National Register of Copyright Maria Pallante spoke to an audience of students, professors and industry professionals at Belmont’s Ocean Way Recording studio on Wednesday.
Pallante spoke about the unique blend of business, music and legal resources in the city that allow Nashvillians to contribute in a powerful way to ongoing copyright efforts. She acknowledged that the current tools provided to help combat copyright infringement are insufficient.
“We need a 21st century solution to a 21st century problem,” she said about issue of rampant online piracy. The laws and technology used to combat copyright infringement have not been significantly updated for decades, nor have the punishments. However, copyright infringement has been evolving.
“Years ago, there wasn’t a need to heavily penalize streaming, because it wasn’t a threat. Who was going to watch the game or a movie online, over a slow connection?” she said. “Now, that’s a viable option, and we need to find a way to combat that.”
Pallante also emphasized the necessity of educating the general public.
“Copyright owners at not at odds with the general public,” she said. A large part of the battle regarding copyright infringement is making the owners and the creators that suffer seem reputable. “They appear to be large and inhuman.”
Later, in a question and answer session, she expressed interest in putting on an exhibition at the Library of Congress on the history of copyright. Pallante said she hopes a large-scale exhibition will help generate both public interest in and understanding of copyright.
Throughout the evening, she reinforced copyright helps to motivate artists and “allows creativity to flourish.” Pallante said retooling the copyright process is just as important as retooling the laws used to enforce it. She conveyed that the process as it exists is not entirely sufficient and needs to be streamlined. The goal of the copyright office is not just to protect existing copyrighted content, but to also facilitate the copyrighting of new content.
In order to stay on the forefront in all areas to best serve all involved with copyright, Pallante said “we need to have conversations” and “be constantly thinking of where we are headed.”