Tuesday 15 October 2013

Copyright and the US Government Shutdown

I suspect few people have missed the news that the US is currently operating without a federal government. However, some IP enthusiasts may have missed how the US government shutdown is affecting copyright.

So far the most important consequence of the shutdown for copyright has been the closure of the Copyright Office. Since the October 1, the Copyright Office website has displayed the following message:

As the message states, copyright registrations are currently being accepted, but will not be processed until the office reopens. In addition the electronic registration records are not being updated, although the existing records are still searchable.

More recently, the US Patents and Trademarks Office has delayed an important meeting on the issue of copyright reform, citing "complications" due to the shutdown. The meeting on “Copyright Policy, Creation, and Innovation in the Digital Economy” has been postponed from October 30 to December 12. However, comments are still being sought on being sought on the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force green paper, “Copyright Policy, Creativity, andInnovation in the Digital Economy. Let’s hope the US has a government by December. 

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