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House Committee Takes Copyright Review Hearing to Hollywood

House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is in the midst of a “listening tour” as part of an ongoing review of U.S. copyright law, and on Tuesday he’s holding a hearing at UCLA that is aimed in part at Hollywood.

Goodlatte has held 20 hearings on copyright law since announcing his review in 2013, with the focus on “determining whether our copyright laws are still working in the digital age.”

More recently, he’s been traveling on a “listening tour” that takes him closer to key industries. He is at Santa Clara University in Northern California on Monday to get a Silicon Valley perspective.

It’s expected that the UCLA roundtable will address a broad range of issues, including music licensing, fair use and voluntary agreements. Rather than pursue legislation, in recent years the MPAA has pursued agreements with ad agencies and payment processors, while a “copyright alert” system has been in place since 2013 in which major Internet providers give warnings to customers who have accessed infringing content.

“The Internet’s decentralized nature allows anyone around the world to contribute to its content and architecture, but that also means no single entity can solve problems that arise, like piracy,” Neil Fried, MPAA’s senior VP of government and regulatory affairs,  wrote in a blog post on Monday. “That is why we are currently focusing our attention on forging cross-industry, voluntary initiatives to ensure a safe and innovative digital environment, rather than seeking a legislative rewrite of copyright policy.”

The MPAA is pressing the committee to look at the “role that search services play as a gateway by which many users discover and access sites involved in illegal activity.”

Google, however, has long defended its search practices and now publishes a tally of copyright removal requests. Among those expected at Tuesday’s roundtable is Fred Von Lohmann, Google’s director for copyright.

Others expected at the roundtable include Susan Cleary, VP and general counsel at the Independent Film & Television Alliance; Dean Marks, chief of global content protection for the MPAA; Kathy Garmezy, associate executive director of global affairs for the DGA; producer Richard Gladstein; Jeffrey Greenstein, president of international sales and distribution for NuImage; Dina LaPolt, representative for Steven Tyler and attorney adviser to Songwriters of North America; Joe Lewis, head of half hour programming for Amazon Studios; UCLA Law School professor David Nimmer; and Matt Serletic, co-founder and CEO of Zya Music and owner of Emblem Music Group.

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