WASHINGTON—Congressmen Doug Collins, Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property Subcommittee, and Tom Graves, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, have written a letter to the Librarian of Congress regarding Maria Pallante’s departure from the Copyright Office. The content of the letter is below:
The Honorable Carla Hayden
Librarian of Congress
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20540
Dear Dr. Hayden,
We are writing today regarding the recent departure of Maria Pallante from her position as Register of Copyrights at the United States Copyright Office.
As you know, Ms. Pallante had served in her position for nearly six years, administering copyright law, protecting copyright principles, and expressing a commitment to modernizing the Copyright Office while fulfilling her statutory role.
Ms. Pallante’s recent departure was unexpected, and many questions remain surrounding the circumstances, including her proposed reassignment to a role less relevant to her experience with copyrights and intellectual property and with limited interaction with Members of Congress.
The proposed reassignment and subsequent resignation of Ms. Pallante highlights the need to have further discussion regarding the direction of the Copyright Office. As Members of Committees that have a strong interest in the role and work of the Copyright Office, we believe it is critical that the Copyright Office continue to serve as a guardian of intellectual property rights while working towards modernization that provides the type of access and usability that Americans have rightly come to expect in today’s interconnected world.
Protection of intellectual property, including copyright, was woven into the Constitution by our nation’s Founders. The United States Copyright Office plays a vital role in that protection, and Congress relies on it to provide analysis, guidance, and expertise on copyright issues. Because of the critical role the Copyright Office plays, it is imperative to ensure that current and future leadership at that office demonstrates a clear commitment to ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights while meeting 21st Century needs.
Given the importance of a strong relationship between the Copyright Office and Congress, we encourage you to ensure that recent actions surrounding that office do not limit the ability of the Copyright Office to advise Congress candidly and directly. It is imperative that among the many duties the Copyright Office performs, it continues to be able to “Advise Congress” and “Provide information and assistance to Federal departments and agencies and the Judiciary on national and international issues relating to copyright,” as provided in the Copyright Act. Additionally, we urge you to ensure that the efforts at Copyright Office modernization crafted by the Copyright Office in response to public consultation are continued.
We look forward to having further discussions with you regarding the concerns highlighted above as well as the search process for a new Register of Copyrights.
Doug Collins Tom Graves
Member of Congress Member of Congress