Ralph Oman, 1985–1993


Ralph Oman was born in 1940 in Huntington, New York. He received a diploma from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1961 and earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Hamilton College in 1962. From 1962 to 1964, he worked for the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer in Saudi Arabia. Oman served with the U.S. Navy as a naval flight officer from 1965 to 1970 and was decorated several times for his service in Vietnam. He is retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve.

In 1973, Oman received a doctor of laws degree in corporate and international law from Georgetown University. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Supreme Court Bar. Following law school, Oman served as law clerk to the Honorable C. Stanley Blair, U.S. District Court, Baltimore, Maryland. From 1974 to 1975, Oman was a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

In 1975, Oman began serving as chief minority counsel for the Senate Subcommittee on Patent, Copyrights, and Trademarks. He helped draft the language and negotiate the compromises that resulted in the passage of the landmark Copyright Act of 1976. In 1977, he became chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks. From that position, he was appointed Register of Copyrights on September 23, 1985. He retired from federal service in 1993 and entered the private practice of law. He also teaches at the George Washington University Law School.