Who is John Conyers and why should copyright owners care?

Who is John Conyers and why should copyright owners care?

Laws are written by people.  It is useful to study the people that are writing the laws to gain an insight into what motivated a law to be written.  In a prior blog post we discussed Mr. John Goodlatte, who is the head of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress.  You can read that article here: Who is Robert Goodlatte and why should copyright owners care?

In this blog post we will another important Congress person, John James Conyers Jr.  Mr. Conyers is an American Democratic Party politician and a member of the House of Representatives for Michigan’s 13th congressional district.  The most notable city in Michigan’s 13th congressional district is Detroit.  Mr. Conyers started his political career as an advocate for African Americans and is considered a strong supporter of the working class. Mr. Conyers has served in Congress for over 35 years.

Mr. Conyers was the ranking member of House Judiciary Committee, meaning that he is longest serving member of Congress on the House Judiciary Committee.  The House Judiciary Committee recently concluded an in depth review of United States Copyright Law and Mr. Goodlatte has announced his retirement after his term is up.  We speculate that bills for new copyright laws will be released in the near future.  Press releases from the House Judiciary Committee say that Mr. Conyers and Mr. Goodlatte worked closely together on the Copyright law review.  This is important to note because Mr. Goodlatte was member of the Republican party.  If these two men proposed a bill together it is likely the bill would become law because they are both senior members of their political parties.  They could use their combined political experience to gain the support of their fellow members of Congress.

Note that Mr. Conyers was the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.  On November 26th 2017 Mr. Conyers stepped down from his position on the House Judiciary committee because he had been accused of harassment by several women.  Mr. Conyers has not resigned from Congress, but he is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, and he might resign from congress to prevent further public scrutiny of his behavior.

What does this mean for Copyright law in the United States?  The House Judiciary Committee spent 2 years studying Copyright Law, the head of the committee is not seeking reelection and the most senior member of the committee just resigned.  These events may mean nothing, new laws may still be proposed, or it may distract the two mean spearheading the effort to reform United States Copyright Law enough that nothing changes.  We will have to wait and see what happens.

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