Intellectual Property Law

Copyright Office Undertakes Study on Ancillary Copyright Protections for Publishers

At the request of Congress, the Copyright Office is undertaking a public study to evaluate the effectiveness of current copyright protections for publishers in the United States, with a focus on press publishers. In its letter requesting this study, Congress pointed to a recent European Union directive establishing “ancillary copyright” protections for press publishers. The Office will consider whether or not similar protections are warranted in the United States, as well as the potential scope, source, and appropriate beneficiaries of any such protections. The Office will also consider how potential ancillary copyright protections might interact with current copyright law, looking at issues including the underlying rights of writers, photographers, and other authors; existing rights of publishers; and exceptions and limitations such as fair use. Additionally, the Office will examine whether any hypothetical new protections might apply to publishing sectors other than news, the potential impact of such protections on users including news aggregators, and the interaction between ancillary copyright and the United States’ international treaty obligations.

On October 12, 2021, the Office issued a Federal Register notice seeking public input on several topics related to these issues. The period for submission of initial comments has closed. On November 9, 2021, the Office issued a Federal Register notice seeking further comments on the questions set out in the October 12, 2021 notice. This second round of comments is also an opportunity for parties to raise new issues, amplify their initial comments, present empirical studies, or address, reply to, or expand upon any issues raised in the initial comments or at the roundtable. Second-round comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 5, 2022. More information and the link to submit comments are available here.


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