American Society of Magazine Editors

Review of Copyright Law Gets off to a Strong Start in 2014

February 14, 2014
Congress’ ongoing, comprehensive review of copyright law continued to move forward in the last half of 2013, and an impressive schedule has been set for 2014.
Recognizing some of the challenges copyright law faces in the digital era, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) directed the Committee to undertake a wide review of copyright law.   The Committee has already held seven hearings in as many months, including one on content delivery in the digital age.  
The most recent hearing was on fair use, a topic of great interest for magazine media.  The hearing focused on whether Section 107 of the Copyright Act (Fair Use) is currently working as intended by Congress, and whether any legislative changes are justified.  The general consensus of the panel, which included academics, artists, and copyright practitioners, was that there is no need for legislative intervention.  Though cut short by legislative activity on the floor, Chairman Goodlatte noted it was “perhaps the most important copyright hearing” yet. 
Congress is not the only federal body looking at copyright – so too is the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (in conjunction with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).  Following the mid-summer release of their comprehensive copyright green paper (titled “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy”), the Department held a full day workshop focused on a small subset of issues contained in the report.  With comments on the workshop due early this year, we expect to hear more from the Department of Commerce later in 2014.