Category Archives: Advocacy

Add your voice to FCC public comment on network neutrality

From the ALA Washington Office District Dispatch blog:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has heard from more than 1 million commenters on proposed rulemaking to Protect and Promote the Open Internet, including from the American Library Association (ALA), Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). But it’s not too late to add your voice in support of network neutrality.

September is a perfect time to add more voices from the library and education community. Working with EDUCAUSE, ALA has developed a template letter of support for our comments that you can use to amplify our voice. Click here (doc) to open the document, customize with your information and follow guidelines for submission to FCC.

ALA is meeting with FCC officials, and there is definite interest in our perspective as advocates for intellectual freedom and equity of access to information for all. Please consider strengthening our presence as a community in the public record.

The formal “reply” comment period of the FCC proceeding will close September 15, but “ex parte” comments will be accepted until further notice. The FCC hoped to deliver a new Order on network neutrality by the end of the year, but this could be delayed as the commission considers the broad public input and a range of proposals and perspectives.

As always, more background and related news can be found online. Stay tuned!

GPO would like ALA feedback

From the ALA Washington Office District Dispatch blog:

In response to the comments GPO (Government Printing Office) received in the FDLP Forecast Study, GPO is moving forward with possible changes to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and have asked for feedback from ALA. Below is the information that the Washington Office received from Mary Alice Baish, Superintendent of Documents. If this is something that you have an interest in, I would love to hear your thoughts!

“NEW ACTIONS FROM GPO FOR FDL FLEXIBILITY

In accordance with the findings and recommendations from the FDLP Forecast Study, GPO is moving forward to implement Goal 2.1 to “Allow more flexibility for Federal depository libraries to manage their depository resources and services.” Specifically, GPO has taken two steps that focus on the following strategic objective:

2.1.1   Review and revise, as appropriate, Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program allowing for flexibility.

I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the first action, which is for regional depository libraries. A Superintendent of Documents Public Policy Statement was drafted that would allow regionals to discard tangible depository materials under certain specified conditions. Authority for this action originates in 44 U.S.C. §1912:

Designated regional depository libraries will … “retain at least one copy of all Government publications either in printed or microfacsimile form (except those authorized to be discarded by the Superintendent of Documents).”

The second action affects selective depository libraries. Effective August 1, 2014, item numbers 0556-C and 1004-E will no longer be required but rather will be optional. This rescinds Regulation 10 in Legal Requirements & Program Regulations. As a result, selectives will have the ability to become “all electronic” depository libraries. In recent years, these item numbers have been used to distribute titles GPO deemed important for all depository libraries. GPO will continue to use these item numbers for this purpose, but with less frequency.”

I would be happy to hear from units or individual members (however you would prefer to reach out) by August 20th. I will be submitting ALA’s response to GPO no later than August 29th. Please send your comments to jmcgilvray@alawash.org.

ALA, ACRL file network neutrality comments with FCC

Today the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt the legally enforceable network neutrality rules necessary to fulfill library missions and serve communities nationwide. The ALA and ACRL joined nine other national higher education and library organizations in filing joint public comments (pdf) with the FCC.

The joint comments build on the ALA resolution adopted by Council at the 2014 Annual Conference and align with the 2014 legislative agenda developed by ACRL. They also provide greater detail for the network neutrality principles released July 10 and suggest ways to strengthen the FCC’s proposed rules (released May 15, 2014) to preserve an open internet for libraries, higher education and the communities they serve. For instance, the FCC should:

  • explicitly apply open Internet rules to public broadband Internet access service provided to libraries, institutions of higher education and other public interest organizations;
  • prohibit “paid prioritization;”
  • adopt rules that are technology-neutral and apply equally to fixed and mobile services;
  • adopt a re-defined “no-blocking” rule that bars public broadband Internet access providers from interfering with the consumer’s choice of content, applications, or services;
  • further strengthen disclosure rules;
  • charge the proposed ombudsman with protecting the interests of libraries and higher education institutions and other public interest organizations, in addition to consumers and small businesses;
  • continue to recognize that libraries and institutions of higher education operate private networks or engage in end user activities not subject to open Internet rules; and
  • preserve the unique capacities of the Internet as an open platform by exercising its well-established sources of authority to implement open Internet rules, based on Title II reclassification or an “Internet reasonable” standard under Section 706.

The joint comments mark another definitive statement on behalf of all types of libraries and the communities we serve, but are simply one more step in a long journey toward our goal. There’s more to be done, and librarians can make their voices heard in a number of ways:

  1. Email to the ALA Washington Office (lclark[at]alawash[dot]org) examples of Internet Service Provider (ISP) slowdowns, lost quality of service relative to your subscribed ISP speeds, and any other harm related to serving your community needs. Alternately, please share examples of potential harm if we do not preserve the open internet (e.g., impact on cloud-based services and/or ability to disseminate digitized or streaming content on an equal footing with commercial content providers that otherwise might pay for faster “lanes” for their content over library content).
  2. Ask your community to support and/or adopt the network neutrality principles. Several people in attendance at the Annual Conference program on the topic suggested this, and the ALA Washington Office will develop and share a template for this purpose in the coming weeks.

Library Copyright Alliance issues statements, offers guidance

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:

Statement for Hearing on Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty, and Copyright Term
On July 15, 2014, the LCA submitted a statement to the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet for a hearing. The statement explained that the current copyright term in the United States is already unacceptably long, resulting in significant harm to the public domain and limiting access to these works.

Amicus Brief in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc. Appeal
On July 8, 2014, LCA submitted an amiucs brief in support of Google, Inc. The LCA brief explained that Google Book Search has become an essential research tool that serves the public interest, snippets do not substitute for full text, and Seciton 108 does not weigh against a fair use deterination.

What Does the HathiTrust Decision Mean for Libraries?
On July 7, 2014, LCA legal counsel Jonathan Band released a think piece explaining implications of the HathiTrust decision for libraries that go far beyond the specific facts of the case.

Updated Google Books Family Tree
On June 17, 2014, LCA released an updated version of the popular Google Books family tree after Second Circuit ruled HathiTrust is fair use.

Libraries Applaud Landmark Copyright Ruling Affirming Fair Use

The Library Copyright Alliance—which consists of the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries— is extremely pleased with the decision issued Tuesday, June 10, by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, finding in favor of fair use. The Library Copyright Alliance filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the case, supporting HathiTrust’s position and the lower court’s finding of fair use.

Jonathan Band, counsel for the Library Copyright Alliance, said, “The decision is a significant victory for the public.”

The HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL)—comprised of 80 college, university, and nonprofit member institutions at the time of the court filings—contains digital copies of more than 10 million works and engages in several projects that provide new value and use to copyrighted works. These projects include the creation of a full-text search database, facilitation of access to works for the visually impaired and print disabled, and preservation of works in its library.

The Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that the creation of a full-text search database and providing access to the print disabled constitute fair uses and such activities are thus protected under the Copyright Act.

The Second Circuit declined to rule on the issue of HDL’s preservation activities, noting its skepticism that plaintiffs had standing to bring this claim, and remanded to the district court. In remanding this issue back to the lower court, the Second Circuit in no way suggested that the preservation activities could not be fair use, but instead simply suggested that the plaintiffs could not bring the claim.

The Library Copyright Alliance believes the Second Circuit rightly concluded that HDL’s activities are protected by fair use, ensuring the “safety valve” of fair use is well-functioning and providing meaningful balance through limitations on the copyright holder’s rights. Fair use has long been relied upon to provide important protections for the public and promote new and transformative uses of copyrighted works, such as those facilitated by HDL.

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