Maria Pallante, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, visited with BMI executives on March 14 for a wide-ranging review of projects and priorities at the Copyright Office in her new administration. Pallante was appointed June, 2011 after serving for five years in a variety of positions at the Copyright Office, succeeding Marybeth Peters, who held the Office of Register for more than 25 years.
Pallante began her remarks with a special thanks to BMI for its help in several current projects. On April 26, BMI is assisting the Copyright Office in its celebration of World Intellectual Property Day with a special musical event for members of Congress, friends of the Copyright Office and Copyright Office staff. Among Pallante’s priority projects is a wide-ranging review of the Office’s technology, databases and IT systems. BMI is one of a number of private sector organizations chosen to assist by offering marketplace “best practices” concepts. Pallante spoke comprehensively about the analyses, reviews and updates to Copyright Office systems and procedures currently underway. “We have a legacy of Copyright Office systems that reaches back 150 years,” said Pallante, “and we must assure that these are updated and appropriate in the 21st century.”
In response to a question from BMI Senior Vice President Fred Cannon about the future of public performance right that BMI oversees, Pallante said that she foresees a larger and larger impact for this aspect of copyright and a growing role in the future.
Reminding her audience that she had worked in the private sector in New York City for years prior to joining the Copyright Office, Pallante said that “marketplace solutions are often part of the answer to difficult copyright problems. One of the core responsibilities is to advise Congress on options for dealing with difficult public policy issues. Legislation is not the only answer; private sector solutions must also be explored.”
She spoke candidly about the impact of the heated public debate about the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy legislation. “We have not done a very good job at communicating to the public the importance of exclusive rights for authors, composers and copyright owners,” she said, “and why they are in the public interest. In fact, they are the engine of the public interest and the basis for a comprehensive public trust.”
BMI’s Cannon thanked her for her insightful and candid remarks and pledged BMI’s ongoing help to the Copyright Office in accomplishing the goals Pallante has laid out.