Songwriters Guild of America Seeks Answers On Departure of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante
"I am deeply concerned about the removal of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, and what precisely may have led to her demotion and subsequent resignation. SGA was among the first and most active supporters of Pallante's selection as head of the Copyright Office six years ago, and though we did not agree with her on every issue of copyright policy, we felt secure that the voice of the creator was being heard and fairly considered by her office throughout her tenure."
Carnes continued: "SGA was especially gratified by Pallante's leadership on the issue of alternative dispute resolution for online copyright infringement claims. Indeed, it is the report of the US Copyright Office, issued at her direction, on the establishment of a 'Small Claims' procedure for copyright creators that led directly to the introduction in Congress of pending legislation on that issue. We continue to place enormous effort behind support for that legislation, and we are hopeful that Pallante's departure will not negatively affect the chances for eventual passage and enactment in the near future.
"SGA also applauds Pallante's recent issuance of a Copyright Office report highly critical of the US Department of Justice's positions concerning revision of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, including the Copyright Office's strong objection to DOJ insistence that 'full work licensing' is mandated under the decrees. The concept of full work licensing is one that runs counter to over one hundred years of music community practice, and one that would both severely impact not only the ability of music creators to earn a living, but also in many cases to collaborate with one another in the creation of new musical works. The subsequent, wise rejection by Federal BMI Rate Court Judge Stanton of DOJ's assertions was influenced in no small part, in our view, by the persuasive legal and common sense arguments set forth in the Copyright Office report, and we thank Pallante for her further leadership on that score.
"It is our grave concern, however, that these very examples of Pallante's willingness to recognize and act on the vital interests of copyright creators in the digital age led to her being removed from her position.
"I want to thank Register Pallante both personally and on behalf of SGA for her service, her fairness and her compassion for the plight of songwriters and composers in the age of rampant digital theft and woefully inadequate royalty rates and payments. We wish her well, and look forward to learning much more about just what exactly went on here, and how best for creators to address it."
Founded in 1931, the SGA is America's longest-established and largest music advocacy group and copyright administrator run solely by and for music creators and their families. Rick Carnes, President of SGA, is a Nashville-based songwriter and performer whose songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire to Dean Martin and Steve Wariner, and have sold over 40 million copies.