(via the Illustrators Partnership of America)

copyright symbolArtists and advocates should act now to protect the future of copyright!

Congress is considering a new bill to change the way the head of the Copyright Office is appointed. It scheduled for a Rule's Committee meeting today and will likely be voted on by the House in the next few days. From there it will move to the Senate.

Under the new legislation - H.R. 1695 - the Register of Copyrights would be nominated by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate. Currently, the Register of Copyrights is appointed by the Librarian of Congress, serves under the Librarian, and as we saw last November, can be removed at will by the Librarian.

Why does this matter?

  • On October 21, 2016, the previous Register of Copyrights was summarily removed by the newly-appointed Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.
  • Dr. Hayden is a well-known promoter of Open Access, and appears committed to the goal of making Internet content free.
  • Many in the creative community believe she was appointed because she is a political activist whose views would serve the interests of the Big Internet firms currently lobbying for open access, orphan works legislation, etc.

Both Congress and the Creative Community are legitimately concerned that this Librarian of Congress will appoint a Register from the same anti-author, open-access mentality. This legislation would remove that power from the Library of Congress and transfer it to the President with the advice and consent of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That committee will provide the President with a list of 3 potential candidates from which he can choose.

The proposed legislation would limit the Register to a 10-year term that can be renewed by the same process; and it would give the President the authority to remove the Register at any time.

How do I write my Congressperson?

Go to this link and enter your zip code and/or address. It will take you to a site with a picture of your representative and a link for emailing him or her.

Sample Letter

April __, 2017

The Honorable ________, Address

Dear Representative __________

As a constituent, I am writing to ask you to vote "yes" on H.R. 1695, the "Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017."

I ask this because copyright protection is extremely important to me, both as a professional artist and as a private citizen.

As an artist, I rely on copyright law to protect the intellectual property that I license to make a living, as well as to preserve the sanctity of contracts that I enter into with my clients. Without the full protections of current copyright law there would be massive uncertainty in the commercial markets that serve the multi-billion dollar licensing industry I work in.

And as an ordinary citizen, copyright law is equally important to me, because without it, any work I ever put on the Internet - on a Facebook page, church or school website, political website, etc. - would all be in danger of becoming orphaned content, free for unknown parties to harvest, commercialize and monetize for their own profit and benefit, without concern for my privacy or professional interests.


Please Contact your Representative now!

Spread the word, please!