Maria Strong, 2020

Maria Strong

Maria Strong served as Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office from January 5, 2020, through October 24, 2020. Appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Strong had been serving as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs.

Leading a 440-person workforce, Strong managed the Office through operational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly limited access to Office facilities. Office staff adapted quickly and effectively to remote work and were successful in the phased return to limited on-site operations. With the support of dedicated, hard-working staff, mission-critical service to Congress was uninterrupted during pandemic operations. During Strong’s tenure, the Office released the report Section 512 of Title 17, along with a new webpage on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; continued regulatory work on the Music Modernization Act; launched the eighth triennial section 1201 rulemaking; and continued legal support and technical advice to Congress as a number of policy hearings were held. The Office adjusted procedures and practices to promote better public services and continued to provide core services involving registration, recordation, and statutory licensing. Modernization of IT systems surged forward, with the first public release of the online recordation pilot and the soft launch of a new public records system. After years of anticipation and preparatory work, the Office started moving into its new, modern warehouse, which will house copyright deposits for two more decades. And the Copyright Office issued a new edition of the Copyright Act (Circular 92) as part of celebrating its 150th anniversary.

After completing her tenure as Acting Register, Strong returned to her position as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs. In this role, she advises the Register on the policy functions of the Copyright Office, including domestic and international copyright analyses, legislative support for Congress, and trade and treaty discussions involving intellectual property matters. She also served as Acting Assistant Register and Director of Operations from November 7, 2021, to March 26, 2022. Prior to her April 2019 appointment as director of PIA, Strong served as its deputy director since January 2015, along with a term as acting general counsel from April to July 2013. She joined the Copyright Office as senior counsel for policy and international affairs in 2010.

Before joining the Office, Strong spent nineteen years in private practice in Washington, DC, where she represented clients in the media, technology, and entertainment sectors and provided analyses and advocacy on global and domestic issues involving copyright law, enforcement, trade policy, and e-commerce. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Federal Communications Commission.

Strong earned her JD from George Washington University Law School, her MA in communications management from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, and her BA in communication studies from UCLA.