House leader confirms 2013 copyright focus


U.S. CongressBob Goodlatte (R-VA) is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and he just confirmed that the challenges of protecting intellectual property in the digital world signal the need for a sweeping set of hearings on copyright law.

If there is any good news for broadcasters, it is that Goodlatte made no specific mention of a performance royalty for radio airplay. However, that subject is certain to be part of the conversation.

“There is little doubt that our copyright system faces new challenges today,” said Goodlatte. “The Internet has enabled copyright owners to make available their works to consumers around the world, but has also enabled others to do so without any compensation for copyright owners. Efforts to digitize our history so that all have access to it face questions about copyright ownership by those who are hard, if not impossible, to locate. There are concerns about statutory license and damage mechanisms. Federal judges are forced to make decisions using laws that are difficult to apply today. Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers – the American public.”

Goodlatte concluded, “So it is my belief that a wide review of our nation’s copyright laws and related enforcement mechanisms is timely. I am announcing today that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a comprehensive series of hearings on U.S. copyright law in the months ahead. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age. I welcome all interested parties to submit their views and concerns to the Committee.