Leaked Inspector General's report reveals millions lost to incompetence and waste at the US Copyright Office

A leaked report from the Inspector General reveals that the US Copyright Office blew $11.6m trying to buy a computer system that should have cost $1.1m (they ended up canceling the project after spending the money and no computers were purchased in the end), then lied to Congress and the Library of Congress to cover up its errors.


But here's the astounding thing. Congress is trying to reward the Copyright Office for this scandal, and give it more power and autonomy despite this absolute disaster. Perhaps because, until now, the Copyright Office has been successful in keeping this whole thing hidden.
As we've mentioned, Congress is effectively trying to move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress by having the new Register of Copyright (who heads the Office) be appointed by the President and approved by the Senate (i.e., making it a political appointee), rather than be appointed by the Librarian of Congress as has been the case since the creation of the Copyright Office. One of the key arguments in favor of this is that the Copyright Office is woefully behind on technology, and needs to be modernized. Almost exactly two years ago, a fairly scathing report from the GAO came out about the lack of leadership on IT issues from then-Librarian of Congress James Billington. Thankfully, Billington is gone and Carla Hayden is in charge now -- and she actually has a history of modernizing a library. Reports from folks at the Library say that Hayden has moved quickly to establish a real modernization plan for the entire Library, including the Copyright Office, and that those efforts are already starting to move forward.


[Mike Masnick/Techdirt]