Statement: News/Media Alliance Urges Copyright Office to Immediately Adopt Proposed Rule on Registration of Online News Content

The News/Media Alliance filed comments with the Copyright Office on February 20 in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Group Registration of Updates to a News Website. The proposed rule paves the way for a long-awaited ability for news publishers to efficiently register all of their online content, something that is effectively infeasible at the moment. Given reader expectations to access dynamic, frequently updated news websites, the Alliance applauds the Office for recognizing the need to update current regulations, which currently require publishers to submit PDF copies of entire websites with every update.

The Alliance’s comments called for the Office to immediately adopt the rule on an interim basis due to the urgency of providing publishers with a reasonable and functionable method of registering their online content. Absent such an option, publishers do not have the ability to reasonably access the full benefits of the copyright system, entitled to them by law, that enable publishers to enforce their rights and ensure readers’ continued access to high-quality journalism. Swift action is most reasonable, since the need and features of the rule have had years of consideration by media publishers, the Copyright Office and Congress, and the proposal is widely supported by stakeholders of the registration system.

In addition, the Alliance encouraged the Office to broaden the definition of a “news website” to explicitly include subject matter specific to news sites and to include content published on publisher-owned or operated apps, among other minor improvements. The Alliance suggests that adopting an interim rule immediately, with many of these changes, will best allow the Office to fine tune the rule with the benefit of data.

Danielle Coffey, Alliance President and CEO, stated, “We applaud the Copyright Office for taking this important first step in providing an efficient way for publishers to protect online content. This is the culmination of a 15-year effort by the Alliance and has the potential to thoroughly transform our members’ ability to enforce their rights against unauthorized uses. But in order to be useful, the rule must be operational, which is why we are calling on the Office to adopt it immediately on an interim basis.”

The Alliance will continue working with the Office to finalize the rule and to support the Office in further expanding reasonable registration options for other types of publisher content online.



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