New copyright legislation?

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  • II just heard Carrie Russell speak on a web-cast from the University of Maryland. She mentioned some upcoming attempts in Congress to amend section 108 of the copyright code this summer. She hinted that this might affect e-reserves and document delivery. I would like to get a little more information. I would be interested in any statements and press releases from the Library community.
  • I don't know too much. Carrie is probably the most knowledgeable person on this topic.

    I believe she was talking about HR1201.

    There is a link on the right side of this page to Copyright Issues from the ALA.

    On the Copyright Issues page, there are two intersting links:
    1. The Copyright Agenda
    HR1201 is discussed at the top of this document.
    2. Copyright News
    The most recent news, from March 9, is about HR1201 but there's no reason to read this if you've looked at the Agenda. However, this is probably the easiest place to find future updates.

    Here's the part of the bill that applies to fair use:

    (a) Scientific Research- Subsections (a)(2)(A) and (b)(1)(A) of section 1201 of title 17, United States Code, are each amended by inserting after `title' in subsection (a)(2)(A) and after `thereof' in subsection (b)(1)(A) the following: `unless the person is acting solely in furtherance of scientific research into technological measures'.

    (b) Fair Use Restoration- Section 1201(c) of title 17, United States Code, is amended--

    (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the period at the end the following: `and it is not a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in order to obtain access to the work for purposes of making noninfringing use of the work'; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(5) Except in instances of direct infringement, it shall not be a violation of the Copyright Act to manufacture or distribute a hardware or software product capable of substantial noninfringing uses.'.[/quote]
    Here's the actual bill:

    I came across a newsletter that has a short piece on this bill. It's the second article, "Boucher Bill Defended." However, the first article, Revenge of the Myth", is also on copyright.

    Here's an interview with the bill's sponsor:,1283,67853,00.html

    I think it's too soon to get a lot of offical statements or press releases from anyone other than ALA.
  • Not new legislation.
    The US Copyright Office with the Library of Congress has set up a study group to review Section 108 of the law. Does Section 108 need to amended to better reflect the digital environment? Nineteen people have been appointed (including ALA's Miriam Nisbet) - split pretty evenly between for-profits and non-profits.
    They will issue their report in mid-2006.
    Then the Copyright Office will decide what to do with it. perhaps they will propose that Congress amends the law in specific ways, maybe even suggesting statutory language.
    Then the Congress will decide whether to act on it or not. Sometimes Congress doesn't do anything. There are a few things that came out of the Copyright Office's DMCA report that Congress has never acted on, for example.

    My concern is that 108 will be tightened up in favor of copyright holders. But who knows? It could go the other way. Or maybe the study group will reach consensus and come up with some fabulous improvements to the benefit of all!

    Thus far, the content of the meetings has remained fairly secret. So I can only speculate (which in DC is almost expected - talking about something you know very little about).
  • 108 Study Group website:

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