The new head of the Copyright Office is Shira Perlmutter. Shira was already a very accomplished copyright lawyer when I first met her at the Fordham international copyright gathering in 1999. She gave a very polite but rapier-like takedown of one Andrew Bridges who was being very…well…Andrew Bridges about something. (A role that works for him sometimes but–with affection–really didn’t that day.) That was 21 years ago, but I remember it well. Her professional qualifications are unparalleled.
I also think that Ms. Perlmutter will embrace the culture of the Copyright Office that was, I think, most recently molded by Marybeth Peters and has continued ever since. This is good. The last thing the Office needs right now is bombast and arm waving, door slamming and shouting, with wholesale staff changes. She has, I think, the respect for the balance of interests that former Registers managed so well. It doesn’t hurt that Ms. Perlmutter has spent years in government and is comfortable on the Hill. After all, Congress is the ultimate client of the Copyright Office (which is a bit cynical, I know, but oh, well).
All in all an outstanding pick and it speaks well of Ms. Perlmutter that she agreed to take the job which must be both exhilarating and absolutely thankless at times. Many times. All of her many skills will be fully engaged.
It also speaks well of the Copyright Office that they chose Maria Strong to keep the shop together while the search went on. Think about it—have there been any instances of ball dropping during Maria’s tenure? Not a one. Of course the only management problems were a world wide pandemic and the implementation of the most complex set of regulations since 1978 (more complicated by far if you ask me). Not to mention getting the CASE Act through to nearly the finish line if it weren’t for Senator Wyden, which no one could do anything about. Easy peazy, right? All creators owe Maria a huge vote of thanks for guiding the ship during this interregnum.
All in all a good day for creators. Welcome, Shira and thank you Maria.