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Nominations Sought for L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award

The American Library Association seeks nominations for the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award: In Support of Users’ Rights.

Ray Patterson was a foremost legal thinker, writer, and practitioner who championed users’ rights. He was a pioneer who drew attention to the restrictive nature of aggressive enforcement, new interpretations, and unnecessary expansions of copyright law. By recognizing those who follow in his footsteps, we celebrate his life accomplishments and contributions.

ALA seeks nominations for the Patterson Copyright Award of those who have made significant and sustained contributions to the pursuit of balanced copyright principles while working in the area of information policy, law, libraries, or library education.

The Patterson Copyright Award honors deserving individuals who embody the spirit of the U.S. Copyright law as voiced by the framers of our Constitution: “to advance the knowledge of science and useful arts” (U.S. Constitution, art 1, sec 8).

Nominees for the Patterson Award are persons who follow and draw attention to the fundamental tenets established by Congress when crafting the U.S. Copyright law:

  • The creation of new knowledge and the arts is encouraged;
  • The creation and dissemination of knowledge is the purpose of copyright;
  • Congress is granted the power to encourage creation of new works, but only via a very specific method, by granting authors and inventors exclusive rights;
  • The exclusive rights granted should be for a limited time;
  • Authors and inventors can benefit financially from copyright but this is a side effect of encouraging the dissemination of knowledge, and not the direct intent of copyright; and
  • The rights of authors and inventors are granted by Congress and are not intrinsic or natural.

Last year’s winner was Peter Jaszi, Law Professor at the American University Washington College of Law.

Please send letters of nomination outlining a candidate’s qualifications for this award to or to

ALA, Office for Information Technology Policy
ATTN: Carrie Russell, Copyright Specialist
1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, First Floor
Washington, DC 20009.

Letters of nomination will be accepted through February 1, 2008.

The L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award is awarded annually. Winners receive a crystal trophy. Nominations will be reviewed by an award jury consisting of ALA members. Recipients will be awarded during the 2008 ALA Annual Conference. Nominees for this award need not be limited to librarians.

For questions, please contact Carrie Russell, Copyright Specialist, Office for Information Technology Policy:

Please pardon cross-postings and redistribute this notice as widely as deemed appropriate.

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

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