[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 49 (Friday, March 13, 2015)]
[Pages 13325-13328]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05765]



Patent and Trademark Office

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket No.: PTO-C-2015-0016]

Public Meeting on Facilitating the Development of the Online 
Licensing Environment for Copyrighted Works

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce; United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Commerce; 
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. 
Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task 
Force (Task Force) Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and 
Innovation in the Digital Economy, released on July 31, 2013, the Task 
Force has sought and received comments from the public about how the 
Federal Government (Government) can facilitate the further development 
of a robust online licensing environment. The Task Force heard a range 
of stakeholder views at an initial public meeting in December 2013. The 
Task Force will hold another public meeting on April 1, 2015, to 
explore this issue further, focusing specifically on how the Government 
can assist in facilitating the development and use of standard 
identifiers for all types of works of authorship,

[[Page 13326]]

interoperability among databases and systems used to identify owners of 
rights and terms of use, and a possible portal for linking to such 
databases and to licensing platforms (similar in its goals to what has 
been established in the United Kingdom).

DATES: The public meeting will be held on April 1, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. 
to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the United States Patent 
and Trademark Office in the Singapore and Venice Rooms of the Global 
Intellectual Property Academy on the second floor of the Madison 
Building, which is located at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. 
All major entrances to the building are accessible to people with 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding the 
meeting, contact Hollis Robinson or Ann Chaitovitz, Office of Policy 
and International Affairs, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 
Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone 
(571) 272-9300; email [email protected]. Please 
direct all media inquiries to the Office of the Chief Communications 
Officer, USPTO, at (571) 272-8400.



A. Ongoing Government Initiatives

    The Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force (Task 
Force) released Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the 
Digital Economy on July 31, 2013 (Green Paper).\1\ The Green Paper was 
the product of extensive public consultation led by the United States 
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications 
and Information Administration (NTIA). It provided a comprehensive 
review of the current policy landscape related to copyright and the 
Internet, and identified important issues that called for attention and 
possible solutions.

    \1\ The Green Paper is available at http://www.uspto.gov/news/publications/copyrightgreenpaper.pdf.

    In October 2013, the USPTO and NTIA published a request for public 
comments relating to three areas of work flowing out of the Green 
Paper, including whether and how the Government can facilitate the 
further development of a robust online licensing environment.\2\ The 
request for comments noted that building the online marketplace is 
fundamentally a function of the private sector, and described how that 
process has been progressing. It also concluded that there remains a 
need for more comprehensive and reliable ownership data, interoperable 
standards enabling communication among databases, and more streamlined 
licensing mechanisms. As described in the Green Paper, while much 
progress has been made in the licensing of creative content for online 
uses, the pace of development has varied from sector to sector, and we 
are still far from a world in which individuals, business entities and 
other organizations wishing to license rights to use works online can 
always easily locate the owners of rights in specific works or large 
repertoires of works and obtain licenses to engage in the desired 
activities. This is especially true with respect to high-volume, low-
value transactions and uses.

    \2\ The other two areas involved (1) policy issues relating to 
the legal framework for the creation of remixes; the relevance and 
scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; the 
appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of 
individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale 
infringement, and (2) the establishment of a multistakeholder 
dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown 
system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the 
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Request for Comments on 
Department of Commerce Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, 
and Innovation in the Digital Economy, 78 FR 61337 (Oct. 3, 2013). 
Those topics have been the subjects of a number of roundtables and 
meetings since October 2013. See http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/copyrights/.

    The Task Force therefore posited that there could be an appropriate 
and useful role for Government in facilitating the process, whether by 
removing obstacles or taking steps to encourage faster and more 
collaborative action. It posed a number of questions regarding access 
to and standardization of rights ownership information, facilitating 
the effectiveness of the online marketplace, and the role of the 
Government in such matters. The request for comments also raised the 
possibility of pursuing the concept of a digital copyright hub similar 
to that being constructed in the United Kingdom.\3\

    \3\ The Copyright Hub homepage is available at http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk/.

