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Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee Holds USCO Oversight Hearing

August 17, 2019

On July 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee's IP Subcommittee held a hearing titled Oversight of the U.S. Copyright Office. Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office Karyn Temple was the sole witness. Subcommittee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ranking Member Chris Coons (D-DE), and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) were present and participated in the Q&A session. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) stayed for Register Temple's statement but left before questioning began. The hearing addressed many of the same topics discussed in June's House Judiciary Copyright Office oversight hearing, including: (1) Copyright Office modernization efforts; (2) implementation of the MMA; (3) combating digital piracy; (4) letting STELAR sunset; (5) DOJ's review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees; (6) reducing registration pendency times; (7) DMCA exemptions; and (8) Copyright Office resources and appropriations. In his opening remarks, Chairman Tillis expressed concern that the Copyright Office does not have enough autonomy and authority to complete its modernization efforts in a timely manner. Chairman Tillis also announced the formation of a bipartisan and bicameral working group to discuss Copyright Office modernization. Register Temple highlighted the Copyright Office's modernization efforts, including reducing pendency times and eliminating the backlog of workable registration claims. Register Temple advised Congress to let STELAR sunset and called for statutory changes to address the rise of digital piracy. Register Temple also reiterated her support for a voluntary small claims tribunal. A full memo summarizing the hearing is available here.


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