When it comes to copyright, as we’ve explained before, the law rarely moves quickly. That being said, a bipartisan proposal aiming to amend the Copyright Act to allow for same-sex marriages could soon be the exception that proves the rule.
The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act marries – no pun intended – two seemingly disparate causes, though its roots are at the core of everything copyright advocates value: fair compensation for the intellectual property of creators and those closest to them.
Introduced by Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), IIena Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Jared Polis (CO-02), the bill would see couples in same-sex marriages afforded the same
Setting the background for the legislation, Kilmer said:
“For more than 100 years, the Copyright Act has ensured that someone who owns the rights to an original work will see those rights pass along to their next of kin.
The bipartisan bill I’m introducing will ensure that all married same-sex couples have access to these rights and are not discriminated against. When a spouse loses the person they love, they should not bear the burden of fighting for benefits they rightfully deserve,”
While the aim of the legislation is far from surprising – in broader social terms, of course, it is long overdue – the speed at which copyright could be updated to match the prevailing societal trend is encouraging.
Too often copyright law lags behind the reality “on the ground,” particularly in terms of technology, so seeing lawmakers move to align intellectual property with marriage equality, even as some states still refuse to acknowledge such rights, is remarkably quick. That said, the movement is an appropriate one, and fully in line with the principles of copyright. The law is intended to bring the same right to benefit from intellectual property to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
The purity of copyright lies very much in the fact that it seeks to protect what lies beneath the surface, the inherent creative spark within all of us. The Copyright and Marriage Equality Act seeks simply to extend that benefit to those closest to the creator, regardless of who they’ve chosen that to be, and shows the way for other legislation to move beyond traditional limitations that no longer have a place in modern society.