    At the December 2013 public meeting, two panels addressed issues 
related to this topic, one discussing access to rights information and 
one discussing online licensing transactions. An archive of the webcast 
of the public meeting is available at http://new.livestream.com/uspto/copyright. A transcript of the public meeting is available at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/copyrights/121213-USPTO-Green_Paper_Hearing-Transcript.pdf. Copies of the comments received are available at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/global/copyrights/green_paper_public_comments.jsp.
    The Copyright Office is also engaged in a number of activities to 
improve its own public databases of rights information as well as 
connecting them to those maintained by the private sector. In March 
2013, the Copyright Office solicited public comments regarding possible 
improvements to its registration and recordation functions. It focused 
on making the registration process more user-friendly, making access to 
public registration records more robust and versatile, ensuring that 
the information in those records is accurate and up-to-date, using 
proper data and metadata standards and integrating with third party 
databases.\4\ The Technical Upgrades Special Project Team delivered a 
report to the Register on February 18, 2015, suggesting technical 
upgrades necessary to enable, among other things, improved 
searchability, collection of appropriate data including identifiers, 
integration with third party databases, and the development of a data 

    \4\ See U.S. Copyright Office, Technological Upgrades to 
Registration and Recordation Functions, 78 FR 17722 (Mar. 22, 2013), 
    \5\ See U.S. Copyright Office, Report and Recommendations of the 
Technical Upgrades Special Projects Team (Feb. 2015), http://www.copyright.gov/docs/technical_upgrades/usco-technicalupgrades.pdf.

    The Copyright Office has also solicited public comments and held 
public meetings regarding strategies for the electronic recordation of 
documents relating to transfers of copyright ownership, including the 
use of standard identifiers and other metadata standards.\6\ In a 
December 2014 report, Robert Brauneis, the Kaminstein Scholar in 
Residence, made a number of recommendations, including accommodating 
standard identifiers in registration and recordation documents to 
enable interoperability with other databases and developing an 
application programming interface (API) allowing third parties to 
develop software to retrieve data from Copyright Office records.\7\ In 
February 2015, the

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Copyright Office issued a Report on Copyright and the Music 
Marketplace, which examined the current systems for licensing of 
musical works and sound recordings in the United States and made a 
number of recommendations for updating and improving those systems.\8\ 
Among these recommendations was one that would involve the use of 
standard identifiers for music: The creation of a ``general'' music 
rights organization (GMRO), a non-profit entity designated and 
regulated by the government, to supplement the activities of music 
rights organizations (MROs) with regard to licensing musical works. The 
proposed GMRO would maintain a publicly accessible database of musical 
works represented by each MRO and by the publishers who directly 
license interactive performances/downloads, as well as of sound 
recording data. The proposed GMRO would use standard identifiers, and 
would actively gather missing data, correct flawed or conflicting data, 
handle competing ownership claims and develop additional data to match 
sound recordings with musical works. It would serve as the default 
licensing and collection agent for musical works (or shares of works) 
that licensees were unable to associate with an MRO or a direct 
licensing publisher. The Copyright Office also raised the possibility 
that its copyright registration database could be modified to 
incorporate standard identifiers, and stated the belief that the best 
strategy to address data issues would be to strongly incentivize the 
universal adoption and dissemination of several data standards.

    \6\ U.S. Copyright Office, Strategic Plan for Recordation of 
Documents, 79 FR 2696 (Jan. 15, 2014), http://copyright.gov/fedreg/2014/79fr2696.pdf.
    \7\ Robert Brauneis, Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, 
U.S. Copyright Office, Transforming Document Recordation at the 
United States Copyright Office (Dec. 2014), http://copyright.gov/docs/recordation/recordation-report.pdf.
    \8\ U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright and the Music Marketplace 
(Feb. 2015), http://copyright.gov/docs/musiclicensingstudy/copyright-and-the-music-marketplace.pdf.

    The Task Force is interested in examining these recommendations as 
a potential solution to at least some of the licensing problems that 
have been identified in the music sector. We will also consider 
alternative proposals, as well as looking at the use of standard 
identifiers in other creative sectors and identifier schema to enable 
interoperability among them.\9\ Finally, we will look at the 
desirability and feasibility of U.S. stakeholders establishing or 
participating in a copyright hub that would include all types of works 
and facilitate multi-media licensing.

    \9\ These unique identifiers (hereafter referred to as standard 
identifiers or identifiers) include International Standard 
Audiovisual Number (ISAN), International Standard Book Number 
(ISBN), International Standard Music Number (ISMN), International 
Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), International Standard Recording 
Code (ISRC), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), and 
International Standard Work Code (ISWC), Digital Object Identifier 
(DOI), Interested Parties Information (IPI), International Standard 
Text Code (ISTC), Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) and 
Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR).

