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Former copyright office head to run publishing trade group

Posted January 12

— The former head of the U.S. Copyright Office, whose ouster last fall angered many in the arts world, has been chosen to lead the book publishers' trade group.

Maria A. Pallante will become president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, beginning next Wednesday. She will succeed Tom Allen, a former congressman from Maine, who is stepping down after nearly eight years. In announcing her appointment Thursday, AAP board chairman YS Chi called her "a creative, forward-thinking leader who has earned the deep respect of members of Congress as well as intellectual property experts around the world." Pallante said in a statement she was "deeply inspired by the values of the American publishing industry."

"Publishers promote literature, literacy, education, and research around the world, while advocating for free speech, creating jobs, and making considerable contributions to the global marketplace," she said. "It will be a privilege to represent these interests in matters of policy, trade and business."

Copyright protection has long been a central issue for the publishing association, which hopes to find common ground on this with President-elect Donald Trump, who has published numerous books.

Pallante, 52, was abruptly reassigned last October by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and soon resigned after declining to accept a new position as a digital strategy consultant. She was widely regarded as sympathetic to artists, while also facing criticism that her priorities were too closely aligned with the entertainment industry's. Don Henley of the Eagles was among those last fall praising Pallante, who had served as the U.S. Register of Copyrights since 2011.

"She was a champion of copyright and stood up for the creative community," Henley told The Washington Post in November.

Her removal from the copyright office came amid speculation that she and Hayden had been clashing personally and that the two were part of a wider dispute between advocates for copyright protections and Google and other Silicon Valley companies seeking greater access to copyrighted material.

The publishers association and Library of Congress do, on occasion, work together; a copy of each book published is deposited with the library.

"We expect that Pallante, as president and CEO of AAP, will have future dealings with the library," AAP communications director Marisa Bluestone told The Associated Press. "As far as we know, there is no animosity between them (Hayden and Pallante). They are both well-respected professionals, and expect their future dealings will be conducted accordingly."

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