The “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017” would change how the US Register of Copyrights is appointed – from a designee of the Librarian of Congress to an appointee of the President. Why change the longstanding practice, and why change it now?

 Keith KupferschmidIn 2017, nothing about Washington, DC, ever seems to enjoy bipartisan support and almost no legislation ever moves faster than molasses running uphill. Except for HR 1695, that is – otherwise known as the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017.” Remarkably, HR 1695 enjoys bipartisan support on Capitol Hill – Introduced in the US House of Representatives one week in March, the bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee the next week.

Keith Kupferschmid, CEO at the Copyright Alliance, represents individual artists and creators more than 40 trade association, companies and guild from across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. He tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally why HR 1695 is such a singular sensation piece of legislature.

The bill “creates a more balanced, more neutral, and more transparent selection process, compared to the existing selection process, which is under the exclusive discretion of the Librarian (of Congress),” Kupferschmid says. “This bill would give that power to Congress, and more importantly, to the American public to have some say in who the next Register of Copyrights should be.”

Before joining the Copyright Alliance in 2015, Keith Kupferschmid served as the General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Intellectual Property for the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). He has testified before Congress and various federal and state government agencies on IP issues and supervised SIIA’s Anti-Piracy Division. He is trained as an IP attorney, and has worked in private practice as well as at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and at the U.S. Copyright Office.

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