January 23, 2022

Personnel Changes at U.S. Copyright Office, Maria Pallante Moves to Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy Position

UPDATE October 25

Maria Pallante’s Departure From the Copyright Office: What It Means, And Why It Matters (via Billboard.com)

UPDATE October 25

Maria Pallante Resigns From U.S. Copyright Office

According to a report from Politico, Maria Pallante submitted her resignation from the U.S. Copyright Office yesterday (Monday) after being removed from her position as Register of Copyright (on Friday), a position she held since 2011.

Friday’s announcement about Pallante being removed from the Register position said  her new position was “senior advisor for digital strategy” in the U.S. Copyright Office. That’s now, of course, a no go.

Read the Complete Politico Note

Direct to Full Text of Maria Pallante’s Resignation Letter (1 page; PDF)

Direct to Full Text of Maria Pallante’s Reassignment Letter From Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress (3 pages; PDF)


Statement by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)

We are saddened to learn that Maria Pallante, who served with distinction as only the 12th Register of Copyrights and the Director of the Copyright Office for the last five years, will be leaving the Copyright Office.  This will be a tremendous loss for the Copyright Office and for America’s creators, innovators, and users of copyrighted works.

“We have had the pleasure of working closely with Maria over the last few years as the House Judiciary Committee conducted a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law to determine whether the law is still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation.  Maria has played an instrumental role in the Committee’s efforts.   We have welcomed her thoughtful testimony on copyright law and policy a number of times and closely studied the reports produced by her office.

“As Maria transitions from the Copyright Office, it is the perfect opportunity to examine the selection process for the new Register.  America’s creativity is the envy of the world and the Copyright Office is at the center of it.  We must ensure that any new Register is fully qualified to lead this important office as it continues to directly advise Congress on copyright policy and law.  The new Register of Copyrights should be dedicated to protecting creative rights and modernizing the Copyright Office.

UPDATE: Statement by ALA’s Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office:

Today’s announcement makes clear that the future of the US Copyright Office is a high priority of the Librarian of Congress. ALA stands ready to assist Dr. Hayden and the staff of the Library to recruit a new Register who is committed to shaping a copyright system that balances the fair protection of copyrighted information and the broadest possible use of that information to foster innovation, education and creativity of all kinds.

UPDATE From Billboard:

Pallante was locked out of her computer this morning, according to two sources who spoke with Library employees. Earlier, Hayden had called several members of Congress to tell them about her decision. Later, she called the heads of several media business trade organizations to give them the news, according to one who received such a call.

That executive, and others who represent creators and media businesses in Washington, D.C., expressed surprise and dismay that Pallante, who had the job since 2011, had been removed. “The people in the creative community are furious about the fact that this was done,” says a lawyer who works for organizations that support strong copyright laws, “but especially about the way it was done.”

From Library of Congress:

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced the appointment of Maria Pallante as senior advisor for digital strategy and Karyn Temple Claggett as acting register of copyrights.

In the role of senior advisor, Pallante will support the Librarian’s agency-wide digital strategy, advising on collecting and preserving digital materials, collections copyright status, licensing opportunities and third-party collaborations related to digital content.

“I want to move aggressively toward making our collections as widely accessible as possible,” Hayden said. “I need focused expertise in the areas of copyright and licensing to ensure we execute these plans in full consideration of copyright protections. This is an opportunity not only to expand collections access, but to integrate education about the nation’s copyright system into that process.

“Maria’s service as register has laid the groundwork for important modernization efforts in the Copyright Office which I intend to pursue, working in close collaboration with Congress and stakeholders. Improved information technology for the office will be a top priority. I am committed to making sure the copyright system of the United States is effective, efficient and secure.”

Pallante has served as register of copyright since her appointment in 2011 by James Billington. Prior to that appointment, Pallante served as deputy general counsel (2007-2008) and associate register and director of policy and international affairs (2008-2011) for the office. From 1999-2007 she was intellectual property counsel and director of licensing for the worldwide Guggenheim Museums. She also worked for two authors’ organizations in New York, serving as assistant director of the Authors Guild Inc. and as executive director of the National Writers Union. She practiced at the Washington, D.C., law firm and literary agency Lichtman, Trister, Singer and Ross, and completed a clerkship in administrative law for the appellate division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I am pleased to announce that Karyn Temple Claggett will serve as acting register while a national search is conducted for a new permanent register,” Hayden said. “Karyn is a skilled intellectual property lawyer and manager, and I am confident she will provide excellent leadership for the Copyright Office in the interim.”

Temple Claggett has served since 2013 as associate register of copyrights and director of policy and international affairs for the United States Copyright Office. In that role, she has overseen the office’s domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support and trade negotiations. She has directed the Office of Policy and International Affairs, which represents the Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and provides support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction.

Prior to joining the Copyright Office, Temple Claggett served as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general of the United States, where she assisted with the formulation of Department of Justice policy on legal issues and helped manage the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property. She also spent several years in the private sector as vice president, litigation and legal affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America and at the law firm Williams & Connolly, LLP. She began her legal career as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division through its Honors Program and also served as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.