Copyright Office Sets 'Priorities' Including Pushing Radio Royalty
October 26, 2011 at 5:52 AM (PT)
Register of Copyrights MARIA A. PALLANTE has made public her office’s priorities and special projects through OCTOBER, 2013. The paper articulates 17 priorities in the areas of copyright policy and administrative practice, as well as 10 new projects designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the U.S. Copyright Office’s services in the 21st century.
"Congress has charged THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE with administering the UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT ACT and performing important public services for the nation," PALLANTE said. "The work plan presented here reflects the commitment of the office to address current complexities in the copyright system and prepare for future challenges."
Legal treatment of pre-1972 sound recordings is addressed. THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE writes, "U.S. sound recordings created before FEBRUARY 15th, 1972 are not currently covered by federal copyright law. THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE is conducting a study at the request of CONGRESS on pertinent issues, including the advantages and disadvantages of providing federal coverage, how such coverage might be enacted, the relationship of current law or proposed changes to the preservation or public access to pre-1972 sound recordings, and the financial or other impact any changes in law would have on affected rights holders. The study will also explore possible means for accomplishing such coverage."
Regarding Illegal Streaming, "In 1997 and 2004, Congress updated the criminal remedies for copyright infringement to take into account the increasing harm from evolving forms of infringement on the Internet. The focus of those amendments, however, was on the unlawful distribution of 'copies' (addressing the rights of reproduction and distribution). Since that time, streaming (which primarily implicates the exclusive right of public performance) has become a major form of dissemination for copyrighted work and illegal streaming has become a more serious threat to copyright owners and legitimate U.S. businesses. Streaming legislation has been introduced in the Senate; the House is expected to address the issue in a comprehensive intellectual property enforcement bill to be introduced in OCTOBER 2011.
Touching upon potential Copyright royalty payments, they wrote "For decades, the Copyright Office has supported the extension of the public performance right in sound recordings, the absence of which is unique to the UNITED STATES vis-à-vis other nations with established copyright laws. Legislation was introduced in both the 110th and 111th Congresses, but there were strenuous objections from traditional broadcasters. When sound recordings first became the subject matter of federal copyright law effective FEBRUARY 15th, 1972, copyright owners of sound recordings were granted the exclusive rights of distribution and reproduction, but not public performance. In 1995, a limited right to perform a sound recording publicly by means of a digital audio transmission was added, but traditional broadcasters remain free to transmit public performances of sound recordings over the air without the permission of the copyright owners and without making any royalty payments. In addition to the obvious disparity for the performers and producers of these sound recordings, there is an economic disadvantage between the businesses that offer sound recordings over the Internet as compared to those that offer them over the air (the former are required to pay performance royalties while the latter are not). Finding a way to reconcile these differences has been a long-standing goal of Congress and the Copyright Office, and the Office will continue to provide analysis and support on this important issue."