@americanpublish: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) Names Maria A. Pallante as President and CEO

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced today that the former United States Register of Copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, will succeed Tom Allen who is retiring as President and CEO. Pallante, who will join AAP on January 17, 2017, is widely-known as an intellectual property expert with a distinguished record of public service.

“Maria is a creative, forward-thinking leader who has earned the deep respect of Members of Congress as well as intellectual property experts around the world,” said YS Chi, Chairman of the AAP Board of Directors. “The Board believes she is an excellent choice for President and CEO as she brings to AAP considerable expertise in many of the issues facing the publishing industry.”

Pallante headed the U.S. Copyright Office from June 1, 2011 – October 29, 2016. During her tenure, she administered an increasingly complex legal system of programs, practices, and regulations and assisted executive branch agencies with trade, treaties, and litigation. She was a key advisor to the U.S. Congress, working closely with lawmakers to evaluate the efficacy and balance of the Copyright Act and to address issues at the intersection of law, business, and technology. Pallante and her staff produced extensive policy studies, legislative recommendations, and strategic plans during the past few years, working with a vast stakeholder community and thousands of public comments.

Prior to her appointment as Register, Pallante held two senior positions in the U.S. Copyright Office: Deputy General Counsel (2007–2008) and Associate Register and Director of Policy and International Affairs (2008–2010). From 1999 to 2007, she was intellectual property counsel and director of licensing and branding for the worldwide network of Guggenheim Museums, headquartered in New York. Earlier in her career, she worked briefly for the Authors Guild and National Writers Union, respectively, and was in private practice in Washington, DC.

“I am deeply inspired by the values of the American publishing industry,” Pallante said. “Publishers promote literature, literacy, education, and research around the world, while advocating for free speech, creating jobs, and making considerable contributions to the global marketplace. It will be a privilege to represent these interests in matters of policy, trade and business.”

Pallante holds a law degree from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Misericordia University, which also awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

@PeggyMcGlone: Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office

Federal lawmakers are calling for an independent Copyright Office that would be led by a Register nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released the first in what is expected to be a series of reforms. They suggest keeping a newly independent office in the Legislative branch, and funding technology upgrades including a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership.

Coming on the heels of the resignation of Copyright Register Maria Pallante, and previous suggestions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposals set up a show-down between Congress and new librarian Carla D. Hayden over the future of the agency.

Read the post on The Washington Post

Howard Berman: A tribute to an outstanding Register of Copyrights

Dr. Carla Hayden, the newly installed Librarian of Congress, removed Maria Pallante from the position of Register of Copyrights on Friday, Oct. 21. The move was sudden, resulting in the extensive speculation over the decision that we have seen since. Lost amid this speculation is the fact that Pallante served the nation well for nearly six years as an outstanding Register of Copyrights.

Over the course of my 30 years in Congress — and especially during my tenures as chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet — I had the opportunity to work with several Registers, all of whom I relied upon for independent, expert counsel. As Register, Pallante continued that fine tradition, bringing a strong vision for the future of the Copyright Office and the American copyright system in the rapid technological advances of the 21st century….

Whatever the basis for Dr. Hayden’s decision to remove Register Pallante, we should not overlook that Maria Pallante served the Copyright Office, the Library of Congress, the Congress and the nation with rare vision, dedication and fairness. We can only hope that her successor has those qualities in equal measure.

Read the post on The Hill

@PeggyMcGlone: Songwriters say this federal bureaucrat championed their rights. Now she’s lost her job.

Singer Don Henley said Pallante’s ouster was “an enormous blow” to artists. “She was a champion of copyright and stood up for the creative community, which is one of the things that got her fired,” he said.

Although personnel changes are not uncommon when a new leader comes in, many in the creative industries interpret Hayden’s move — made six weeks after she took office — as proof of her anti-copyright bias. They say Hayden’s library background aligns her with Google, which owns YouTube, the source of many claims of copyright infringement.

Read the post on the Washington Post.

@wsj: A Copyright Coup in Washington: The new Librarian of Congress ousts a federal copyright defender [Congress should investigate]

[Editor Charlie sez: This opinion post is from the Wall Street Journal editorial board calling out the Librarian of Congress for a “botched personnel dispute” that is tainted by Hayden’s longstanding relationship with entities funded by Google.]

PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Most Americans think of Google as a search engine doing unalloyed social good, but the company also wants to make money and wield political influence along the way. So you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to notice that an abrupt change of leadership at the U.S. Copyright Office is good news for Google, which aims to pay less for profiting from the property of others.

Maria Pallante served for more than five years as the U.S. register of copyrights, a division of the Library of Congress. Two weeks ago Ms. Pallante was reshuffled to an advisory post for “digital strategy” she never sought, a job that included expanding the library gift shop. Three days later she resigned in a letter to the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who had been sworn in mere weeks earlier. What happened?

