Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Maria A. Pallante as the 12th Register of Copyrights and director of the United States Copyright Office, effective today. Pallante served as the Acting Register for the past five months, following the retirement of Marybeth Peters on December 31, 2010.
In announcing his decision, Billington stressed the increasingly important role of copyright law in the current knowledge economy and the numerous complex issues facing copyright owners as well as users of copyrighted materials. He noted the particular challenges of protecting authors’ intellectual-property interests in the online environment and achieving meaningful exceptions and limitations that serve the public interest in the 21st century.
“Maria’s background and experience make her an ideal choice to lead the Copyright Office at this time,” Billington said. “She is a thoughtful civil servant, a proven and effective manager, a leader in the wider copyright community and a recognized expert in domestic and international copyright law.”
Pallante was tapped for the post following an extensive consultation and search process that began last year. The Librarian interviewed an impressive pool of candidates from the government, private sector and academia. Dozens of organizations and individuals from a broad spectrum of viewpoints were invited to meet with the Librarian’s Office, to express the personal and professional qualities that they consider important in the position of the Register and the issues likely to require the attention of the Copyright Office in coming years.
In making the appointment, Billington commended the high regard for Pallante among Copyright Office stakeholders from multinational businesses to individual citizens, and her understanding of the role that the Copyright Office plays within the mission of the Library of Congress. Billington noted that “During her tenure as Acting Register, she has managed a workforce of nearly 500 people and handled a series of extraordinary challenges relating to technology, staffing and budgets.”