Writers' Beef Pays Off

From: ASJA/Alexandra Owens <75227.1650[_at_]CompuServe.COM>
Date: 18 Sep 96 16:10:01 EDT

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AMERICAN SOCIETY OF JOURNALISTS AND AUTHORS 1501 Broadway
New York, New York 10036
tel 212-997-0947
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                                         For immediate release:
                                         September 18, 1996


         HATCH CALLS PLAN TO OVERHAUL COPYRIGHT OFFICE "PREMATURE"

    The Copyright Office appears to be safe at home in the Library of Congress--for now.

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told a committee hearing this morning it would be "premature" to merge the U.S. Copyright Office with the offices of patents and trademarks in a bill that would create a new "intellectual property" superagency. A spokesman for the committee staff said it was "likely" the Copyright Office would be dropped from the overhaul proposal.

    According to spectators, other senators at the hearing, including Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Fred Thompson of Tennessee, also expressed skepticism and called for further study of the matter. "My impression," Sen. Thompson said, "is that we have a solution in search of a problem."

    Authors, publishers, and librarians opposed the bill, and lately had criticized their exclusion from the witness roster for today's hearing. Saying that the plan could keep authors from obtaining maximum protection on their works by quintupling copyright registration fees, the American Society of Journalists and Authors this week broadcast a last-minute action alert over its Internet distribution network urging writers to send Hatch and others on the committee fax and e-mail messages opposing the plan.

    "Apparently, writers and others interested in copyright took time to make their views known," said Claire Safran, president of ASJA. "And just as apparently, when they wrote, the senators listened."

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Received on Wed Sep 18 1996 - 20:17:29 GMT

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