Copyright Office Oversight Hearing

June 29, 2019

On June 26, Karyn Temple, the Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee as the sole witness in a hearing on Oversight of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Oversight hearings are fairly routine in Washington, but this one was notable because it was the first time that Register Temple has appeared before the Committee since her permanent appointment to the Register post back in March, giving her an opportunity to present her vision for the future of the Office and her policy priorities.

Not surprisingly, much of the discussion centered around the modernization of the Office’s IT systems, and the Library’s meddling in the Office’s IT affairs. As described throughout The Unrealized Promise, the relationship between the Library’s IT department and the Copyright Office has been fraught (to put it mildly), but Register Temple appeared confident that the Library’s CIO would adhere to the statutory mandate to use funding allocated specifically for the Copyright Office for Office-specific IT enhancements.

Other topics of discussion included the recently re-introduced CASE Act, which would provide copyright owners with an alternative to full-blown federal court litigation for infringements of relatively small value; and the upcoming expiration of the section 119 license for satellite retransmissions which, as readers of The Unrealized Promise‘s chapter 8 know, has traditionally been extended at the last minute. The Copyright Office has long supported the phasing out of the various statutory licenses for broadcast retransmissions, and Register Temple reiterated that view on Wednesday.

You can watch the testimony in full below and review the hearing record on the House Judiciary Committee’s website. More of Register Temple’s vision can be found in the Office’s 2019-2023 strategic plan.