Author Archives: Kara Malenfant

Continuing the Fight For an Open Internet for All

In comments filed Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ALA questioned the need to review current net neutrality rules and urged regulators to maintain the strong, enforceable rules already in place. These comments, filed with the American Association of Law Libraries and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, made clear that libraries and our communities depend on fair access to broadband networks for basic services like connecting people to unbiased research, job searches, e-government services, health information and economic opportunity. ACRL, which has long advocated for the open internet, contributed to drafting of these comments and provided examples from academic library contexts. Net neutrality remains a priority issue for ACRL.

The Association of Research Libraries also submitted comments to the FCC, joining with eight higher education associations. Both sets of comments hearken back to important net neutrality principles previously issued by these library and higher education groups and urge policymakers to endorse them.

ACRL OpenCon 2017 Scholarship Opportunity: Shape the Future of Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data!

OpenCon 2017Join the next generation of advocates and scholars to shape the future of Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data!

Are you a librarian who’s passionate about opening up access to educational and scholarly resources? Keen on being part of a community that’s dedicated to and engaged in OA advocacy? Then OpenCon 2017 is the conference and community for you. Now in its fourth year, you must apply and be selected to attend OpenCon in person. (Anyone can attend remotely; find out more about satellite venues and other opportunities for participating in the community virtually.)

ACRL is providing scholarship funding for two librarians to attend OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany, November 11-13. To be eligible for selection, just follow the OpenCon application process and instructions. If you are a librarian and have already applied, then great! If you are chosen to participate in OpenCon and are an ACRL member, you will be considered for an ACRL-sponsored scholarship. Your information will be conveyed to a group of ACRL member leaders for review and selection.

Besides the benefit of attending OpenCon, each recipient of the ACRL-sponsored scholarships will also be appointed for a 2-year term on ACRL’s Research and the Scholarly Environment Committee! Thus, if selected, you’ll have a chance to build on what you gained from OpenCon and contribute to scholarly communication initiatives that ACRL works on.

The application deadline is August 1, 2017. Apply soon and have a chance to attend OpenCon on an ACRL scholarship!

Library Copyright Alliance Files Comments Regarding NAFTA Negotiations

Library Copyright Alliance Logo The Administration has announced its intent to commence negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has requested public comment on what should be addressed in the negotiations, including “relevant trade-related intellectual property issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.” On Friday, June 9, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA, whose members are the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of College and Research Libraries) filed comments making the following points:

1. Exceptions and Limitations. LCA strongly supports inclusion in NAFTA of a provision based on Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Article 18.66, “Balance in Copyright and Related Rights Systems.” This language would insure that nothing in NAFTA would in any direct or indirect way undermine the fair use right. This language would also lead to improvements in Mexican copyright law, which would allow libraries in Mexico to engage in more cross-border activities that benefit U.S. users. Finally, inclusion of this language would place a uniquely American stamp on an international IP agreement.

2. Exhaustion. NAFTA should include a strong exhaustion provision (including international exhaustion) based on U.S. law. This would ensure that manufacturers would not have the ability to game the trade system to their benefit and to the detriment of U.S. worker, consumers, and libraries.

3. Intermediary Safe Harbors. Because Mexico has not yet adopted safe harbors, NAFTA should include an obligation to enact liability limitations for Internet intermediaries. Internet intermediary safe harbors in Mexican copyright law would encourage cross border activities that benefit U.S. libraries and their users.

4. Copyright Term. NAFTA should require no more than a term of life plus 50 years. Including in NAFTA a life plus 70 term of protection, as was included in TPP Article 18.63, would limit the flexibility of Congress to shorten the term of protection in the future.

5. Other Matters. The TPP IP chapter contains other positive, balancing language that LCA believes should be included in NAFTA. This language addresses the appropriate objectives of IP rights, proportionately of remedies, and prevention of abusive enforcement practices.

Library Copyright Alliance Files Briefs and Submits Testimony

Library Copyright Alliance Logo The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), whose members are the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of College and Research Libraries) continues to address copyright issues that affect libraries and our users. In recent weeks, LCA has worked for the library community in the following ways:

Amicus Brief: Georgia v., Inc.
On May 23, 2017, members of LCA joined an amicus brief in Georgia v., Inc. The case centers on whether a statutory code by the state legislature may be subject to an exclusive federal copyright preventing others from redistributing that official statutory code and, if so, whether redistributing it is permissible under fair use.

Amicus Brief: Mavrix Photographs v. LiveJournal
On May 12, 2017, members of LCA filed the Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc. amicus brief in support of LiveJournal’s petition for a rehearing. The case involves potential new restrictions on the availability of safe harbors of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Testimony on Library of Congress Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2018
On May 12, 2017, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) submitted testimony to the US Senate Committee on Appropriations for the Library of Congress for FY 2018. It offered three principal observations and requests: it is imperative that Congress appropriate sufficient funding to allow the Library to continue to perform its broad and fundamental mission of preserving and providing the public with access to critical information resources; it is particularly important that the Library be fully enabled financially to truly modernize; and consistent with the goal of increasing public access to information, we strongly support expanded access to non-confidential Congressional Research Service reports.

Last Push THIS MORNING for “Missing” LSTA/IAL Signatures

Fight For LibrariesWe urgently need your help this morning. Senator Reed has extended to just 2PM EASTERN the deadline — one last time — by when Senate offices may contact his staff to say that they will sign either or both of the “Dear Appropriator” letters for seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program for FY 2018. Sen. Reed must deliver these letters to the full Appropriations Committee tonight and we are seeking as many U.S. Senators as possible to sign on. These are the final hours in which constituents can make an impact on the Senators most likely to sign at the last minute.

Please help us try. Please immediately use the ALA Legislative Action Center AGAIN to contact or recontact Senators “missing” from either or both letters (check the tracker tool) and ask them to tell Sen. Reed’s staff that they will endorse the letter or letters they have not yet signed. Senators agreeing to do so MUST have their staffs indicate that they wish to sign by contacting for LSTA and for IAL. Your Senators have only until 2 PM Eastern to do that. We need you to contact your two U.S. Senators; here’s how:

Find the phone numbers for your U.S. Senators at the ALA Legislative Action Center and use the sample message below to convey your support to the friendly office staff of your Senators. It’s simple:

“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Senator  ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature by 2pm Eastern today. Please ask him/her to contact for LSTA and for IAL.”

Five minutes of your time could help preserve more than $210 million in library funding now at risk. Please, check the sortable tracker tool to see if both of your Senators have signed both the LSTA and IAL letters and, if they both haven’t signed, contact them – or re-contact them if you’ve already reached out – THIS MORNING.

Many thanks for all your help to date and for this last push this morning!

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