House Committee Approves Trump-Controlled US Copyright Office, 27-1

US Copyright Office legislation will offer greater control and oversight to President Trump (pictured: US Capitol)
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US Copyright Office legislation will offer greater control and oversight to President Trump (pictured: US Capitol)
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Photo: B. Sheptock (PD)

Donald Trump will soon have direct appointment powers over the US Copyright Office, thanks to some very fast-moving legislation.

It’s Hollywood’s worst nightmare.  And the music industry’s, too.  But Donald Trump will soon be picking the person that controls the fate of both industries for decades to come.

That power will transform a once-stodgy bureaucratic node into a highly politicized agency.  And, a fantastic outlet for a punitive president to exact retaliation against two industries that publicly oppose him.

Little wonder this bill is moving at a record pace.  After drafting the HR 1695 in record time, the House Judiciary Committee has approved it, 27-1.  Now, the Senate will review the measure before it hits the full House of Representatives.

Smaller modifications may happen.  But this 5-page bill is pretty-near baked.  Here’s a copy of the latest draft.

After a near-guaranteed signature by Trump, ‘The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017’ goes into full effect.

So what is ‘The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017,’ exactly?

Essentially, the bill gives the president the direct ability to appoint the next Register of the US Copyright Office.  Then, subject to Senate approval, that appointment becomes official.  Additionally, the president can remove an appointment just as easily if things don’t fit his policies.

The measure shortcuts the current process, in which the Librarian of Congress appoints the Register.  The Librarian is also appointed by the president, prompting some to call this a technicality.  But major changes in Washington are oftentimes buried in the fine print.

Here’s a more complete review of what this game-changing legislation entails.  

Already, Hollywood has attempted to extend an olive branch.  In a carefully worded release, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) supported the bill as a positive next step.  That’s probably way too little, way too late, with the music industry also likely to receive some retaliatory slaps from Trump.  Meanwhile, lobbyists at the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) appear even less effective in the Trump era, with ridiculous, multi-million dollar salaries potentially getting slashed if things continue to go sour.

That includes progress on piracy, still a major concern for labels and studios alike.  That said, surges by above-board players like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music are continuing to shift the action away from torrenting and mp3 downloading.  But limited enforcement muscle will continue to drag down subscription pricing and music video monetization levels.

With HR 1675, the prospect of support from an entertainment-hostile Trump Administration is now a prayer.


5 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    Very likely Trump as a business will recover THE BUTCHERS OF MUSIC BUSINESS FROM OWN SUICIDE!
    They are just like Detroit or Chicago democrats, BURNING THEIR OWN HOUSE!

    $300B music industry is obvious to and IMBECILE!

    RIAA in the meantime is getting PUBLIC ORGASM from $2.5B, 2016 US streaming contribution TOMB!

  2. Shit Boy

    Mr. President is the right man for the boss over the copyright office. It’s the most relative situation he’s encountered since taking office. I’m very comfortable with a boss that has inside assets at stake : Licensing the ‘ Trump ‘ logo throughout the entire world with partnerships of the business community in other countries actually funding the building of new developer-projects of ‘ Grand Donald Ideas ‘ out their own pockets ?

    • Gary

      “Logos” are trademarks, not music copyrights. He has no skin in this game. Prepare for the final corporate rape of the songwriter and artist.

  3. Anonymous

    Despite the fact that everything Trump touches has a tendency to turn to shit… this particular situation may not all be doom and gloom. We just have to get him to equate songwriters with coal minors, and view copyright as a job creator. He’s all about deregulation, so perhaps this could result in less stringent PRO consent decrees. Maybe some good could come of this, at least before the nukes start falling…

  4. Anonymous

    It would also, in the future, leave the office open to being captured by business interests who may want to implement the next SOPA.

    The Copyright Office should stay where it is right now.