Library Copyright Alliance Strongly Supports H.R. 1201, the FAIR USE Act

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2007

For more information contact:
Jonathan Band
jband@policybandwidth.com
(202) 296-5675

Library Copyright Alliance Strongly Supports H.R. 1201, the FAIR USE Act.

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) strongly supports the introduction of the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act of 2007, H.R. 1201. The FAIR USE Act is co-sponsored by Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA), Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA).

At the end of 2006, Dr. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, approved six exemptions from the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures contained in section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These exemptions will sunset in three years. The FAIR USE Act makes these six exemptions permanent. “Two of these exemptions are particularly important to the library community,” said Miriam Nisbet of the American Library Association. “During the rulemaking proceeding before the Library of Congress, the library community supported the exemptions for screen readers for the visually impaired and film clip compilations for college media studies classes. The Fair USE Act will ensure that these important activities can continue in the future and the Act will go a long way to eliminate the negative affect the DMCA has had on lawful uses,” Nisbet said.

Additionally, the FAIR USE Act would extend the determinations of the Librarian of Congress in six narrow circumstances. For example, the Fair Use Act would extend the film clip exemption to all classrooms instead of just college media studies classes. It would allow access to public domain works, as well as works of substantial public interest.

Finally, it would permit a library to circumvent technological protections for the purpose of preservation of works in a library’s collection. According to Prue Adler of the Association of Research Libraries, “preservation is one of a library’s most critical functions as libraries preserve our cultural and scientific heritage. Unfortunately, the DMCA is interfering with our ability to preserve these works. The FAIR USE Act will eliminate this obstacle, without causing any harm to copyright owners.”

“We urge Congress to enact H.R. 1201 as soon as possible,” said Adler.

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The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nonprofit educational organization with over 5,000 members nationwide. AALL’s mission is to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy. http://www.aall.org/
Contact: Mary Alice Baish (202-662-9200)

The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit educational organization of over 65,000 librarians, library trustees, and other friends of libraries dedicated to improving library services and promoting the public interest in a free and open information society. http://www.ala.org/
Contact: Miriam Nisbet (202-628-8410)

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. ARL’s members include university libraries, public libraries, government and national libraries. ARL influences the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. http://www.arl.org/
Contact: Prudence S. Adler (202-296-2296)

The Medical Library Association (MLA), a nonprofit, educational organization, is a leading advocate for health sciences information professionals with more than 4,700 members worldwide. Through its programs and services, MLA provides lifelong educational opportunities, supports a knowledgebase of health information research, and works with a global network of partners to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the health care community and the public. http://www.mlanet.org/
Contact: Mary M. Langman (312-419-9094 x.27)

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves more than 12,000 members in 83 countries in the information profession, including corporate, academic and government information specialists. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. http://www.sla.org/
Contact: Doug Newcomb (703-647-4923)

About Jacob Roberts

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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