Sixth Annual Finnegan Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property

Thursday, November 4, 2010
5:00 pm Reception  |  6:00 pm Lecture
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW  |  Room 603

Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights

The 1976 Copyright Act: Prologue and Epilogue

The 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.  Marybeth Peters will discuss the process and pressures in copyright law that fueled the demand for a comprehensive revision and describe the role of the Copyright Office in the legislative process leading up to enactment and then in the implementation and aftermath of enactment.  She will offer reflections on why proponents sought a number of fundamental changes to copyright law and then use 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.

Opening Remarks 

David M. Kelly, Partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP.