Leahy Bill Insures Copyright Rights Pass to Spouses

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee until the new Congress starts in January, has introduced a bill that would insure that rights under the Copyright Act can be inherited by same-sex spouses.

The Copyright Act grants rights to a surviving spouse only if the marriage is recognized in the owner's state of residence at the time of death. Leahy says that is a loophole the law will close.

"Artists are the creative lifeblood of our nation, and our laws should protect their families equally," Leahy said in introducing the Copyright and Marriage Equality Act. "It is wrong for the federal government to deny benefits or privileges to couples who have lawfully wed. Statutes like the Copyright Act, or laws governing the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs which also contain remnants of discrimination, are no place for inequality in our country. It is time to fix these outdated laws once and for all."

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.