For the past two years, the House Judiciary Committee has been conducting a review of our nation’s copyright laws. These laws have not been updated since 1976, so it is expected that this review could dramatically impact copyright law as we have known it for the past few decades.
Throughout this two year review, the committee has conducted 20 hearings, which included testimony from 100 witnesses on the subject of copyright law in the digital age. The topics included a variety subjects, such as fair use, music licensing, copyright protection, the role of copyrights, and much more.
“As technology continues to rapidly advance, we have a responsibility to ensure that our laws are keeping pace with these developments,” Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said in a statement. There is no question that technology has influenced the way that our nation consumes media and entertainment, so it is only reasonable that our laws evolve to reflect these changes in our society.
In order to change copyright laws to reflect the changing needs of the creators and innovators of intellectual property, it was important for the committee to hear directly from them. Chairman Goodlatte and Democrat Ranking Member John Conyers announced that the House Judiciary Committee would conduct a listening tour as part of the copyright review.
A committee staffer told The Daily Caller, “the goal of the listening tour is to step out of Washington, D.C. to hear from creators and innovators in terms of what is and is not working for them in their various fields.”
At this time, it appears that the new copyright laws will likely have a significant effect on aggregators and news sites. Matt Drudge, the owner of the news outlet Drudge Report, told Alex Jones of InfoWars that the new copyright laws could very well be the end of his popular site.
“I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,” said Drudge. “They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.” Drudge warns that a potential ban on independent media outlets is a threat to the very foundation of the free Internet.
It is still unclear how the committee’s hearing will actually affect independent news outlets — and copyright laws as a whole — but it is clearly evident that a lot hinges on their decision.
You can see the full interview with Matt Drudge below.