On the Road to a Modern Copyright System

AuthorJoshua L. Simmons
PositionJoshua L. Simmons is an intellectual property partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York, New York. He focuses his practice on intellectual property litigation and counseling, as well as regulatory and legislative policy. He can be reached at joshua.simmons@kirkland.com.
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 11, Number 4, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2019 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
he roar of support for modernizing the Copyright Ofce is
deafening.1 Yet, despite those cheers, stakeholders debate the
placement of the Ofce and the role of its head, the Register
of Copyrights, in the copyright system. This article presents a
narrative of the evolution of the copyright system from 1783
to the early days of the Copyright Ofce, considering along
the way themes such as the requirements for registration, the
use of the copyright system to build a national library, and
the role of the Register in copyright policy. It also addresses
whether the Copyright Ofce is required to be a depart-
ment of the Library of Congress and whether the Register of
Copyrights can be a primary exponent of copyright policy.

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