    Possible roles for the Government, apart from the Copyright 
Office's initiatives described above, include promoting greater use of 
standard identifiers in all sectors as well as interoperability among 
standards and databases; encouraging the creation of a standardized 
framework for APIs that could facilitate automatic access to 
information; working with other countries to prioritize the use of 
identifiers or standards; participating in the development of 
international licensing projects; facilitating the creation of or 
participation in a ``copyright hub;'' and convening stakeholders to 
take forward any related initiatives.
    The April 1 public meeting will delve into specific aspects of 
these issues, building on the earlier questions, the public 
submissions, and the December 2013 discussion. Ultimately, the 
information obtained through this public process will be used to inform 
the Administration's views and recommendations.

B. Questions for This Public Meeting

    We plan to discuss whether the enhanced use and interoperability of 
standard identifiers across different sectors and geographical borders 
can help the continued development of online markets, whether the 
United States should develop or participate in an online licensing 
platform such as the U.K.'s Copyright Hub, and what the role of the 
Government should be in furthering any of these efforts.
1. Standard Identifiers
    The questions we hope to examine at the meeting include:
     Would greater use of standard identifiers help streamline 
licensing and facilitate the continued growth of an online marketplace?
     What conditions would likely lead to such greater use in 
each creative sector? How can the use of identifiers best be 
     To what extent does every type of work have one or more 
identifiers, and how and when are they used today?
     Are there ways in which identifiers should be used in 
order to maximize their usefulness? For example, should they contain or 
be linked to the relevant licensing information (e.g., ownership 
information, licensing terms)?
     Would it be advisable to combine separate public or 
private databases, for either the same or different types of works, 
into a comprehensive database or repository, or to link them through a 
hub? If so, how should this be accomplished and by whom?
     Is there a need to make the identifier schema 
     How can interoperability be ensured across sectors, and 
across geographical borders?
     Can a standards-based approach facilitate API development 
to enable seamless data exchange between databases containing unique 
identifier data? In the field of music, would the creation of a GMRO as 
proposed by the Copyright Office be sufficient to resolve the issues 
identified in the Green Paper with respect to access to comprehensive, 
standardized and interoperable rights ownership information? If not, 
why not?
     What other options would be possible and desirable, either 
with or without the need for legislation? Would they require government 
regulation or oversight?
2. Copyright Hub
    In the Green Paper, the Task Force discussed the U.K.'s Copyright 
Hub, a portal established and operated by industry to make licensing 
easier, especially for low-value, high-volume requests, by linking to a 
network of private and public copyright exchanges, rights registries 
and other copyright-related databases, with the government playing a 
facilitating and advisory role.\10\

    \10\ Richard Hooper and Ros Lynch, Copyright works: Streamlining 
copyright licensing for the digital age (July 2012), par. 7, http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk/Documents/dce-report-phase2.aspx.

    As it has evolved, the Copyright Hub is run by a non-profit company 
funded by the creative industries, with its technical development 
designed by the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, funded by the U.K. 
Government.\11\ The public meeting will include representatives from 
the Copyright Hub, who will describe its status and operations. The 
discussion will explore whether a similar project would be desirable in 
the United States, or whether the U.K. Copyright Hub should or could be 
extended to further incorporate U.S. works and licensing information, 
and if so, whether and how the Government should be involved.

    \11\ More information about the Copyright Hub is available at 

Public Meeting

    On April 1, 2015, the Task Force will hold a public meeting to hear 
stakeholder views on these topics. We look forward to hearing from all 
interested stakeholders, including

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creators, right holders, businesses that use copyrighted works, 
Internet intermediaries, and consumer and public interest groups. A 
draft agenda will be posted one week before the meeting.
    The meeting will be webcast. The agenda and webcast information 
will be available on the Internet Policy Task Force Web site, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/internetpolicytaskforce, and the USPTO's Web site, 
    The meeting will be open to members of the public to attend, space 
permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-registration for 
the meeting is available at the ``Register'' tab at: http://events.SignUp4.com/EfficientOnlineMarketplace. The meeting will be 
physically accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals 
requiring accommodation, such as sign language interpretation, real-
time captioning of the webcast or other ancillary aids, should 
communicate their needs to Hollis Robinson or Ann Chaitovitz, Office of 
Policy and International Affairs, United States Patent and Trademark 
Office, Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; 
telephone (571) 272-9300; email [email protected] at 
least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. Attendees should 
arrive at least one-half hour prior to the start of the meeting, and 
must present a valid government-issued photo identification upon 
arrival. Persons who have pre-registered (and received confirmation) 
will have seating held until 15 minutes before the program begins. 
Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments at the 

    Dated: March 9, 2015.
Michelle K. Lee,
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy 
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Lawrence E. Strickling,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 2015-05765 Filed 3-12-15; 8:45 am]