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November 8, 2021

Librarian of Congress Names Judge Suzanne Barnett Interim Chief Copyright Royalty Judge

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced her selection of Judge Suzanne Barnett as interim Chief Copyright Royalty Judge and head of the Copyright Royalty Board effective today. Barnett previously served as the Chief Copyright Royalty Judge from 2012 until her retirement in 2019. Barnett is replacing Chief Judge Jesse Feder who is stepping down from the position which he has held since 2019. More information about the appointment can be found here.

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About Us

The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004 (CRDRA) established the Copyright Royalty Judges program in the Library of Congress. The Copyright Royalty Judges (Judges) oversee the copyright law’s statutory licenses, which permit qualified parties to use multiple copyrighted works without obtaining separate licenses from each copyright owner.

The Judges determine and adjust royalty rates and terms applicable to the statutory copyright licenses. They also oversee distribution of royalties deposited with the Copyright Office by certain statutory licensees and adjudicate controversies relating to the distributions.

The Judges are appointed by the Librarian of Congress to serve staggered six-year terms. Each may be reappointed to subsequent six-year terms.

Under the CRDRA, each judge must have a law degree and at least seven years’ legal experience. In addition, one judge must have significant knowledge of copyright law, one must have significant knowledge of economics, and one must have a minimum of five years’ judicial or quasi-judicial experience. The board of Judges consists of Suzanne Barnett, (chief judge), Judge David R. Strickler (economics), and Judge Steve Ruwe (copyright). Judge Barnett is serving as interim chief judge; Judge Strickler’s current term ends in January 2028; and Judge Ruwe’s current term ends in December 2025.

Suzanne Barnett, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge

Suzanne BarnettChief Copyright Royalty Judge

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David Strickler, Copyright Royalty Judge

David R. StricklerCopyright Royalty Judge

Steve Ruwe, Copyright Royalty Judge

Steve RuweCopyright Royalty Judge

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