ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Creators and Innovators Support H.R. 1695, “The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017”

ASMP, along with other organizations, unions, and guilds representing and supporting creators and inventors, express support of H.R. 1695, “The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017”, and have submitted an industry letter to Members of Congress requesting their support of the bill.

The letter states the following:

H.R. 1695 Recognizes the Importance of Copyright to the U.S. Economy, Jobs and Culture:
Copyright is critical to the U.S., with core copyright industries contributing over $1.2 trillion to
the U.S. GDP and employing more than 5.5 million U.S. workers. The Copyright Office, headed
by the Register of the Copyrights, plays a central role in helping Congress develop copyright
policy. Making the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee subject to the advice and
consent of the Senate reflects the growing importance of copyright to our economy and culture,
and treats the head of the Office like other officials with oversight over similarly significant
H.R. 1695 Restores Congress’ Power to Obtain Expert, Neutral Copyright Advice: The
Register of Copyrights is Congress’ statutorily designated copyright expert. The Register is
unilaterally selected by the Librarian of Congress. The Library has a mission of national
importance, but it is different than and sometimes in conflict with the role of the Copyright
Office as Congress’ advisor and steward of the creative economy. H.R. 1695 finally gives
Congress a formal role in selecting its advisor through the confirmation process. This will ensure
Congress receives the expert advice it needs to discharge its responsibility under Article I,
Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution to promote knowledge and culture through copyright
H.R. 1695 Establishes a More Balanced, Neutral and Transparent Process for Selecting the
Register: Making the Register a presidential appointee subject to Senate confirmation ensures a
more balanced and neutral selection process compared to the status quo, in which the Register is
appointed solely at the discretion of the Librarian of Congress—a process that does not require
any direct input from the Administration or Congress. The confirmation process not only
improves the opportunity to vet candidates and increases accountability to Congress, but also
gives all Americans a voice in the selection of the Register through their elected representatives.
H.R. 1695 is an Essential Step in Modernizing an Antiquated Copyright Office: Changing
the Register to a presidential appointee with the advice and consent of the Senate is a necessary
first step to modernizing the Copyright Office. It will help ensure that the Register of Copyrights
has the voice and resources needed to implement policy, manage its operations, and organize its
information technology in a way that brings the Copyright Office into the 21st century. To date,
its efforts to do so have been frustrated by the competing needs and direction of the Library.
H.R. 1695 Enjoys Widespread Bipartisan, Bicameral and Stakeholder Support: The bill
enjoys overwhelming support due to its modest approach. It passed through the Judiciary
Committee by a decisive 27-1 vote and is supported by a wide range of groups.
The Time to Move H.R. 1695 is Now: A few who are interested in weakening copyright policy
are trying to polarize debate with partisanship, personal aspersions, and ad hominem attacks.
This bill is not about any one President, any one Librarian, or any one Register. It is the product
of four years of bipartisan, bicameral discussion. It reflects the consensus view of policymakers
that presidential appointment and Senate confirmation puts the Copyright Office on a better
footing to meet its statutory duties and serve the American people for generations to come.
For the reasons above, we urge you to vote in favor of H.R. 1695.

Read the complete letter to members of Congress that includes the full list of supporting organizations.

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