26 October 2016Copyright

Maria Pallante a ‘tremendous loss’ to US Copyright Office

Maria Pallante, the former head of the US Copyright Office, has not accepted her new role as senior advisor at the US Library of Congress.

Her departure has been described as a “tremendous loss” for innovators.

Yesterday, October 25, WIPR reported that Pallante had been appointed to the role at the Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office.

The appointment was announced on October 21 and Pallante was due to oversee the librarian’s agency-wide digital strategy, as well as licensing opportunities and third-party collaborations for digital content.

However, on October 24, Pallante reportedly sent a letter of resignation to the Library of Congress, stating: “This will serve as my resignation effective October 29, 2016. I hope you will respect that I do not accept the reassignment to work on Library matters.”

She added: “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the US Copyright Office for nearly six years. During this time, I have had the honour of working with extraordinary staff, forward-thinking lawmakers, and dedicated officials from across the US.”

In her letter, Pallante celebrated her tenure at the Copyright Office, noting that “a particular focus has been to modernise our copyright system to the benefit of all”.

Following the announcement, Senator Orrin Hatch (Republican Party), a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement.

He said: “The resignation of Maria Pallante as US register of copyrights underscores the longstanding challenges associated with housing the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress.

“Ultimately the register’s primary duty is to our nation’s copyright system, including providing expert opinion to Congress. In the coming months, I look forward to exploring this relationship and considering possible legislative actions to ensure the viability of our copyright system.

“I thank Maria Pallante for her service as the 12th register of copyrights. She will be missed by lawmakers, creators, and the public,” he added.

Bob Goodlatte (Republican Party), who is House Judiciary Committee chairman, and John Conyers, Jr (Democrat Party), a ranking member, released a joint statement about Pallante’s resignation.

“We are saddened to learn that Maria Pallante, who served with distinction as only the 12th register of copyrights and the director of the Copyright Office … will be leaving the Copyright Office. This will be a tremendous loss for the Copyright Office and for America’s creators, innovators, and users of copyrighted works.

“We have had the pleasure of working closely with Maria over the last few years as the House Judiciary Committee conducted a comprehensive review of US copyright law to determine whether the law is still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation.”

They added: “Maria has played an instrumental role in the committee’s efforts. We have welcomed her thoughtful testimony on copyright law and policy a number of times, and closely studied the reports produced by her office.”

The US Copyright Office told WIPR that it has no comment on the departure of Maria Pallante.

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25 October 2016   The US Library of Congress has hired Maria Pallante, the former head of the US Copyright Office, as senior advisor for digital strategy.
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