A Republican congressman on Friday proposed a bill to eliminate fair use in the copyright law, calling the provision an impediment to free speech.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted 22-14 to give final approval to the measure, which would overturn the Copyright Act of 1976 and create a new Copyright Office to address fair use.
It’s the latest in a series of efforts by Republicans to use the Copyright Office’s power to limit the First Amendment rights of the entertainment industry.
The Copyright Office, a branch of the White House that helps Congress and the public understand copyright law and copyright policy, is charged with regulating copyright law as well as regulating how the public can use copyrighted works.
The bill is the latest attempt to curb fair use, which critics say unfairly targets the creative industries and can have chilling effects on free speech and innovation.
In the Copyright Center of Excellence report on Fair Use in 2011, the Copyright Board said fair use is “unfair” to consumers and is often the result of a single-party “creditor” or an “industry” making decisions based on its own financial interest.
The bureau said “significant consumer benefits” to the copyright industry can be realized by removing barriers to access to copyrighted works and that it could have “greatly reduced the cost of copyrights and prevented duplication and copying of copyrighted works.”