House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) recently stated that his committee will undertake a broad review of U.S. copyright law and conduct a series of hearings on the matter “in the months ahead.”
As we previously discussed, the Register of Copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, recently testified about the failure of copyright laws to keep up with technology. As Pallante noted, our most modern copyright law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), is now fifteen years old. Most other portions of the Copyright Act date back to 1976.
Goodlatte agreed that existing copyright laws likely warrant modernization. He specifically cited concerns related to online piracy, orphan works and music licensing.
“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,” Goodlatte said in prepared statements. “The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age.”
So far, both consumer advocates and content owners have applauded the committee’s plans to tackle the challenge of updating the country’s copyright protection scheme. However, as was seen with previous efforts like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the devil will be in the details.
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