Last month, the House of Representatives voted 378 to 48 in favor of the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, a bill focused mainly on the mundane details of copyright law, as its name implies. However, Kristen Twardowski reports, the bill also limits the power of the Librarian of Congress, specifically the power to appoint the next Register of Copyrights.
“During her confirmation hearing, Hayden expressed openness regarding the future role of the United States Copyright Office. She said that the Office remaining ‘fully functional’ was important to her,” so why limit her, wonders Twardowski.
The answer becomes clear once you know the impetus behind the bill was to give more control to lobbyists and corporate leaders in the music, publishing and entertainment industries, all of whom overwhelmingly support the current bill.
“Though the previous Librarian of Congress received heavy criticism, Congress did not vote to hamper his abilities… perhaps some legislators find it easier to take power away from an African American woman than from a white man,” Twardowski argues.
In fact, the bill would give the President the power to choose, which would, in turn, allow lobbyists to promote candidates for the Register of Copyrights who advocate for corporate interests, not the interests of the American public.