Rep. Frank could land copyright panel job

Participants in the film labeling battle, take note: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is weighing the possibility of becoming chairman of the House copyright subcommittee now that Rep. William Hughes (D-N.J.) has said he’ll leave Congress at the end of the year.

In a brief conversation, Frank said, “I’d be interested” in chairing the copyright panel should the opportunity arise.

However, he said he also might opt for chairing the House civil and constitutional rights subcommittee.

Assuming incumbents on the House Judiciary Committee are re-elected, Frank would be fourth in line to take over the copyright panel behind Reps. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.), Dan Glickman (D-Kansas) and Mike Synar (D-Okla.). Schroeder is in line for a full committee chairmanship unrelated to copyright issues, while it’s unclear if Glickman or Synar would want the job.

Frank’s ascension to chair of the copyright panel would be a coup for the Directors Guild of America, since Frank has been a sponsor of a DGA-backed initiative requiring extensive disclaimers at the beginning of films notifying consumers of material alterations.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America opposes the tough labeling requirement. Last year, the MPAA seemingly neutralized the chance for congressional entry into the subject by agreeing to voluntarily label all pix altered for aftermarket viewing.

A dark horse candidate for the House copyright chairmanship is Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who has been less inclined to support the DGA proposal than Frank.

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