Howard Berman: Judiciary Committee votes for a 21st century Copyright Office

Making the matter personal—targeting either the current Librarian or the former Register, Maria Pallante—serves no purpose. Claiming, for example, that former Register Pallante had done nothing on IT modernization rings hollow when it was Pallante who initiated and implemented a public consultation process, which led to publication of the most forward-looking IT modernization plan in the history of the Copyright Office.

The Library has thus far blocked implementation of that plan. While GAO reports have catalogued IT shortcomings at both the Library and the Copyright Office, these reports acknowledge that the problems at the Copyright Office are relatively few. Indeed the GAO has concluded these problems stem from the much larger, fundamental problems with the Library IT department, to which the Copyright Office is beholden.

Although we heard no mention at the Wednesday markup of the week-long outage of the Copyright Office’s systems caused by the Library, Congress should keep in mind that but for the Copyright Office’s CIO, the entire electronic registration database would have been lost forever.

During the bill’s consideration in committee, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee, and Chairman Goodlatte deftly thwarted an attempt to make out-of-context quotes from an Inspector General’s report (heretofore publicly unavailable) a part of the record by ensuring Congress and the public will be able to see the full text of the report.

Read the post on The Hill.

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