Just months after her permanent appointment as Register of Copyrights, Karyn Temple is leaving for a new position as the global general counsel of the Motion Picture Association.
In a statement, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who appointed Temple, praised her work. “Karyn has been a huge asset for the U.S. Copyright Office throughout her tenure here,” Hayden said. “Her leadership in the effort to modernize the Copyright Office’s IT infrastructure, in close collaboration with the Library of Congress, has greatly improved critical functions and paved the way for a modernized Copyright system.”
Hayden added that the library is developing “a transition plan” and will appoint an Acting Register, who will serve during the search for the next Register.
“I have been continuously inspired by the excellent staff of the Copyright Office,” Temple said, in a statement. “It has been an honor for me to work at the Copyright Office, and, while I am looking forward to the next chapter, I will greatly miss all of the talented staff of the Copyright Office.”
Temple has been at the Copyright Office since 2011, and served as Acting Register of Copyrights for more than two years before she was finally appointed Register, in March of this year.
Of course, the big question may be whether Temple’s departure will spur another attempt to remove the Register of Copyrights position out of the purview of the Library of Congress.
In October of 2016, Hayden’s abrupt removal of then-register, Maria Pallante (who is now president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers) angered many in the content and entertainment industries, who viewed Pallante as an ally. What followed was a campaign by lobbyists to paint Hayden as “anti-copyright,” and a subsequent bill, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (HR 1695), which proposed to take the register of copyrights position out of the purview of the Librarian of Congress and make it a presidential appointment. That bill died in the Senate last year, but for more than two years it effectively blocked Hayden from appointing a permanent successor to Pallante.
So, what unblocked Hayden's appointment of Temple? For one, Congress passed the Music Modernization Act, a breakthrough piece of copyright reform legislation for the digital age, which is now in effect, and which will clearly require more than an “acting” Register to administer effectively. But perhaps most important was the growing acknowledgement that Temple—who had earned good reviews for her work—was the right person for the job.
At an oversight hearing last month, Temple outlined some of the key advancements at the Copyright Office, and Hayden reported that the library had addressed “nearly 95%” of the shortcomings pointed out in a scathing 2015 GAO audit. “The library is a different organization from what it was just a short time ago,” Hayden told lawmakers.
At the MPA, Temple will take over for Steven Fabrizio, who was fired in August after being arrested on charges of rape and blackmail.
“I can think of no better person than Karyn Temple, one of the world’s leading experts on copyright, to help us advocate for our members’ global film, television and streaming businesses at this pivotal time of transformation in the industry,” said MPA chairman Charles Rivkin, in a statement.