United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary
 
     
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Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Hearing on Innovation in America: The Role of Copyrights

For Immediate Release
July 25, 2013

Contact: Kathryn Rexrode or Jessica Collins, (202) 225-3951

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte
Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet
Hearing on Innovation in America: The Role of Copyrights

Chairman Goodlatte: This morning, the Subcommittee will hear from several individuals involved in the creation of copyrighted works. Next week, the Subcommittee will hear from those involved in the technology sector. These two important components of our economy have a unique symbiotic relationship and are responsible for significant innovation in America.

Today we focus on the role of copyrights in U.S. innovation.  To be sure, according to the Framers of our Nation, the very purpose of granting copyrights was to promote innovation.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution contains the foundation for our nation’s copyright laws.  It allows Congress to provide to creators, for limited times, the right to exclusively use their writings and inventions. 

The Copyright Clause was not a controversial provision. In Federalist No. 43, James Madison declared that “the utility of this power will scarcely be questioned.”  Indeed, this provision was one of the few that were unanimously adopted by the Constitutional Convention.

The Framers firmly believed that granting authors exclusive rights would establish the incentive for them to innovate; they believed that this financial incentive was necessary to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.”  And they were right.

Today America is the most innovative and creative nation in the world, thanks in no small part to the Framer’s foresight.  U.S. copyright owners have created millions of high-skilled, high-paying U.S. jobs, have contributed billions to our economy, and have led to a better quality of life with rich entertainment and cultural experiences for citizens. 

However, from time to time, it is important to stop and listen to what our nation’s creators have to say about whether the incentives are still working to encourage innovation.  This Committee’s review of U.S. copyright laws provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. During today’s hearing, we will take testimony from copyright owners who continue to produce the fruit of innovation that was envisioned when the Framers first planted the seed. 

I thank the witnesses for coming today and look forward to hearing their testimonies.

 

 

 
 
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