Maria Pallante Appointed Register of Copyrights

At a moment when intellectual property law is at the forefront of numerous complex legal discussions, a GW Law graduate once again leads the nation in copyright law. In June, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington, appointed Maria A. Pallante, J.D. ’90, the 12th Register of Copyrights and director of the United States Copyright Office.

“I look forward to working with the talented staff of the Copyright Office and Library of Congress to set a path for the future, and I will look to engage and partner with my colleagues in the copyright community in as many ways as possible,” Ms. Pallante said in a statement.

Ms. Pallante’s other key positions at the Copyright Office are associate register for policy and international affairs from 2008 to 2010, deputy general counsel from 2007 to 2008, and policy advisor from 1996 to 1997.

“Maria is a true superstar of the IP world,” according to Dean Paul Schiff Berman. “GW Law is committed not just to law on the books, but law in action, and so I am thrilled to report that yet another of our graduates is out doing the work that will help set our nation’s policy path in a key area for innovation and growth.”

Ms. Pallante is the third member of the Law School community to serve as Register of Copyrights in recent years. She succeeds Marybeth Peters, J.D. ’71, who retired from the position on December 31, 2010. (For more on the career and insights of Ms. Peters, please read this article from GW Law School Magazine.) Ralph Oman, the Pravel, Hewitt, Kimball and Kreiger Professorial Lecturer in Intellectual Property and Patent Law, served in the role from 1985 to 1993.

“Maria’s appointment to be Register is another illustration of the strength and depth of GW’s IP program,” said Intellectual Property Advisory Board Associate Dean for Intellectual Property Studies John M. Whealan. “Often our IP program is associated with the area of patent law; however, the fact that the last two Registers of Copyright are alumni (and the Register before that is a member of the GW faculty) shows the strength of our program in the area of Copyright Law as well.”

Ms. Pallante was selected for the post following an extensive search process that began in 2010, in which a distinguished group of candidates from the government, private sector, and academia were considered. Before joining the Copyright Office, Ms. Pallante served as intellectual property counsel and director of the licensing group for the worldwide Guggenheim Museums. She also led two national author organizations, working as executive director of the National Writers Union and as assistant director of the Authors Guild. Ms. Pallante also was associate counsel at the Washington-based law firm and literary agency, Lichtman, Trister, Singer and Ross.

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