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House Judiciary Ranking Member: The Most Important Congressional Race?
"The Congressional race nobody is talking about is maybe the most important for music creators. Who will be the top Democrat on Judiciary?" — Conversations in Advocacy #3
On Nov. 29 Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) stepped into the role of Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee in an acting capacity, but Democrats will soon make a final choice on who will be the permanent Ranking Member. Also in consideration is Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who has been uniquely aligned with the policy interests of the big technology companies that dominate her Silicon Valley congressional district.
Writers at The Intercept recently took a dim view of what they considered Lofgren's unfailing allegiance to tech giants like Google, even in the face of recent controversies. As far as matters affecting creators and copyright law, Nadler has taken a much more pragmatic view, as evidenced by his sponsoring legislation such as the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2017.
Both lawmakers say they believe in protections for artists, but Lofgren's tech-centric point-of-view may not always align with the interests of music creators. For example, The Intercept noted that in 2009 she sanctioned Google's plan to digitize millions of books from libraries without approval from the actual copyright holders.
It is an especially crucial time for the House Judiciary Committee given the prospect of major copyright reform legislation in 2018. Modernization is overdue and it is in crafting the details of such a long-awaited update that Nadler could potentially best demonstrate his bill-making abilities.
It all adds up to why the music community should keep a close eye on who will ultimately be chosen to lead the effort to update copyright law as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
"Conversations in Advocacy" is your weekend digital tip sheet on music advocacy and the policies that affect music makers and their craft. New installments post every Friday.