Lobbyists Are Working to Sneak a Dangerous Copyright Bill into Must-Pass Spending Legislation that Could Revive Website Blocking Proposals Like SOPA

Update 12/04/2018: The December 4 hearing has been postponed, but it could soon be rescheduled. Keep telling the Senate to vote “no” in the meantime.

TL;DR — Lobbyists are working to sneak a dangerous copyright bill into must-pass spending legislation that could help revive website blocking proposals like SOPA. But the Senate can stop it. Dial 1-916-823-9612 and enter your zip code to call your Senators and ask they stop this legislation before a crucial committee vote on December 4th.

Hollywood and music industry lobbyists are pushing Congress to sneak a controversial copyright bill into must-pass spending legislation before the end of the year. If passed, H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (and it’s companion bill in the Senate, S.1010) would let the President decide who runs the Copyright Office — and experts warn that this level of political influence could radically change how the Internet works.

If the Copyright Office lead becomes a political appointment, it would be way easier for copyright maximalists to reshape the structure of of the Internet. Hordes of lobbyists would descend the White House to pressure the President into appointing a Registrar of Copyright that would push the media industry’s wish list including website blocking, copyright term extensions, and mandatory upload filters à la the EU’s Article 13. All of these proposals would restrict our ability to share, collaborate, and express ourselves freely online in order to maximize Big Media’s bottom line.

We can’t let this happen. Letting the President appoint the Copyright Office’s leader would further politicize an office that is already captured by aggressive lobbying. In 2012, the then Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante pushed the now-infamous Internet censorship legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which later sparked one of the largest online protests in history. We can’t afford to to allow this office to become more influenced by special interests than it already is.

The House of Representatives already passed the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act. But the Senate can stop it. Pick up your phone, dial 1-916-823-9612 and enter your zip code to tell your Senators not to turn the Copyright Office into a pawn of Big Media.