Roundtables Engage the Public on Digital Copyright Policy

Guest blog by Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter

As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force, the USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), have been traveling around the country over the past few months, holding roundtables to hear from the public on a number of important digital copyright policy issues first set forth in the Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.

We hosted roundtables in Nashville, Tennessee; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles and Berkeley, California, to discuss issues relating to: 1) the legal treatment of remixes; 2) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital age; and 3) the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the context of individual file sharers and of mass online services. We were pleased that the Copyright Office was able to join us for the Nashville and Los Angeles roundtables.

I am happy to report that we had a high level of participation at the roundtables. More than 60 people joined the panel discussions, and more than 750 observed, either in person or online. We heard from a diverse group of stakeholders from across the U.S., including composers in Nashville, technology companies in Berkeley, publishers and librarians in Cambridge, independent filmmakers in Los Angeles, as well as academics, public interest advocates, and representatives from major copyright industries at all four locations.

We were able to learn a great deal from the in-depth, constructive engagement at each of the roundtables. Both the participants and the public provided many helpful ideas that offered us a wide range of views, considerations and policy options. We are now working to absorb and evaluate all of this valuable input, in addition to the written public comments we received in response to our two Notices of Inquiry. In early 2015, we plan to issue a paper presenting our conclusions and recommendations, and look forward to sharing updates on this initiative in the future.