Copyright issues surrounding all facets of the entertainment industry were at the heart of a special roundtable discussion at UCLA.
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee held the discussion on Nov. 10, which was part of the Committee’s national copyright review. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) first announced the Committee’s intention to undertake a comprehensive bipartisan review of U.S. copyright law at World Intellectual Property Day in April 2013.
The goal of the Committee’s review has been to determine whether the copyright laws are still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation. As part of the copyright review process, the Committee has held 20 congressional hearings, which have included testimony from 100 witnesses.
While Committee hearings and meetings in Washington, D.C. are ongoing, Committee members have been conducting a listening tour around the country to hear directly from creators and innovators about the challenges they face in their creative field and what changes are needed to ensure U.S. copyright law keeps pace with technological advances.
A group of more than 150 students and members of the public attended.
Goodlatte was joined by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-California), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Jerry Nadler (D-New York), Steven Cohen (D-Tennessee) and Suzan DelBene (D-Washington) at UCLA’s Palisades Room within Carnesale Commons. Prior to visiting Los Angeles, the members had conducted similar meetings in Silicon Valley and Nashville.
Opening the roundtable, it was noted that the original copyright law was written in 1790, and that the lawmakers of that era could never have imagined all the technological advancements that have changed the landscape, even within the last 10 years. The question, Goodlatte asked, is whether copyright law is still working in the digital age?
The roundtable brought together numerous industry experts from Content Creators Coalition, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Independent Film and Television Alliance, The J. Paul Getty Trust, Salem Los Angeles, Directors Guild of America, FilmColony, Nu Image, Mobile Deluxe, Arbitech, Songwriters of North America, Amazon Studios, MPAA, CAL Innovates, UCLA Law School, Pasadena Central Library, Emblem Music Group, Professional Photographers of America and Google.
Committee members listened intently to the testimony from multiple industry experts, occasionally offering questions and some small opinions, although Goodlatte noted that it was their job to listen, more than commentate.
By the end of the roundtable, many hot-button issues had been discussed including songwriter compensation from music streaming services; the possible need for felony punishment regarding websites that host illegal movie streaming and downloading; and fees relating to digital and analog radio.