Shira Perlmutter Appointed As Register Of Copyrights

Shira Perlmutter

Shira Perlmutter has been appointed as the 14th United States Register of Copyrights, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced Monday (Sept. 21). Perlmutter will take on the role of Register of Copyrights in late October. Maria Strong, who has served as acting Register since January 2020, will return to her role as Associate Register of Copyrights for Policy and International Affairs.

“Shira brings to this role a deep knowledge of domestic and international copyright law and policy and a background in negotiating international intellectual property agreements. She has experience working with a wide range of stakeholders and finding common ground on complex issues,” Hayden said.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the U.S. Copyright Office during its 150th year,” said Perlmutter. “I look forward to working with Dr. Hayden and rejoining the dedicated staff of the Copyright Office on its mission of promoting the creation and dissemination of works of authorship, to the benefit of the American public.”

Perlmutter has served since 2012 as Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), working in all areas of intellectual property, including copyright. She was a liaison for the USPTO to other agencies including the U.S. Copyright Office, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of State.

At USPTO, Perlmutter guided the work of teams of policy experts, the Office of the Chief Economist and the IP Attaché program, oversaw the development and implementation of training and outreach plans, and served as lead author on significant Department of Commerce papers on copyright issues. She co-led the U.S. delegations that negotiated two copyright treaties at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), notably the Marrakesh Treaty and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performance. She engaged with multiple copyright stakeholders, including author organizations, copyright industries, technology companies, consumers, libraries and academics.

Prior to USPTO, she served as the Executive Vice President for Global Legal Policy at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in London, United Kingdom, where she was responsible for the development and international coordination of policy positions on copyright, trade, and other legal issues for six years.

Perlmutter previously served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property Policy, for Time Warner Inc. As chief intellectual property counsel, she oversaw the development of positions on domestic and international copyright issues associated with the provision of creative content and journalism, as well as online services.

From 1995 – 1999, Perlmutter served as the Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office. In that role she advised Congress and the Administration on copyright and related matters, including changes to the Copyright Act to implement international treaties and address the challenges of digital technologies. She prepared congressional testimony and responses to congressional inquiries, and was the lead author of a report on digital distance learning that resulted in amendment of the Copyright Act.

Perlmutter began her career working for two different private law firms, developing a specialty in copyright and trademark law.

For a number of years, she was on the faculty of The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, teaching copyright and trademark law as well as international intellectual property. She continues to serve on the boards of several organizations that focus on intellectual property issues and is a frequent writer and speaker on the subject.

Perlmutter earned a B.A. degree from Harvard University and a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Several organizations released statements regarding Perlmutter’s appointment.

The Nashville Songwriters Association International stated, “The Nashville Songwriters Assn. International (NSAI) wishes to congratulate Shira Perlmutter on her appointment as the new Register of Copyrights. She brings a wealth of valuable expertise and experience to the position which is critical right now. A number of important songwriter/composer issues — from oversight of the new Mechanical Licensing Collective and changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — are under consideration, and a strong Register of Copyrights dedicated to protecting the rights of creators in urgent and imperative. NSAI believes Ms. Perlmutter will fill that role brilliantly as she leads the U.S. Copyright Office.”

Garrett Levin, President and CEO of DiMA, stated, “I congratulate Shira Perlmutter on her appointment to be the next Register of Copyrights. Shira’s deep knowledge of copyright law, wide-ranging experience on every meaningful copyright policy issue of the last few decades, and practical experience in both the public and private sector make her a natural fit for the position. In particular, Shira’s understanding of music licensing issues and the digital economy comes at a critical time and will be invaluable as the Copyright Office continues its vital work to implement the Music Modernization Act. The staff of the Office has been diligent and thorough in their work on that issue to date, and I look forward to working with Shira and to continued strong leadership at the Office. Additionally, I commend Dr. Hayden for the thorough process she employed in the search for the next Register, in particular the opportunities she provided for public input.”

Michael Huppe, President and Chief Executive Officer of SoundExchange, stated, “Shira Perlmutter’s extensive background both in government and the private sector makes her an inspired choice to be the Register of Copyrights. Her experience as chief policy offer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, overseeing intellectual property policy at Time Warner, and advising the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva gives her the diverse background and expertise to help guide copyright policy and create procedures and practices. Her appointment reflects the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden’s commitment to setting the highest standards for U.S. copyright policy, and we look forward to working with Shira as we strive for a more fair, equitable and modern copyright system.”

NMPA President/CEO David Israelite said, “The appointment of Shira Perlmutter as our next Register of Copyrights is welcome news. Shira’s extensive background and years of experience advancing both domestic and international copyright policy makes her extremely well suited for the position.  She also appreciates the Office’s crucial role in protecting our nation’s creative economy. We thank the Librarian, Dr. Hayden, for her leadership in making this selection.”

Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), stated, “The Recording Industry Association of America congratulates Shira Perlmutter on her appointment as the Fourteenth U.S. Register of Copyrights, and applauds Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, on an outstanding choice. No one knows more about copyright than Shira. In her long career of public service and scholarship, Register Perlmutter has consistently worked to promote understanding and progress in copyright law and has established herself as a preeminent authority. Her previous leadership experiences in academia and the private sector, along with her appointments at the U.S. Copyright Office, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will prove especially valuable in an increasingly interconnected global digital world. We also extend our gratitude to Acting Register Maria Strong for ensuring the office did not lose a step through a highly active and consequential transition period. We look forward to working with Register Perlmutter as she brings people together to advance the public good through a wise and rigorous understanding and application of U.S. Copyright law.”

BMI’s President & CEO Mike O’Neill added, “BMI would like to congratulate Shira Perlmutter on her appointment as Register of the U.S. Copyright Office. Register Perlmutter’s experience and extensive background in copyright law and policy will help shepherd the office during these times of continuous change, including the ongoing threats to our creators and copyright holders. We look forward to working with Register Perlmutter to ensure that the value of the musical works created by our songwriters, composers and music publishers is protected.”



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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnich[email protected]

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