2020 has been a difficult year to say the least. Since 2020 has had enough bad news to complete an entire Billy Joel song, I think it’s more important than ever to take a minute during this holiday season to look back at my last five years at the Copyright Alliance to take stock of the things I am thankful for.
The things I’m thankful for this holiday season include:
•The intelligent, hardworking, dedicated and passionate Copyright Alliance staff who haven’t missed a beat during the pandemic as they continue to advocate policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright and to protect the rights of creators and innovators from the safety of their homes;
•The organizational members of the Copyright Alliance, who when the pandemic hit, immediately sprung into action to provide entertainment and other resources to make life, work, leisure, and educating children easier; and who worked to create generous economic and career support programs, relief funds and donations to independent creators who are unable to work due to the pandemic;
•The millions of creators whose interests the Copyright Alliance seeks to protect, and who, like many others are being hit hard by the pandemic. Despite having to deal with people who don’t always respect their valuable contributions, a law that does not always adequately protect them, and the new challenges presented by pandemic that has cancelled their concerts and shows, film and television productions, book tours and speaking engagements, wedding and photography shoots, art exhibitions, and other events, these impassioned creators continue to work hard to create new copyrighted works for the world to enjoy, and even found time to contact their Senators and urged them to support important copyright legislation, like the CASE Act;
•The creative community in Portland and throughout the state of Oregon, for its tireless and persistent efforts to urge Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to support Oregon’s creative community by removing his hold on the CASE Act;
•Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), and their incredible staff, for their tremendous support co-sponsoring the CASE Act and their 14 month effort to get Senator Wyden to withdraw his flawed hold on the bill;
•Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and the members of both Committees and their staff, for taking a long look at the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) during the past year and understanding that the 22-year-old DMCA is in dire need of a tune-up;
•Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, for her excellent selection of Shira Perlmutter as the 14th Register of Copyrights;
•The leadership and staff at the U.S. Copyright Office, for supporting copyright and creativity every day and for modernizing and changing copyright registration and other Copyright Office procedures on the fly to account for changes necessitated by the pandemic;
•Senator Tillis (again), for challenging the Internet Archive’s attempt to use the pandemic as an excuse for its opportunistic infringing behavior and for taking the Supreme Court up on their suggestion in Allen v. Cooper to consider legislation to abrogate state sovereign immunity study;
•The Copyright Alliance Legal and Academic Advisory Boards, for their dedication and support of Copyright Alliance members by sharing their experience and advice, as well as for their assistance in filing a regular stream of amicus briefs on behalf of copyright and creativity;
•Representatives from Verizon, CCIA, Public Knowledge and the National Association of Broadcasters, and many others who we do not usually agree with on copyright issues, for meeting with us regularly throughout the year under the watchful eye of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff as we worked to successfully develop legislative language to address the streaming loophole;
•Healthcare providers, essential workers, mask makers and wearers, poll workers and other election officials, and so many others, for keeping al of us, including those who work in the creative industries, all safe and healthy and our democracy intact;
•Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLAs) located throughout the country, for continuing to support creativity and innovation by providing pro-bono legal services and educational workshops to individual creators;
•Television, books, music, magazines, photos, movies, software, video games, art, newspapers, and so many other creative works that have helped us get through this pandemic with our sanity and let us escape the news of the day and will continue to be there for us when all this craziness finally ends; and…
•A copyright law that protects these works and incentivizes their creation so that people like you and I can enjoy them.
Normally, I also take the opportunity in my Thanksgiving blog to point out a few things that I am not too thankful for. But I think we have all had enough bad things to focus on this year so I think I’ll take the year off from that part of the post. Plus, I feel pretty confident that the likes of Google, the Internet Archives and several others will continue their practices of devaluing creators and creativity, so I’ll have another chance to highlight their illicit activities in my Thanksgiving 2021 blog.
In the meantime, I look forward to 2021, with the promise that the Copyright Alliance will continue fighting the good fight, working diligently to help ensure that creators get a fair break, that their livelihoods and careers are protected, and that they earn a fair wage for the work that they produce.