I had the great honor of being asked to speak about federal copyright at the Kraemer Copyright Conference at the University of Colorado (UCCS) in beautiful Colorado Springs. This locally produced and funded conference is now in its fifth year and has grown in popularity. No longer a secret, registration maxes out at 200, making the conference friendly, relaxed and relevant for all that attend.
And who attends? A growing number of primarily academic librarians responsible for their respective institutions’ copyright programs and education efforts. This job responsibility for librarians has grown significantly – in 1999 there were only two librarians in higher education with a copyright title. Now there are hundreds of copyright librarians, which is great because who other than librarians—devoted to education, learning, the discovery and sharing of information—should lead copyright efforts? (Remember! The purpose of the copyright law is to advance learning through the broad dissemination of copyright protected works.)
The conference is the brainchild of Carla Myers, a former winner of the Robert L. Oakley copyright scholarship and the scholarly communications librarian at the University of Miami who previously worked at UCCS. Funded by the Kraemer Family, conference registration is free – you just have to get there. (For the last two years, ALA has been one of the co-sponsors).
My assignment was to provide an update on copyright issues currently of attention in Congress. Registrants were most interested in pending legislation regarding the appointment of the next Copyright Register, which would move that responsibility from Librarian of Congress to the President. The new administration’s budget proposals for Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has directed more attention than ever to the political environment of the Nation’s capital, and librarians have been more active in library advocacy.
There are rumors afoot that another regionally based copyright conference is being planned, which would be a welcome addition and contribution to the administration and study of libraries and the copyright law.