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Librarian Of Congress Appoints Copyright Royalty Judges
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
2006-01-09
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I am pleased to appoint three highly qualified individuals to serve as the first copyright royalty judges. The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, which became effective on May 31, 2005, phased out the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel system and replaced it with the Copyright Royalty Board made up of three permanent copyright royalty judges. The duties of the judges include determining and adjusting the rates and terms of the copyright law's statutory licenses and determining the distribution of royalties from the statutory license royalty pools administered by the Library of Congress. Previously, the duties of the judges were handled by Bruce Forrest, the interim Chief Copyright Royalty Judge. I thank Bruce for his service in shepherding the program through its first year.

The following three individuals will begin their duties on January 9, 2006.

James S. Sledge has been appointed to the position of Chief Copyright Royalty Judge. He will serve a term of six years, subject to reappointment to additional terms. Mr. Sledge recently retired as a United States bankruptcy judge in the Northern District of Alabama, where he served since 1991. As a federal judge in Northern Alabama, Judge Sledge presided over a heavy volume of cases, while he worked with national judges' organizations.

Mr. Sledge was the chair of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, the largest judges' organization in the world, and he was the first Article 1 judge to become the chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges. In addition to his duties as a bankruptcy judge, he served twelve years on the Alabama State Council on the Arts, where he was chair for two years. Other arts jobs include service as a director on the regional Southern Arts Federation, representing Alabama, a director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Alabama advocacy captain for Americans for the Arts.

Stanley C. Wisniewski has been appointed as a copyright royalty judge with expertise in economics. He will serve a term of four years, subject to reappointment to additional six year terms. Dr. Wisniewski has more than thirty years of experience as an economist, attorney, entrepreneur, educator, arbitrator, and manager. He has served as an expert economic witness in federal courts and before private arbitration panels. He has also prepared and presented expert testimony before several committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. As an attorney, he has represented a variety of clients in litigation, arbitration, and administrative proceedings requiring substantial legal, economic, and financial expertise. He has served for more than twenty years on the AAA list of commercial arbitrators dealing with domestic and international cases involving contract disputes with respect to employment contract terms, partnership agreements, franchise arrangements, and government contracts with concessionaires.

Dr. Wisniewski, who earned a Ph.D. in economics from the Catholic University of America and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, has published widely in academic and professional journals. He has served as vice-chair of the certification and review committee and member of the governing board of Central Maryland Health Systems Agency; as a member of the Montgomery County Commission on Aging; as a member of 1999-2000 Governor's Task Force on Regulatory Reform in the State of Maryland; and was appointed by the governor to a six-year term as a member of the Maryland State Banking Board in July 2000.

William J. Roberts has been appointed as a copyright royalty judge with expertise in copyright law. He will serve a term of two years, subject to reappointment to additional six year terms. Mr. Roberts began his legal career in the Copyright Office in 1987. A native of Connecticut and a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, he served as an attorney advisor in the Copyright General Counsel's Office and was promoted to Senior Attorney for Compulsory Licenses shortly after Congress abolished the Copyright Royalty Tribunal and replaced it with the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel process. He was a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel attorney for the entire twelve-year history of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel. Since its inception in May, he has served as the senior attorney for the Copyright Royalty Board. Mr. Roberts is currently an adjunct faculty member at the George Mason University School of Law where he teaches copyright law.

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