Yesterday the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 378-48 the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, H.R. 1695, a bill that would make the head of the Copyright Office a Presidential appointee. The proposed law marks an important first step toward securing greater autonomy and authority for the U.S. Copyright Office. The bill will now move to the Senate for its consideration.

Copyright Office reform has been one of the Authors Guild’s legislative priorities, particularly in the last three years. We’ve submitted written comments on the issue, worked with legislators on the bill, and lobbied members of Congress to make sure it had the broad-based support it needed.

Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger said, “the Authors Guild is thrilled that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly recognized the importance of the copyright industries to the U.S. economy and our culture by passing H.R. 1695. The bill provides fundamental changes to the Register-selection process necessary to secure the Office’s long-term effectiveness. In this day and age, given the importance of copyright to the current U.S. economy, it makes no sense for the Copyright Office to report to the Library of Congress. We need to ensure the Copyright Office has the resources it needs to serve the nation’s creative industries. The bill is a long overdue effort to begin bringing the U.S. Copyright Office into the 21st century and to give copyright law and individual creators the place in the federal government they deserve. On behalf of all U.S. authors, the Authors Guild thanks those Representatives who supported the bill, which we hope will enjoy similarly strong and bipartisan support in the Senate.”