Patrick Leahy Reintroduces Bill to Give Copyright Parity to Same Sex Spouses

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), now ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation on Tuesday to allow the surviving same sex spouse of a copyright owner to obtain rights to that creative content, regardless of whether they lived in a state where gay nuptials are recognized.

The bill is similar to one that Leahy introduced last year. The Copyright Act currently allows rights to revert to the spouse upon the death of a copyright holder, but only if the couple lived in a state where gay marriage is legal.

“Artists are part of the creative lifeblood of our nation, and our laws should protect their families equally,” Leahy said in a statement.

MPAA chairman Chris Dodd said, “We believe that copyright law should treat all marriages equally, and we support this bill.”

But with Republican control of Congress, prospects for the legislation are uncertain. A version is expected to be introduced in the House by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has been holding hearings with an eye toward updating the Copyright Act, but that process is expected to stretch over years.

Leahy was joined by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) in reintroducing the legislation.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein to Be Arraigned on New Indictment

    Harvey Weinstein is set to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment on a new indictment, the Manhattan D.A.’s office said Thursday. Prosecutors announced last week that they would seek a fresh indictment, which would allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify at Weinstein’s trial. The move came after Justice James Burke ruled on Aug. [...]

  • AI Technology David Beckham

    How AI Tech Is Changing Dubbing, Making Stars Like David Beckham Multilingual

    David Beckham does not speak Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin. But when the soccer legend starred in a PSA for malaria awareness this spring, he effortlessly switched among these and six other languages, thanks to cutting-edge technology that could soon change how Hollywood localizes its movies and TV shows. The PSA in question was produced with technology [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

  • The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory

    The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory Rubin to Top Editorial Roles

    Mallory Rubin and Sean Fennessey have been promoted to top editorial posts at The Ringer, the pop culture and sports website and podcast network. Fennessey has been named chief content officer and Rubin has been named editor in chief. Both editors have been with The Ringer since it launched in 2016. Fennessey previously served as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content