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Today House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released their first policy proposal on areas of copyright law in need of reform. The proposal, released in a written statement and a video, addresses the need for the modernization and independence of the United States Copyright Office.

The proposal—the first in a series to focus on copyright issues “where there is a potential for consensus”—provides, among other things, that the Copyright Office should have autonomy over its budget and technology needs; that the Register of Copyrights should be subject to a nomination-and-confirmation process; that the Copyright Office should maintain a searchable, digital database of copyright records; and that the Office should host a small copyright claims tribunal.

Copyright Office modernization–which the Guild has energetically supported–is a threshold issue for lasting copyright reform. We need a 21st-century Copyright Office to better serve authors in the digital economy and to ensure that our copyright laws keep pace with technological developments.

In a press statement, the Congressmen requested written comments from interested stakeholders by January 31, 2017. Learn more about the issue here.