US Register of Copyrights Delivers the Sixth Annual Finnegan Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property
The 1976 Copyright Act: Prologue and Epilogue
Copyright Act of 1976 was a comprehensive statutory revision designed
to reframe copyright law for the modern era. As the influence of that
act increases in the digital era, it is beneficial to have a fuller
understanding of the origins of the 1976 Act. At PIJIP's Sixth Annual Finnegan Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property, Marybeth Peters
discussed the process and pressures in copyright law that fueled the
demand for a comprehensive revision and described the role of the
Copyright Office in the legislative process leading up to enactment and
then in the implementation and aftermath of enactment. She offered
reflections on why proponents sought a number of fundamental changes to
copyright law and then used the benefit of hindsight to consider whether
those changes produced the anticipated effects.
About the Lecturer
Marybeth Peters became the United States Register of Copyrights on August 7, 1994. From 1983 to 1994 she held the position of policy planning adviser to the register. She has also served as acting general counsel of the Copyright Office and as chief of both the Examining and Information and Reference divisions. Peters is the author of The General Guide to the Copyright Act of 1976. From 1986 to 1995, Peters, was a lecturer in the Communications Law Institute of The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and previously served as adjunct professor of copyright law at The University of Miami School of Law and at The Georgetown University Law Center. From 1989 to 1990 Peters was a consultant on copyright law to the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Comments and Reflections
Jon Baumgarten is an intellectual property partner at Proskauer. From January
1976 through 1979, Baumgarten served as General Counsel of the United
States Copyright Office and was a leading participant in the formulation of
the new Copyright Act.
Arthur J. Levine, counsel at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner,
LLP, was previously executive director of the National Commission on New
Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works and also worked at the U.S. Copyright
Office for eight years.