Rep. Johnson Works To Bring Copyright Law Into The Digital Age

September 30, 2020
Press Release
Congressman, Chairman of IP Subcommittee, Explores Ways To Bring Law Into 21st Century

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, participated in a Judiciary Committee hearing on Copyright and the Internet in 2020: Reactions to the Copyright Office’s Report on the Efficacy of 17 U.S.C. 512 After Two Decades.

The hearing examined the current state of section 512 of title 17, which establishes a notice-and-takedown regime that limits the copyright infringement liability for four types of online service providers (“OSPs”). The hearing came on the heels of the Copyright Office’s recent conclusion of a comprehensive, five-year study of section 512. The hearing allowed Members to hear perspectives from the copyright, online, and user communities about their experiences with section 512 and their views on the Copyright Office’s report and recommendations, and to consider what, if any, legislative measures are warranted moving forward.

Chairman Johnson’s hearing statement

The IP Subcommittee I chair has spent much of this Congress exploring how to promote and protect intellectual property rights in the patent and trademark space, and today’s discussion from the copyright angle has been particularly informative. Copyright law governs the work of artists and innovators, designers and developers, and it is crucial that these creators are able to rely on its protections to make their living. This is even more true in an age where the click of a button can plagiarize a lifetime of work.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Courts, and the Internet, I believe it’s important that we work with the Copyright Office to ensure that the rules of the road are clear for content users, platforms, and internet service providers. Section 512 was created before the internet had permeated our lives, and I’m concerned that the law has failed to keep up, not adequately protecting creators and not necessarily providing clear guidance to users and others. This needs to change. I look forward to hearing from the witnesses as to how Congress can help pave the way to that future.

Witnesses included: Jonathan Band Counsel, Library Copyright Alliance; Terrica Carrington, Vice President, Legal Policy & Copyright Counsel, Copyright Alliance; Morgan Grace Kibby,  Singer & Songwriter; Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel, Public Knowledge; Matthew Schruers, President, Computer & Communication Industry Association; Jeffrey Sedlik, President & CEO, PLUS Coalition.

To watch the full hearing, click HERE.

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