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Christopher S. Reed

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Christopher S. Reed

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Christopher S. Reed

Maria Pallante was appointed Register of Copyrights on January 1, 2011 and immediately got to work with big plans and bold ideas to improve the agency and advance copyright law through a number of major policy initiatives. Following several major public relations challenges attributable to appropriate-but-unpopular decisions, the Office found its reputation vulnerable and exposed at an especially pivotal time.

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Christopher S. Reed

Determined to regain control of the public discourse on copyright, Pallante delivered what turned out to be a landmark speech, The Next Great Copyright Act, which encouraged Congress to think about copyright anew, rather than making ad hoc changes and adjustments from time to time. The speech worked, and Congress embarked on what became known as the “copyright review,” the most intense period of Congressional focus on copyright issues since the debates that led to the Copyright Act of 1976.

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Christopher S. Reed

Discussions about orphan works predate the copyright review by nearly 10 years, but the topic re-emerged in the wake of cases involving the Google Books mass digitization project and a number of universities that supplied books for the effort. Those cases have greatly expanded the fair use doctrine, leading many who once supported a legislative solution to orphan works to change their tune, threatening to harm the integrity and stability of the copyright system as a whole.

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Christopher S. Reed

Arguably the biggest challenge for copyright owners today is how to enforce their rights in a world where the ability to copy and distribute worldwide is instantaneous and nearly costless. Specific topics include the felony streaming loophole, the future of the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions (i.e. the notice-and-takedown system), and site blocking, an enforcement procedure that has become commonplace in many foreign jurisdictions but remains an anathema in the United States.

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Christopher S. Reed

Once an esoteric provision of the copyright code, the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures to control access to copyrighted works (such as digital rights management on DVDs and Blu-ray discs) has become something of a consumer protection flash point. Opponents of the anti-circumvention provisions assert that they prevent consumers from being able to repair their own electronic devices, which are controlled by microprocessors that are often protected using technological protection measures. Content owners assert that loosening the rules would make it easier to create and distribute pirated content.

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Christopher S. Reed

Perhaps no other group of copyright owners has been more severely affected by outdated copyright laws than visual artists, whose works are often immediately separated from metadata that identifies the copyright owner, and which are easily reproduced and distributed widely on the internet with impunity. Specific topics include the proposed establishment of a small-claims court for lower-value infringement claims for which full-blown federal litigation would prove too costly, improvements to the copyright registration system to better accommodate visual works, and the creation of a “resale royalty” that would allow visual artists to participate in the appreciation of their work after they are first sold.

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Christopher S. Reed

Few areas of copyright law are as byzantine and anachronistic as those dealing with music licensing. Like the television business, new technologies and business models in the music business feel hamstrung by the outdated legal structure, and many industry players have turned to Congress for help. Specific topics include the Copyright Office’s call for a unified license and its controversial guidance to the Justice Department on so-called fractional licensing.

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Christopher S. Reed

The television business has been jolted by rapidly evolving technology over the past several years, but often those technologies conflict with long-established, carefully crafted copyright regimes based on decades of historic precedent. Where new meets old, the Copyright Office, as the primary steward of U.S. copyright policy, often gets stuck in the middle. This chapter addresses cases such as ABC Television v. Aereo and Fox Television Stations v. FilmOn X, the applicability of the section 111 license to new distribution models, and the FCC’s attempt at “unlocking” cable boxes.