As promised last week, here’s a copy of the letter I sent to Representative John Sarbanes about H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017. Please feel free to use it as a template for a letter to your own representative! If you don’t know who your representative is, click here.
Dear Representative Sarbanes,
I am writing to ask you to please oppose H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, which was introduced and referred to the Judiciary Committee on March 23. This bill would make the Register of Copyrights a Presidential appointee instead of an appointee of the Librarian of Congress. The Library Copyright Alliance, a group of national library organizations collectively representing more than 120,000 libraries in the United States, has issued the following statement in opposition to this bill: http://www.districtdispatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FINAL-DRAFT-LCA-Statement-re-Register-Appointment-Bill-032317PM.pdf. I am a librarian at the University of Maryland, and I agree with the LCA that this change would politicize the position of Register of Copyrights and likely result “in a Register more actively engaged in policy development than in competent management and modernization.” It is truly puzzling to me that the legislative branch would voluntarily cede its power to select and oversee a key Congressional advisor on an issue of national importance to the executive branch, which would make the Register *less* accountable to the American people. Should this bill come up for a vote, I urge you to vote “no.” Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this issue further.