Rep. Tom Marino introduced HR 4241 on December 11th. This bill aims to establish the US Copyright Office as an agency in the legislative branch, which would move it from its current location in the Library of Congress. HR 4241 was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary after it was introduced.
There has been talk of establishing the Copyright Office as an independent agency for some time. Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights & Director of the Copyright Office, advocated for this change in a letter to Rep. Conyers dated March 23, 2015. She claimed that making the Copyright Office independent would relieve any perceived biases that occur as a result of the Office reporting to the national library. Many copyright owners (publishers) believe that the Library of Congress puts its interests as a copyright user over the interests of copyright owners when it creates and enforces policies.
Pallante also believes establishing the Copyright Office as an independent agency will bolster the Office’s budget and other resources and allow members of the agency to provide better service to all branches of the government.
Opponents of establishing an independent agency believe this will lead to further restrictions on use of copyrighted materials both by libraries and by the general public.