Library of Congress Appoints Register of Copyrights

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced her selection of Shira Perlmutter as the 14th Register of Copyrights.

“I am pleased to announce that Shira Perlmutter will serve as the 14th United States Register of Copyrights,” said Hayden. “Shira brings to this role a deep knowledge of domestic and international copyright law and policy and a background in negotiating international intellectual property agreements. She has experience working with a wide range of stakeholders and finding common ground on complex issues.”

Perlmutter will step into the role of Register of Copyrights in late October and will assume leadership of the organization during its 150th year.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the U.S. Copyright Office during its 150th year,” said Perlmutter. “I look forward to working with Dr. Hayden and rejoining the dedicated staff of the Copyright Office on its mission of promoting the creation and dissemination of works of authorship, to the benefit of the American public.”

Maria Strong, who has served as acting Register since January 2020, will return to her role as Associate Register of Copyrights for Policy and International Affairs.

“I appreciate Maria for stepping into the role of acting Register and for providing excellent leadership to the U.S. Copyright Office,” said Hayden.

Perlmutter has served since 2012 as Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), working in all areas of intellectual property, including copyright. She was a liaison for the USPTO to other agencies including the U.S. Copyright Office, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of State.

At USPTO, Perlmutter guided the work of teams of policy experts, the Office of the Chief Economist and the IP Attaché program, oversaw the development and implementation of training and outreach plans, and served as lead author on significant Department of Commerce papers on copyright issues. She co-led the U.S. delegations that negotiated two copyright treaties at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), notably the Marrakesh Treaty and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performance. She engaged with multiple copyright stakeholders, including author organizations, copyright industries, technology companies, consumers, libraries and academics.

Prior to USPTO, she served as the Executive Vice President for Global Legal Policy at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in London, United Kingdom, where she was responsible for the development and international coordination of policy positions on copyright, trade, and other legal issues for six years. .

Perlmutter previously served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property Policy, for Time Warner Inc. As chief intellectual property counsel, she oversaw the development of positions on domestic and international copyright issues associated with the provision of creative content and journalism, as well as online services.

From 1995 – 1999, Perlmutter served as the Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office. In that role she advised Congress and the Administration on copyright and related matters, including changes to the Copyright Act to implement international treaties and address the challenges of digital technologies. She prepared congressional testimony and responses to congressional inquiries, and was the lead author of a report on digital distance learning that resulted in amendment of the Copyright Act.

Perlmutter began her career working for two different private law firms, developing a specialty in copyright and trademark law.

For a number of years, she was on the faculty of The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, teaching copyright and trademark law as well as international intellectual property. She continues to serve on the boards of several organizations that focus on intellectual property issues and is a frequent writer and speaker on the subject.

Perlmutter earned a B.A. degree from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Copyright functions were first centralized within the Library of Congress 150 years ago in 1870, and in 1897, Congress created the U.S. Copyright Office as a separate department of the Library of Congress. The Register of Copyrights serves by appointment of, and under the general direction of, the Librarian of Congress.

The U.S. Copyright Office plays a crucial role in the nation’s cultural and economic development. Congress enacted the first federal Copyright Act in 1790 in accordance with Article 1, section 8 of the United States Constitution “to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” The U.S. Copyright Office is the principal federal entity charged by statute with the administration of the U.S. copyright law. Among other statutory duties, the Register oversees the copyright registration and recordation systems of the United States, manages statutory royalty fees totaling more than a billion dollars annually, advises Congress on domestic and international copyright policy issues, and provides support on copyright matters to courts and executive branch agencies.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services, and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register and record creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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