***

Ms. Hayden’s allies say she simply wants to install her own loyalists, and maybe so. Ms. Pallante favored reorganizing the copyright office as an independent agency, which might have felt threatening to Ms. Hayden. But we can find no similar removal of a copyright register, and the details are unusual.

 The Library’s public announcement said nothing more about Ms. Pallante’s tenure than that it “laid the groundwork for important modernization.” But in a memo to Ms. Pallante that leaked to the press, Ms. Hayden stipulated that her new job did not include “any communications” with Congress, which was reviewing copyright laws with Ms. Pallante. The House Judiciary Committee put out a bipartisan statement calling Ms. Pallante’s departure a “tremendous loss.”

There is some circumstantial evidence that Google’s lobbying influence was brought to bear in removing Ms. Pallante, though both Google and Ms. Pallante declined to talk to us. Google’s business model is essentially making money off other people’s content, and the company’s strategy has been to infringe on copyrighted material like books and fight it out later in court. The copyright office administers laws that protect owners.

For example, Ms. Pallante’s office opposed a Justice Department interpretation of licensing that would have undercut collaborations. As it happens, that change was reportedly pushed by a former outside counsel for Google who had moved over to Justice. Ms. Pallante’s view won in court.

Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission proposed something known as the set-top box rule. The thrust was to force cable companies to build a universal adapter so Google and others could broadcast content without paying licensing fees or abiding by carriage agreements. Google supported the new rule. Less pleased were creators, who wouldn’t be paid for their work.

Read the full post on the Wall Street Journal 

 

@lg601 @paythewriter: National Writers Union Statement on the Firing of Maria Pallante

October 28, 2016 by 

On Friday, October 21, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden summarily removed Maria Pallante as Register of Copyright and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office, the position she had held since 2011. It was the first time the head of the Copyright Office had been removed in 119 years!  Ms. Pallante was reassigned as an advisor to the Librarian. Associate Register Karyn Temple Claggett was appointed Acting Register.

On Monday, October 24, Ms. Pallante resigned, telling Dr. Hayden, “I hope you will respect that I do not accept the reassignment…that was announced on Friday.” Having been locked out of her computer, she also added, “I would be grateful for your accommodation as I say goodbye to colleagues and collect personal items this week, and would appreciate the reinstatement of access to my computer and emails so that I may appropriately archive records and remove photos of my family.”

We have no inside knowledge of what may have led to these abrupt changes. But real issues are stake in copyright policy, both at the Copyright Office and at the Library of Congress (of which the Copyright Office is a component).

More than twenty years ago, Maria Pallante served with distinction as the executive director of the NWU. Although her tenure with the NWU was relatively brief, we remember and honor her independence, her intelligence, and her ability to understand and work with our diverse membership — the same independence, intelligence, and ability to understand the perspectives of diverse interest groups that she demonstrated as Register of Copyright, and that has distinguished the work of the Copyright Office staff. We thank Maria Pallante for her contributions to our union, to the Copyright Office, and to the nation.

We have disagreed strongly with many of the proposals and recommendations made by the Copyright Office under Ms. Pallante, just as under her predecessors. Some of the priorities for our copyright advocacy are to oppose legislation the Copyright Office has proposed or endorsed during Ms. Pallante’s term, such as to create new exceptions to copyright to allow copying of so-called “orphaned” works without payment or permission of the writers , undercutting those writers’ incomes.

The NWU has never had any special access or influence at the Copyright Office. Nor should we. Nor should anyone else.

Read the post on National Writers Union

@s_schlackman: A Major Loss for Creators in the Copyright War

Unbeknownst to many, there has been something of a war going on to determine the future of copyright law in the U.S.  On one side, there are corporate, largely Silicon Valley-based interests, most notably Google, who wish to loosen copyright laws so that they can have access to content that is either unavailable or requires costly fees.  On the other side are the creators, the companies that support them – the content industry – and their advocates who want to maintain, or even strengthen copyright laws giving creators control over their works and payment for their use. Last week, in what has been characterized as a blow to creator advocates, the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, announced that Register of Copyrights and Director of the United States Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, had been removed from her position.  Pallante has been a fierce supporter of creator’s rights.  While many believe her removal was orchestrated by Google, others see Pallante’s removal as nothing more than a turf war between a new boss and her subordinate, each with different ideas about the future for the Copyright Office.

The idea that powerful companies, such as Google, could have such influence over the future of copyright is disturbing, however, much of the evidence is circumstantial.  Let’s take a look at the situation from both sides so that you can judge for yourselves.

Read the post on Art Law Journal