The Register of Copyrights wants to pursue pirate sites that aren’t breaking US laws

Maria Pallante, the acting Register of Copyrights, testified at a Congressional hearing on Monday. That hearing was the first in a series on “Promoting Investment and Protecting Commerce Online”.

If you want, you can watch the hearing here. I wouldn’t, though. The resolution is low on the video and it’s only available in the one obscure streaming format. Also, it’s boring as all get out. Fortunately, you can also download the written testimonies.

Her testimony is a treat.

If you’ve been following the stories about how ICE has seized website domains then you probably already know that the Obama administration has sold its soul to the RIAA, MPAA, and Big Content in general. Her testimony toes the party line perfectly. In fact, it reads like it was written by one of the major movie studios, not a government official. There are a couple of really good parts that I’d like to show you.

Here’s one half-truth that she was fed by Big Content and then regurgitated in the hearing:

Aside from being illegal, the existence of such websites undermines the incentives and
the ability of legitimate companies to engage in the production, sale, licensing and other
dissemination of copyrighted content to compete in the marketplace.

So Hollywood produced fewer movies last year? And the RIAA released fewer songs last year? Actually, no. Of course, that’s not the worst part. She really does support going after websites that aren’t breaking US law:

Indeed, the pressing issue is how to tackle rogue websites based in foreign jurisdictions. Copyright owners have few options to pursue websites that are based abroad and that do not take advantage of U.S.-based Internet registrars or registries. Finding methods to address the illegal activities of foreign websites and non-U.S.-based actors who may not be subject to U.S. jurisdiction can be a challenge in many areas of U.S law enforcement

This would include sites like, a Spanish site that is hosted in Spain, owned by a Spanish company, and isn’t even breaking Spanish law. Nor has it been charged with breaking any US law.

My government has sold itself to Big Content.

To be fair, it’s not just Obama; it’s politicians in general. Whoever succeeds Obama will be just as bad, regardless of party affiliation.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. SmallContent18 March, 2011

    Hey, great post. Few points:

    1. It’s actually the Register of Copyrights, not the “registrar” as you point out. It’s an easy thing to overlook, except for the fact it’s on the front page of the testimony you purport to have read and on the hearing web page.

    2. It would be odd for the RegistEr of Copyrights to be toeing the party line because she’s not part of the administration. The Copyright Office is a division of the Library of Congress which, as the name suggests, is part of Congress (which you may remember from Schoolhouse Rock, is part of the Legislative Branch).

    3. If you read _all_ of the testimony, you’d see that while she is talking about foreign-based web sites, the focus is on preventing access to them from the United States. There is nothing in the testimony to suggest that the RegistEr wants to shut down sites in foreign countries.

    1. Nate the great18 March, 2011

      Oops. I was dealing with a lot of school stuff that day and after the 10th time I spoke to the registrar the titles kinda got stuck in my mind. Thanks.

      And as for her position being part of Congress, so what? She speaks with approval on several questionable activities of the Obama administration. If she likes how Obama sold us out, then she is also a sell out.

  2. […] the first time that I’ve heard a politician talk about digital content and not simply repeat the nonsense they were handed by Big Content. Now that was a change of […]


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