This week has seen some significant changes to the Copyright Office Leadership by the newly elected U.S Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. It was announced that Maria Pallante, Register of Copyrights and Director of the United States Copyright Office has been removed from this post and placed in the new role of Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy within the library.
Pallante will now support the Librarian’s agency-wide digital strategy, advising on collecting and preserving digital materials, collections copyright status, licensing opportunities and third-party collaborations related to digital content.
Hayden said: “I want to move aggressively toward making our collections as widely accessible as possible.” The official press release submitted by the Library of Congress is seen as worrying for American writers as it seems that Hayden may be on the ‘other side’ of copyright and endeavouring to make authors’ works freely available to the world despite copyright issues.
Dr Carla Hayden announced that in the interim Karyn Temple Claggett will serve as Acting Register of Copyrights while a national search will be conducted for a new permanent register.
In their statement on this change, The Authors’ Guild in the U.S said: “We are disappointed to see Pallante go. She was a devoted leader of the Copyright Office, launching several major initiatives – including a full review of the Copyright Act to bring it into the 21st Century. Especially important to the Guild was Pallante’s conviction that ultimately the creative industries cannot thrive without respect for individual creators. Under Pallante, the Copyright Office operated under the principle that copyright exists to benefit the public by incentivizing new works of authorship, and that the rights of individual creators need be respected to ensure that robust creative ecosystems can flourish through new digital platforms.”
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world. Therefore, The International Authors Forum is committed to supporting a balance between rewarding American authors for use of their works and global user access. The Authors Guild stated that: “ We hope that the new Register will continue the Copyright Office’s long tradition of championing and serving the interests of individual creators, men and women who work in an increasingly precarious economy, and whose work, though often taken for granted, remains the lifeblood of our culture.” IAF fully supports this approach.