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W&L Law Alumna Chief Judge of Copyright Royalty Board

Suzanne M. Barnett, a 1981 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, has been appointed a new chief royalty judge for the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) by the Librarian of Congress.

Suzanne is currently a superior court judge of King County in Seattle, Wash. She joins two other chief judges on the panel, which sets reasonable royalty rates and terms for all licenses made compulsory under the Copyright Act and oversees distribution of certain royalties collected by the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

She becomes the first new judge on the CRB since the judges were first appointed in January 2006, shortly after Congress passed legislation creating the CRB in 2004 and placed it under the auspices of the Library of Congress.

According to the legislation that created the CRB, the three judges must have different experiences. One must have background in copyright law; a second must have background in economics; and the third must be someone with “at least five years of experience in adjudications, arbitrations, or court trials.”  Suzanne fills this third category. As the announcement from the Librarian of Congress noted, Suzanne “hears cases of all types and presides over both jury and non-jury trials” in her current position as superior court judge. The announcement went on to say that Suzanne “has served on all the King County calendars — civil, criminal, family, and juvenile — and at all three superior court locations.”

She was first elected to the court in 1996 and had previously practiced law for 16 years with Lane Powell in Seattle, the Houston office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Barnett MacLean law firm, which she co-founded in Seattle.