The Copyright Act often seems to lag behind technology, with infringements rampant on the Wild Internet. Not so, as was evidenced by the robust discussions at the third public meeting on Developing the Digital Marketplace for Copyrighted Works, hosted by the US Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force on March 28, 2019.

The Internet Policy Task Force was established in 2010 to identify and review key public policy and operational issues for economic growth and job creation through the Internet. The March meeting demonstrated its leadership in this regard, featuring panels and dialogs between various stakeholders, including authors and other creators, rights-holders, licensing societies and technological innovators, and governmental representatives. The government contingent included representatives from the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) of the USPTO, the US Copyright Office, and the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Several speakers highlighted developing technologies intended to improve proper attribution and use of intellectual property as well as monetization possibilities. Among the current and future solutions are using metadata to identify sources of online photos; developing online databases to with correct information about the creators to facilitate providing credits (and royalty payments) for musical works; and using software to increase the ease of tracking online uses of creative materials.

Notably, Greg Cram, Associate Director of Copyright and Information Policy at the New York Public Library, described the Library’s digitization project, which strives to include correct data about authors, photographers and other rights-holders to promote proper attribution and use. Robert Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights at the US Copyright Office, also previewed plans to make the US copyright registration process more user-friendly and the information maintained in the Copyright Office catalogs more updated and useful. Other speakers shared their ideas and plans for innovative solutions designed to increase the flow and reliability of useful information regarding authors, creators, publishers, licensees and others critical to forging strong returns in the digital marketplace.

Battles over infringing conduct continue, as do the elusive and sometimes contradictory goals of devising practical ways to monetize digital assets and protect them against freeloaders, while at the same time encouraging the free flow of information. The potential solutions and strategies discussed at the Third Public Meeting of the Internet Policy Task Force are evidence of the significant creativity, thought, and technological expertise that are being devoted to these issues.

Many thanks to the Internet Policy Task Force for assembling such a distinguished group of speakers and exploring such critical topics. And special thanks to Shira Perlmutter, Chief Policy Officer, OPIA; John Morris, Associate Administrator and Director of Internet Policy, NTIA; Susan Billheimer Allen, Attorney-Advisor, OPIA; and their teams for assembling these sessions to air diverse viewpoints and explore constructive solutions. We look forward to the Task Force’s continued efforts to hold constructive dialogues among stakeholders sharing interests in the development of a collaborative and rewarding digital marketplace for copyrighted works.