Maria Pallante Out as U.S. Register of Copyrights

Courtesy of US Copyright Office

Maria Pallante is out at the U.S. Register of Copyrights and is moving to a new post, a Friday announcement that was met with surprise by trade associations and other groups in Washington.

The change was made by Carla Hayden who was only recently confirmed as Librarian of Congress.

Hayden announced that Karyn Temple Claggett would serve as acting register of copyrights, while Pallante moves to senior adviser for digital strategy for the Library of Congress.

Pallante, who has served in the post since 2011, has been a champion of modernizing the Copyright Office and of moving it into the executive branch. The office is now a part of the Library of Congress, and the register often plays an important role in offering guidance to Congress on copyright issues. In 2013, she called for a “next great Copyright Act,” seeing the need for substantial changes to meet the demands of the digital are.

“We are surprised and concerned by today’s news, which comes at a time when the office and others are considering many potential changes to the copyright system and law,” said Keith Kupferschmid, the CEO of the Copyright Alliance, an industry group representing content creators.

He said that the appointment of Claggett as acting register “will allow us all to be deliberate and take the time necessary to find the next register.”

Pallante also has been an advocate for moving the Copyright Office into the executive branch — which would make the post an appointment of the president.

Hayden said that Pallante, as senior adviser, will advise on collecting and preserving digital materials, collections copyright status, licensing opportunities and third-party collaborations.

In a statement, she said that Pallante “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.”