Maria Pallante, Register of Copyrights, will urge Congress to think about passing “the next great copyright act” that will be “more forward thinking and flexible than before” when she testifies before the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet on Wednesday (March 20). Copyright law needs to be updated for the digital age, Pallante will tell the Subcommittee, because “if one needs an army of lawyers to understand the basic precepts of the law, then it is time for a new law.”
Although the changes to copyright law would not happen for a number of years, they would undoubtedly be impactful for the music business. For example, entire business models depend on specific provisions of copyright law, such as the DMCA safe harbor that has allowed sites like YouTube and Facebook to operate while removing infringing user-uploaded content. The lack of a public performance right for sound recordings means record labels and performing artists are not compensated for the recordings' performance on terrestrial radio.