Her argument is that there’s a better and calmer way to untangle the mess that the Internet has made of copyright practices. She wants to get all the issues out on the table and sort through them. Which are priorities? Which must Congress deal with? Which can courts handle on their own? Pallante’s making it her job to push for “a forward-looking blueprint”—for a law that looks ahead and tries to anticipate the issues that technology could dredge up, rather than react to them years afterwards. In her Columbia talk, Pallante noted that after the 1976 law was finally in place, one of her predecessors, Barbara Ringer, “acknowledged the shortcomings of the new law, calling it ‘a good 1950 copyright law.’” Pallante wants the new law for which she’s pushing to actually feel new.

Disclosure: CJR has received funding from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to cover intellectual-property issues, but the organization has no influence on the content.


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Sarah Laskow is a writer and editor in New York City. Her work has appeared in print and online in Grist, Good, The American Prospect, Salon, The New Republic, and other publications.