Technology is No. 1 Priority for U.S. Copyright Office

October 2011Alerts Intellectual Property Department Alert

On October 25, 2011, the U.S. Copyright Office released a paper outlining 17 policy priorities for the next two years. Some highlights are noted below.

The Office is conducting a study with the goal of developing an alternative process for resolving small copyright infringement claims so that copyright holders can avoid the high costs of federal litigation.

The Office has started a preliminary analysis of the issues surrounding mass book digitization (e.g. Google Books).

The Office is providing analysis and support to Congress in its effort to address a number of issues, such as:

  • Online copyright infringement facilitated by so-called "rogue websites" such as the Pirate Bay or other file-sharing sites. Potential solutions include "injunctions ordering operators of the sites to cease their infringing activity; orders to credit card companies and Internet advertising agencies to cease providing services to the websites; and orders requiring domain name server operators and search engines to cease directing end users to websites";
  • Updating remedies for infringement caused by illegal streaming of copyrighted material over the internet; and
  • Creating a legal framework to address "orphan works" where authors cannot be determined or located;

The Office is undertaking a review of its electronic filing system and registry with stated goals as improving "the nature, accuracy, and searchability of the Office's public databases." On a related note, the Office is also looking to update its website to improve its organization and navigation capabilities.

Finally, the Office is looking into how best to digitize and make public its entire registry dating back to 1870.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs or have any other copyright-related questions, please contact Gerard Norton, chair of the Intellectual Property department at 609.844.3020 or [email protected], or Flynn Barrison at 609.844.7427 or [email protected], or any member of Fox Rothschild’s Intellectual Property Department.

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