May 2022 Roundup of Copyright News

The U.S. Copyright Office announced today that the new copyright small claims court, the Copyright Claims Board will open its doors on June 16. The announcement follows last month’s publication of the Office’s last set of final rules governing CCB active proceedings. To help creators learn more about the CCB, we are preparing webinars and new programs, updating the CASE Act Guide, and hosting educational events like our panel event last month with CCB staff. Here is a quick snapshot of several copyright-related activities that happened during the month of May and a few events to look forward to for the month of June.

Copyright Alliance Activities

Copyright Alliance, TALA, and ASMP Host CCB Panel: On May 16, the Copyright Alliance, Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA), in partnership with the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), hosted a panel titled Learn About the Copyright Claims Board. With the CCB due to launch before the end of June, the panel walked the 287 attendees step-by-step through the CCB process and provided them with the information they will need to bring and defend cases before the CCB. Panelists included David Carson, Copyright Claims Officer, Copyright Claims Board, U.S. Copyright Office; Whitney Levandusky, Supervisory Copyright Claims Attorney, Copyright Claims Board, U.S. Copyright Office; Thomas Maddrey, General Counsel & Head of National Content and Education, ASMP and TALA board member; Terrica Carrington, Vice President Legal Policy and Copyright Counsel, Copyright Alliance; and Keith Kupferschmid (panel moderator), CEO, Copyright Alliance. Rewatch the event and keep updated on the CCB on our Learn About the Copyright Claims Board webpage.

Copyright Alliance Submits Comments on NTIA Mobile App Study: On May 23, the Copyright Alliance submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to a request for comments (RFC) published on April 22, 2022, regarding developing a report on competition in the mobile app ecosystem. The Copyright Alliance asked NTIA to examine the harms of infringement on the legitimate mobile app ecosystem and to consider setting forth guidelines and best practices for screening app developers and their products to combat fraudulent and infringing apps.

Copyright Alliance Blogs: The Copyright Alliance posted several new blogs during the month.

  • The Copyright Alliance celebrated its 15th Year Anniversary during the month of May. Our CEO, Keith Kupferschmid shared his thoughts in this blog post on the growth of the Copyright Alliance’s membership and staff over the years, current major copyright policy priorities, and his thoughts on the future of copyright law and policies.
  • Ahead of Mother’s Day, we explored in this blog post whether flower arrangements are copyrightable. In another blog post, we examine the scope of copyright protections for popular tropes like bearded wizards and caped superheroes, and whether the first iterations of these tropes and the current iterations of the tropes are protectable under copyright law.
  • We also celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month 2022 by profiling several AAPI creators in this blog post and their journeys of embracing or representing their heritages as they innovated and impacted their creative communities through their works.

Copyright Office Activities

USCO Issues Final Rule on CCB Active Proceedings and Evidence and Announces Start Date for CCB: On May 17, the U.S. Copyright Office published a final rule, effective June 16, on active proceedings and evidence before the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) covering topics including procedural practice, scheduling, conferences, discovery, written testimony, hearings, settlement, default and failure to prosecute, records, post-determination procedures, conduct of parties, and limits on the number of claims that can be brought. Parties may provide any feedback regarding the CCB’s regulations at any time via the Office’s ex parte meeting process. Additionally, the Office is inviting additional public comments on the portion of the final rule pertaining to the “smaller claims” process, due no later than November 14, 2022. Among the final procedures and elements of an active CCB proceeding, the final rule sets the limitation of the number of cases within a period of 12 months at 30 for parties, 80 for law firms, and 40 for attorneys (although the quota is not limited to “active proceedings”), eliminates Requests for Admissions in the normal course of a proceeding except on a limited basis and for good cause shown, streamlines the “smaller claims” process, and clarifies that the CCB will be able to consider meritorious defenses in the case of a respondent default.

Following the publication of this last set of final rules, the U.S. Copyright Office announced today that the start date of the CCB is Thursday, June 16. As of that date, CCB participants will be able to register for the CCB electronic filing and case management system, the eCCB, and access other CCB materials such as the Office’s CCB Handbook.

USCO to Assign New Deposit Account Numbers for Existing Account Holders: On May 9, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that starting June 6, it will assign new account numbers to all active, compliant deposit accounts and that it will close inactive, noncompliant deposit accounts. The change is due to the fact that the Office is working to digitize and publish its records, some of which display the numbers of active deposit accounts. The Office will host an informational webinar on June 8 to provide more information on these changes.

