Leahy-Authored Bill To Clarify Copyright Laws Set To Become Law

Bill To Be Sent To President’s Desk To Be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON (Friday, Nov. 19, 2010) – Legislation authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to clarify and improve federal copyright laws cleared the Senate Friday, and will be sent to the President to be signed into law.  The bill is cosponsored by Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

The Copyright Cleanup, Clarification and Corrections Act will implement several recommendations by the Copyright Office to make the office’s operations more efficient, and will also clarify issues of copyright law that are ambiguous or have been made unclear by recent court decisions. The bill will also implement several recommendations made by the Copyright Office to streamline and organize office operations.

“I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation will become law,” said Leahy.  “This legislation will clarify certain areas of copyright law to provide certainty, and make technical corrections to the code.  The Copyright Office has done a terrific job, as it always does, by assisting Congress in finding inefficiencies in the law and recommending appropriate changes.  I was happy to work with Senator Sessions on this important bill, and am pleased that Congress acted before the end of the year.”

Among other provisions, the Copyright Cleanup, Clarification and Corrections Act will make statutory changes to facilitate the Copyright Office’s transition to digital files and record keeping; clarify that the exclusive licensee of a copyrighted work may further license the work in the absence of an agreement to the contrary; clarify that dramatic and literary works, like musical works, were not “published” when included on an album, and the owner therefore retains his or her rights; and clarify that regulations issued by the Copyright Royalty Judges are reviewable in court.

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