On April 24, 2013, Representative Robert Goodlatte (R – VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that his committee will convene a series of hearings to review America’s copyright laws. In remarks made at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Chairman Goodlatte noted that technology continues to evolve and asked the audience to “contrast how American citizens kept up with the latest news in Boston last week to when Paul Revere rode nearby to warn the local communities of the British advance in 1775.”
Chairman Goodlatte also noted that as we continue to build on the fruits of technological progress, the American copyright system faces substantial challenges in areas like digital piracy and copyright ownership issues. He raised concerns about the government’s ability to cope with these digital advancements by stating that “federal judges are forced to make decisions using laws that are difficult to apply today,” and that the U.S. Copyright Office continues to face challenges in meeting the demands that have been placed upon it. This comes on the heels of a recent statement by Maria Pallante, director of the United States Copyright Office, who told Congress that copyright law in the United States must be overhauled.
Considering both the calls for an overhaul of the copyright system and Chairman Goodlatte’s interest in this issue we are reaching a critical juncture in our copyright laws. Interested parties should closely monitor this process.