USCO Updates List of Acceptable File Types: On May 10, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that starting June 9, it would no longer accept electronic deposits of copyrighted works embodied in certain file types such as .midi, .ram, and .htm in order to improve registration pendency times. For more information, check out the full list of acceptable file types for electronic deposits.

USCO Receives Comments on Technical Measures: On May 27, the U.S. Copyright Office received 60 public comments in response to its April 27th notice of inquiry on the development and use of standard technical measures for the protection and identification of copyrighted works. The Copyright Alliance submitted comments, answering several questions related to existing standard technical measures, obstacles to adoption of existing technologies, and interpretations of and improvements to various parts of section 512(i)(2)(A) of the Copyright Act.

USCO Amends Reporting Requirements for Licensing Under the MMA: On May 24, the U.S. Copyright Office published a set of interim rules, effective immediately, governing certain reporting requirements of digital music providers pursuant to the Music Modernization Act (MMA) in response to operational and compliance challenges with existing regulations. Public comments on the interim rules are due by July 8.

USCO Chief Economist Studying Gender Disparity in Copyright: According to an interview with the U.S. Copyright Office’s Chief Economist Brent Lutes, the Office will release a study on gender disparity issues in copyright law. The study was conducted in collaboration with Professor Joe Waldfogel at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Lutes indicated that the Office will “extend [the] analysis [on gender disparity] to additionally look at racial and ethnic disparities in the usage of the copyright system.”

USCO Names Miriam DeChant as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Public Information and Education: On May 10, Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter announced the appointment of Miriam DeChant as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Public Information and Education at the U.S. Copyright Office, effective May 8, 2022. In the announcement, Register Perlmutter stated, “I am delighted to welcome Miriam to this important position. Her knowledge of copyright and her extensive experience managing programs to broaden access to intellectual property systems will be a valuable addition to our senior management team.” DeChant previously worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, “where she served as director of the Global IP Academy, providing domestic and international intellectual property capacity-building, technical assistance, and education policy and programs.” DeChant also served as co-lead of the Gender Committee for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Equity Council. She earned a JD from Villanova University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree in the design field from Colorado State University.

Congressional Copyright Related Activities

Sens. Leahy and Tillis Introduce Bill to Facilitate Music-Related Cultural Exchange Programs: On May 12, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Promoting Peace, Education, and Cultural Exchange (PEACE) through Music Diplomacy Act. “This bipartisan and bicameral bill authorizes the State Department to facilitate music-related exchange programs, including those focused on conflict resolution, with other countries” According to Senator Leahy, “Music and the arts are fantastic tools not only to enrich our own culture but to facilitate connections between cultures and advance cultural diplomacy…I have seen firsthand the power that music has to bring people together from all walks of life, and I am proud to join this effort.” According to Senator Tillis, “America’s creative industries spread our values—freedom, liberty, justice, and hope—throughout the world. I’m proud to partner with my friend Senator Leahy to promote America’s music industries and all the values we share and treasure with the people of the world.”

Copyright in the Courts

Second Circuit Denies Termination Rights to Songwriters’ Successors: On May 4, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal made by the family of the late songwriter and record producer, Hugo Peretti, to terminate a 1983 grant of rights by Peretti and his family to a third party (who in turn assigned the rights to Authentic Brand LLC) in the musical work for the hit song “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” The court affirmed the district court ruling, noting that in the 1983 agreement, Peretti only granted the rights in its original copyright term since he died before the renewal term started in 1989. Though Peretti’s family properly renewed the copyright in the musical work, they had effectively already transferred their rights in the 1983 agreement to the third party, and the court stated that because the grant of the rights to the third party were not actually “grants executed by the author,” Peretti’s family could not terminate the agreement under § 203.

Copyright in Other Countries

Megaupload Co-Defendants Will Not Be Extradited to the U.S.: Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, who were officers of the notorious piracy website, Megaupload, reached a deal with New Zealand and U.S. authorities to be charged in New Zealand for offenses similar to the offenses they face in the United States. In exchange, the United States will withdraw its extradition proceedings against the pair. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom still faces the possibility of extradition to the U.S.

