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.
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.