Stop the Dangerous Politicization of the Office of Copyright

Sign the petition: Stop the Dangerous Politicization of the Office of Copyright

We’re concerned about the current Senate Bill that would enact changes to the Copyright Office. Under this Senate Bill the Register of Copyrights (the position that overseas the Copyright Office). H.R. 1695 would politicize the office that controls copyrights by making the Register of Copyright a Presidential appointee. In its current role, the Copyright Office is staffed by professionals within the Library of Congress. They are responsible for providing information about copyright law to the government and, of course, they are responsible for the registration and recording of copyrightable works.

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Moving copyright into an office that is subject to the president’s political agenda instead of its current non-political role under the care and management of the Library of Congress would subject that role to incredible political influence. It would mean that the role will be more susceptible to media and entertainment companies’ lobbyists, the same companies that want to increase their control over the way that the Internet works. It also means that there could be significant changes to the ways that Americans are allowed to work with books, movies, technology, music, and even your personal vehicles.

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Many supporters of this bill are arguing falsely that H.R. 1695 is necessary in order to help “modernize” the Copyright Office. Under the leadership of Dr. Carla Hayden at the Library of Congress, the Copyright Office has already been modernizing. This work modernizing the office is long overdue. The lack of prior modernization was largely due to the political appointment of the previous Librarian of Congress who, as a Russian scholar, was appointed largely in response to the “Red Scare” and the Cold War instead of on the merits and abilities of librarianship. We believe that politicizing of the Register of Copyright would likewise have profound detrimental and lasting effects on the ability of that office to perform their duties.

The House of Representatives has already passed H.R. 1695 the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act”. So it’s up to the Senate to say No. Please tell your Senators not to turn the Register of Copyright into a political appointee.