Who are these men? They are the judges of the Copyright Royalty Board.
On January 11, 2006, Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington appointed three copyright royalty judges—James Scott Sledge, Stanley C. Wisniewski and William J. Roberts—who oversee the copyright law’s statutory licenses, which permit qualified parties to use multiple copyrighted works without obtaining separate licenses from each copyright owner.
The Judges will serve six-year terms, which are staggered. Under the initial appointment, Sledge, who will serve as Chief Judge, will serve six years, Wisniewski will serve four years, and Roberts will serve two years. Each may be reappointed to subsequent six-year terms. The Judges were appointed in accordance with the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004, which became effective in 2005. Among other duties, the Judges are responsible for determining and adjusting the rates and terms of the statutory licenses and determining the distribution of royalties from the statutory license royalty pools that the Library of Congress administers.
Chief Judge Sledge is a retired United States Bankruptcy Judge from Alabama. He has chaired the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association and the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges. Chief Judge Sledge also served for 12 years on the Alabama State Council on the Arts, including two years as chairman. He was a director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, an Alabama advocacy captain for Americans for the Arts, and a director on the regional Southern Arts Federation.
Judge Wisniewski holds a Ph.D. in economics from Catholic University of America and a J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law. Prior to his appointment, he represented a variety of clients in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings. He has provided expert economic testimony in federal court, before private arbitration panels, and before U.S. Senate and House committees. Judge Wisniewski also served on the American Arbitration Association list of commercial arbitrators.
Judge Roberts began his legal career in the Copyright Office in 1987. 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. He was a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel attorney for the entire 12-year history of the panel. Since the inception of the Copyright Royalty Board, Judge Roberts has served as interim senior attorney. He is an adjunct faculty member at the George Mason University School of Law where he teaches copyright law.