Force Behind New Copyright Law

Barbara Ringer believed, above all, that copyrights should protect the creative people in American life — the authors, songwriters and performers whose work was too often printed, plagiarised or broadcast without permission. By 1955, she was writing papers and commissioning studies on how the nation’s copyright laws should be revised. For years, Ms Ringer devoted much of her time to drafting a new, comprehensive copyright act and educating congressmen about why it was needed. Foreseeing the rise of the Internet, she inserted provisions into the law to protect authors from the unauthorized reproduction of their work, even by means not yet devised. The basic human rights of individual authors throughout the world, she warned in a 1975 speech, are being sacrificed more and more on the altar of … the technological revolution. Ms Ringer spent 21 years drafting the legislation and lobbying Congress before the Copyright Act of 1976 was finally passed. She wrote most of the bill herself

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