Congressman Goodlatte Addresses Creators and Copyright Office at World IP Day Event
Issue No. 503 - April 24, 2013

In a celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante welcomed songwriters and independent filmmakers at a gathering of Copyright Office staff and U.S. government colleagues at the Library of Congress. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was a featured speaker. James Pooley, Deputy Director General of the Innovation and Technology Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Teresa Rea, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, also provided remarks.

“I’m announcing today that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a comprehensive series of hearings on U.S. copyright law in the months ahead,” said Chairman Goodlatte. “It is my belief that a wide review of our nation’s copyright laws and related enforcement mechanisms is timely.” Goodlatte observed that there “is little doubt that our copyright system faces new challenges today,” explaining that “even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers – the American public.” He encouraged interested parties to submit their views and concerns to his committee.

In her comments, Acting Under Secretary Rea emphasized the close and productive working relationship between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Copyright Office. WIPO Deputy Director General Jim Pooley highlighted the imagination and innovation of entertainers and artists around the world. Sandra Aistars, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance, presented a video illustrating the wide range of creative expression protected by copyright law.

Songwriters Lee Thomas Miller, Brett James and Jessi Alexander, introduced by Bart Herbison of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), performed some of their well-known songs for the audience, who responded with a standing ovation. Miller, who serves as President of NSAI, expressed appreciation for the work of Register Pallante and her staff. Of copyright Miller said, “It’s worth defending, it’s worth fighting for.”

Gail Mooney and Erin Kelly, a mother-daughter filmmaking team, described their experience making their 2011 documentary Opening Our Eyes and presented film excerpts and photos from their 99-day journey around the globe to document individuals who have made a positive difference. In her remarks, Mooney, too, highlighted the importance of copyright to her work. “I can’t imagine what the world would be without creativity in it,” she said.

Young filmmaker Zachary Maxwell presented the trailer for his documentary entitled Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary about School Lunch. Maxwell compared making his film, which took him eight months, to building a house, and was grateful that it was protected by copyright. Referencing the registration certificate for that film, which had just been presented to him by Register Pallante, Maxwell informed Copyright Office staff that they should expect to see applications from him for many years to come.

World Intellectual Property Day, internationally observed on April 26, marks the date in 1970 when the WIPO Convention came into force.