Italy Proposes Legislation to Restrict Access to Infringing Sites: According to reports, a bill was introduced in the Italian legislature to enable Italy’s telecoms regulator, AGCOM, to direct internet service providers to restrict access to infringing websites for “live” content and to perform precautionary blocking for IP addresses previously identified as carrying infringing content. The bill reportedly received unanimous joint commission support and is now being considered by the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

French Performer and Label Groups Reach Voluntary Agreement On Digital Remuneration: According to reports, various organizations representing French artists, performers, and record labels welcomed an agreement regarding the sharing of streaming royalties. The agreement establishes a minimum streaming royalty rate for featured artists and the minimum commitment is 10% of monies received by the record label.

Number of Copyright Registrations in China Increases: According to reports, the National Copyright Administration in China published the total number of copyright registrations nationwide, reporting that there were 6.26 million copyright registrations in 2021, which was up by 24.30% from last year. Art works were registered the most, followed by photographic works, written works, and film/audiovisual works.

Cuba Updates Copyright Laws: On May 16, the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power passed legislation that updates Cuban copyright law to include rights for computer programs, applications, and databases, and also addresses rights for artistic, technical, scientific, educational, and journalistic works.

Look Forward To And Save the Date For…

Copyright Claims Board to Begin Accepting Claims: On June 16, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) will begin accepting claims. CCB participants will be able to register for the CCB electronic filing and case management system, the eCCB, and access other CCB materials such as the U.S. Copyright Office’s CCB Handbook. To register for the eCCB and to learn more about the CCB, check out the Copyright Office’s CCB website. For additional information and access to Copyright Alliance resources and alerts related to the CCB, check out our Learn More About the Copyright Claims Board webpage.

PPA: 5 Keys to Awaken Your ‘Great’: On June 1, at 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is hosting a Facebook Live 30-minute event titled 5 Keys to Awaken Your Great, which is “designed to show [attendees] how to awaken [their] ‘great’ for breakthrough in business, and in life” through tools shared by keynote and inspirational speaker PeriSean Hall. More information is available on the Facebook Live event page.

USPTO: Intellectual Property Basics and Helpful Resources: On June 2, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will host an informational session on (IP) basics “and potential ways to protect your innovation as you transition from idea to product,” covering patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The event is offered for free to aspiring innovators and will cover local resources and assistance that the USPTO and its agencies makes available. More information is available is on the registration page.

USCO Webinar on Changes to Deposit Accounts for Existing Account Holders: On June 6, the U.S. Copyright Office will assign new account numbers to all active, compliant deposit accounts and that it will close inactive, noncompliant deposit accounts. The change is due to the fact that the Office is working to digitize and publish its records, some of which display the numbers of active deposit accounts. The Office will host an informational webinar on June 8 to provide more information on these changes. Additional information about the event is available on the webinar registration page.

C-IP2 and WIPO: U.S. Summer School on Intellectual Property: From June 6-17, the Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy (C-IP2) at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) are partnering to host the WIPO-U.S. Summer School on Intellectual Property. The two-week course will be held in person in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. “The program provides an opportunity for senior students, young professionals, and government officials to acquire deeper knowledge of each domain of IP and of the role and functions of WIPO,” and includes “lectures, case studies, simulation exercises, and group discussions on selected IP topics, with an orientation toward the interface between IP and other disciplines.” A certificate is awarded to participants who successfully complete the program. More information is available on the registration page.

AIMP: 2022 Global Music Publishing Summit: On June 14, the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) will host its 5th annual AIMP Global Music Publishing Summit in a hybrid format, both online and in-person, and will present a full day of panels and keynotes on business, sync, and creative areas of the independent music publishing industry. The event will include a reception and songwriter showcase presented by NYC3 and Music Publishers Canada.

A2IM: Indie Week 2022: From June 16-18, A2IM will host Indie Week, a four-day international conference and networking event “aimed at maximizing the global impact of independent music.” It will feature keynotes, panels, exclusive networking sessions, and more, and has “historically drawn an attendance of over 1200 participants from over 30 countries.” More information is available on the registration page.

USCO Modernization Webinar: Recordation System: On June 27, at 1:00 p.m. ET, the U.S. Copyright Office will host a public modernization webinar on its limited pilot program of an online recordation system, launched in April 2020 which will be open to the general public in the coming months. The webinar will discuss features of the new online recordation system.

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