ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

House Judiciary Committee to Turn Attention to Reform of the Copyright Office and Creation of a Small Claims Copyright Tribunal

Today, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Committee, announced the next steps in the Committee’s multi-year review of the copyright law.

Specifically, they issued the first of a number of policy proposals that will address components of their proposed legislative reform of the copyright act.  Of particular importance to ASMP members is the Committee leadership’s statement that reform of the Copyright Office should include statutory language establishing a small claims tribunal within the Copyright Office to handle “low value infringement cases “— ASMP’s top legislative priority. To read the Committee’s full policy proposal statement, click here.

In a meeting that was held moments after this announcement, Chairman Goodlatte met with representatives of a number of visual artist groups, including ASMP executive director Tom Kennedy, and emphasized that addressing the small claims issue is to be an important component of the overall effort to reform the copyright act and create a copyright system equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century’s digital economy.

In its announcement, the Committee also asked that members of the public provide comments on this initial policy proposal by January 31, 2017.  ASMP, in concert with other visual artists’ groups, will prepare appropriate comments.

Today’s announcement underscores the importance of the mounting a comprehensive and targeted grassroots effort aimed at garnering support for small claims legislation in Congress, particularly among members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.  More details about this grassroots effort will follow in early January.




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