While you’re busy actually creating the works of art that edify our culture and put food on your table, there’s monkey business going on in Washington, DC. Survey Monkey business, that is.
This drama is over at the Copyright Office. The place you depend on to register your works and promote your right to own and control your work.
Back in October, the Librarian of Congress removed Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights, from her position. Pallante was generally regarded by the creative community as understanding the needs of creators and being an advocate for them. Her removal happened suddenly and with a lot of confusion. No one is really sure why or what that means for copyright policy. Best case scenario, someone good is appointed. Worst case, the people who want to use all the work of the creative community – for free – end up inserting their pick.
What do I do, you ask? Well the Librarian of Congress has taken the odd step of posting a Survey Monkey survey online to solicit responses about what the public would like the next Register to be like.
You can find it here. It will only take a minute or two to fill it out.
It’s an oddly vague survey, but here are some suggestions on what would be beneficial. We need someone who understands and appreciates the work and passion the creative community puts into their work. Someone who knows how hard it is to make it as a creative and is concerned when people take advantage of them by pirating their work. Someone who is forward thinking and sees the need for the Copyright Office to have updated technology (the system is incredibly outdated, as you know if you ever have tried to use the website to register your work). Someone who understands property rights, that if you create something you should benefit from it. That kind of person.
Often with online surveys in this contested area of policy, we see a lot of responses from the tech community, who tend to want everything to be free to everyone. Taking a minute to respond will keep them from drowning out creatives.
Photo used under a creative commons license by Alexandre Darth