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Sen. Patrick Leahy Proposes Bill to Apply Marriage Equality to Copyright Act

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation on Wednesday that would ensure that a same-sex surviving spouse of a copyright holder can inherit copyright interests.

Leahy said a “loophole” in the law means that if a writer who marries a partner in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, then moves to state that doesn’t, the inheritance of that copyright interest is in doubt.

“It is wrong for the federal government to deny benefits or privileges to couples who have lawfully wed,” Leahy said in a statement.

The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act, a version of which was also introduced earlier this year in the House, amends the Copyright Act to consider simply whether a couple is lawfully married, not where they live when a copyright owner dies.

The Writers Guild of America West issued a statement praising Leahy’s legislation.

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