NewsNet Issue 681
September 15, 2017
Copyright Office Releases Section 108 Discussion Document
The U.S. Copyright Office today released its Section 108 Discussion Document. Congress enacted section 108 of Title 17 in 1976, authorizing libraries and archives to reproduce and distribute, without permission, certain copyrighted works on a limited basis for the purposes of preservation, replacement, and research. However, the exceptions outlined in section 108 did not anticipate and no longer address the ways in which copyrighted works are created, distributed, preserved, and accessed in the twenty-first century.
The Discussion Document emphasizes the Copyright Office’s longstanding position that section 108 needs to be updated so that libraries, archives, and museums have a robust, comprehensible, and balanced safe harbor to fulfill their missions. The primary objective of the Discussion Document is to provide a concrete framework for further discussion among stakeholders and members of Congress. In an effort to provide this framework, the Discussion Document includes model statutory language to guide future discussions and to assist in generating consensus on various discrete issues, such as adding museums to the statute; allowing preservation copies to be made of all works in an eligible entity’s collections; replacing the current three-copy limit with a “reasonably necessary” standard when making copies for preservation and research; clarifying the contract supremacy provision to grant libraries, archives, and museums more flexibility to make preservation and security copies of works covered by licensing and purchasing agreements; and eliminating the exclusion of musical, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, and motion pictures or other audiovisual works from the provisions permitting copies made upon the request of users, under certain conditions.
The full Discussion Document, along with background material, is available on the Copyright Office’s website at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/section108/.
NewsNet Issue 680
September 14, 2017
Copyright Office Publishes Archive of Briefs and Legal Opinions
Under the Copyright Act, the Copyright Office is responsible for advising the courts on issues of copyright law. This advice manifests itself in many forms. For instance, based on advice received from the Office, the Department of Justice files briefs in federal court on behalf of the federal government on issues of copyright law. In addition, the Copyright Office issues binding opinions on questions of copyright law to the Copyright Royalty Board.
These briefs and legal opinions are valuable resources for those seeking to understand the Copyright Office’s view of copyright law. Today, for the first time, the Copyright Office has published at one place on its website an archive of these briefs and legal opinions. The Office plans to periodically update this archive with new documents and any older documents it discovers.
The archive is available here.
NewsNet Issue 679
September 12, 2017
Copyright Office Adopts Final Rule Streamlining Regulation on Copyright Notice
The U.S. Copyright Office today published a final rule relocating regulations governing the use of copyright notice to a single location. This rule, intended to simplify and streamline the regulations, makes no substantive changes to the regulations. The rule combines the regulations at 37 C.F.R. 201.20 to 37 C.F.R. 202.2 into one location in section 202.2. The final rule is available here and goes into effect on October 12, 2017.
NewsNet Issue 678
September 11, 2017
Copyright Office Welcomes New Class of Ringer Fellows
The U.S. Copyright Office is pleased to announce that Sarah Gersten and Emma Kleiner are joining the Office as fellows in the 2017–2019 Barbara A. Ringer Copyright Honors Program. Gersten and Kleiner begin their two-year appointments this month and will receive assignments from multiple departments within the Copyright Office, including the Office of the Register, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Policy and International Affairs, and Office of Registration Policy and Practice.
Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett appointed Gersten and Kleiner following a highly competitive application and interview process. The program—named for Barbara A. Ringer, who served as Register from 1973 to 1980—offers promising early-career copyright lawyers an opportunity to work on a variety of advanced legal and policy issues. “This year’s class of Ringer Fellows continues the Office’s tradition of bringing on board highly talented lawyers who have a long-standing interest in copyright law,” Temple Claggett said. “We know that Sarah and Emma will contribute significantly to the work of the Office over the next two years and will have a very bright future in copyright law thereafter.”
Gersten earned her JD from Harvard Law School in 2016, where she was on the board of the Recording Artists Project and a member of the Journal of Law and Technology. During law school, she worked at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and at Marvel Entertainment. She received her BA summa cum laude in film studies and communications from Tulane University, where she served as general manager of the community radio station and on the Tulane Media Board. Following law school, she worked as an associate at K&L Gates, where she was actively involved with the firm’s Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project.
Kleiner earned her JD at Stanford Law School in 2016, where she held leadership positions with the Fashion, Art, and Design Law Society, Stanford Intellectual Property Association, and Women of Stanford Law. During law school, she interned for the Office of General Counsel at the Institute of Museum and Library Services and at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. She also contributed articles to the Center for Art Law blog. Kleiner received her BA summa cum laude in art history and history from the University of Arizona, where she was a Flinn Scholar. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Richard Taranto of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The Copyright Office launched the Ringer Honors Program in 2013. It offers 18- to 24-month paid fellowships to attorneys who are no more than five years out of law school and have a strong record of achievement and demonstrated interest in copyright law. The application period for 2018–2020 Ringer Fellows closes September 15th, 2017. For more information, please visit https://copyright.gov/about/special-programs/ringer.html.
NewsNet Issue 677
September 5, 2017
Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan
The U.S. Copyright Office has prepared a Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan at the direction of the House Committee on Appropriations. See 163 Cong. Rec. H4033 (daily ed. May 3, 2017). The Committee directed the Register to modify the Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis (Provisional IT Plan) published by the Office in 2016 to “include potential opportunities for shared efficiencies and cost-savings as well as ways the Library’s CIO Office can support the Copyright Office in its overall modernization efforts.”
The Modified IT Plan maintains the Office’s focus on creating an IT system that is robust and flexible enough to facilitate the work of Copyright Office not only as it exists now, but also as it may be in the future, and documents how this goal may be achieved under a shared services model. The Modified IT Plan further describes the progress that has been made on Copyright Office IT modernization to date and sets forth anticipated milestones and timelines for further work on this important task.
The Committee further charged the Office to “include any new funding strategies based on the comments received from the public regarding changes in fee structures.” See 163 Cong. Rec. H4033 (daily ed. May 3, 2017). The Modified IT Plan accordingly reiterates the Office’s belief in the importance of increased flexibility for the Office in the collection and application of fees, including potential adoption of innovative fee strategies such as subscription fees, differential fees, or additional fees for high-volume access to improved and modernized data.