Leahy's remarks concerning the House delay of voting on the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act Conference Report.
Record: October 20, 2020 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
HOUSE DELAY IN PASSAGE OF THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT,
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am glad that the House Republican leadership
relented and after several days' delay allowed the House to consider and
adopt the conference report on the landmark Digital Millennium Copyright
Act, H.R. 2281. Just two weeks ago, the Senate unanimously passed the
Conference Report on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, H.R. 2281.
This important legislation is based on the implementing legislation recommended
by the Administration and introduced last year by Senators Hatch, Thompson,
Kohl and me, to implement the new World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO) copyright treaties. The bill provides the protection necessary
to encourage copyright owners to make their works available over the Internet
and in other digital formats. This legislation sets a standard for other
nations who must also implement these treaties.
The Senate bill was reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee
and passed the Senate without opposition. The House-Senate conference
over the last several weeks also led to all conferees signing the conference
report and supporting the final version of the legislation. As the only
Senate Democratic conferee I was pleased to serve on this conference and
participate in working out agreements with House Republican and Democratic
With the approval of the chairmen and ranking Democrats on both the House
Judiciary Committee and the House Commerce Committee, this landmark legislation--which
Senator Hatch has called the most important bill we will pass this year--seemed
to have finally cleared the last hurdle and be ready to be sent to the
President for enactment. On Thursday, October 8, Senator Hatch and I were
both present on the Senate floor for Senate final passage and had been
informed that the House leadership had determined to take up and pass
the bill that very day.
Surprisingly, the bill was not taken up in the House on Thursday or Friday
or Saturday or Sunday. There was a threat that it would not be brought
up by the House leadership at all, and I think that the Senate and the
American people are entitled to an explanation.
It turns out that the House Republican leadership had decided to hold
this critical legislation hostage to petty partisan politics. According
to reports in Roll Call on October 8 and 12, Reuters on October 10 and
the Washington Post on October 14 and 15, House Republicans were mad that
a pal of theirs was not hired to head the Electronic Industries Alliance.
The hold on this legislation is to ``send a message.''
Apparently, in the world of Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey and Tom DeLay,
trade associations better hire their Republican friends or there will
be retribution, including stalling action of important bipartisan legislation
that promotes the national interest. This is childish behavior beneath
the dignity of those who hold leadership positions in a House of Congress.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a good bill on which so many of
us have worked so hard and cooperated so closely across the aisle, was
finally allowed to be considered by the House and did pass. I thank the
House Republican leaders for ending their pout in time for this landmark
legislation to be adopted.
This bill should help create jobs and economic opportunities to America's
leading copyright-based industries. We all recognize that because the
U.S. is the world-wide leader in intellectual property, the U.S. will
be the main beneficiary if Congress enacts this legislation.
Protecting and encouraging the intellectual creations of our citizens
has always been a fundamental priority for our country and a responsibility
of our national government. Our creative industries produce the material
that makes the global information infrastructure something worth having.
I want to ensure that the creators of movies and television and cable
programming and recordings and books and computer software and interactive
media continue to create, that their creativity is rewarded, that their
creations are not stolen or pirated, and that those basic tenets are followed
in all the world's markets.
The 1998 report of the International Intellectual Property Alliance confirms
the importance of copyright-based industries to our American economy and
our economic future. The report demonstrates, for the seventh straight
year, that the U.S. copyright industries continue to be one of the largest
and fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy. These industries are
leading this country into the digital age and the 21st century. Thanks
goodness cooler heads finally prevailed and Congress was allowed to complete
work on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The information contained on this page is taken from the electronic version
of the Congressional Record. The only change to the information
is that it has been formatted to fit the DFC site style. To find
this information on your own, your can go thomas.loc.gov
and search the Congressional Record for "Digital Millennium Copyright