Category Archives: Advocacy

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. Public.Resource.org, Inc.
On May 23, 2017, members of LCA joined an amicus brief in Georgia v. Public.Resource.org, 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 Elyse_Wasch@reed.senate.gov for LSTA and Moira_Lenehan@reed.senate.gov 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 Elyse_Wasch@reed.senate.gov for LSTA and Moira_Lenehan@reed.senate.gov 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!

ACRL Joins Coalition in Opposing Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

On May 18, 2017, ACRL joined 11 other library and higher education groups (including ALA) in issuing a statement which reiterates that the groups believe no changes to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order are necessary. Through that order, internet users have benefited from strong and enforceable network neutrality policies. However, during an open meeting today the FCC voted to move forward with its notice of proposed rulemaking, which begins to roll back strong net neutrality protections. The library and higher ed groups have consistently advocated for network neutrality principles and will continue to do so. The full statement reads:

Since the passage of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, internet users have benefited from strong and enforceable net neutrality policies, which are essential to protecting freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth for all Americans. Today’s vote puts those protections in jeopardy.

Libraries and institutions of higher education are leaders in maximizing the potential of the Internet for research, education, teaching and learning, and the public good. In the modern era, a free and open internet is essential to our public missions. The current net neutrality rules – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization, backed by a general conduct standard to ensure net neutrality adapts as the Internet evolves – generated unprecedented public support, and the validity of both the rules and the process that produced them has been affirmed by the DC Circuit Court.

Given all these factors, we believe no changes to the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order are necessary. We urge the Commission to rescind the NPRM approved today and work with all stakeholders to enhance flexibility and innovation within the existing framework. Application of the rules to this point has demonstrated that the Commission can manage the regulatory environment for Internet access without undermining the sound, legal basis for network neutrality.

Should the FCC continue down the path proposed in the NPRM, however, the higher education and library communities would again draw the Commission’s attention to the network neutrality principles for which we have consistently advocated. We believe the Commission can and should frame any efforts to support an open Internet around these principles, and we will work through the rulemaking process to sustain strong network neutrality rules based on them.

We look forward to working with the FCC on ensuring that the Internet remains open.

The organizations endorsing this statement are:
American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
American Council on Education (ACE)
American Library Association (ALA)
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
Council of Independent Colleges
EDUCAUSE
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

In addition to this coalition statement, ALA separately condemned the FCC vote to undermine net neutrality protections and vowed to defend open internet.

Call Your U.S. Senators TODAY to Preserve Library Funding

Fight For LibrariesThe Fight for Libraries! has moved to the United States Senate. Library champions in the U.S. Senate are circulating two “Dear Appropriator” letters to their colleagues to preserve federal library funding, one 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.

We are aiming to get 51 United States Senators to sign letters by our Senate champions.  So far, we’re doing okay, but not okay enough. The deadline for your Senators to sign on is tomorrow, May 19, so please call your Senators today!

The ALA Washington Office of Government Relations is maintaining an up to the minute and sortable online tracker showing which Senators have signed which letter(s). If yours haven’t already signed both the LSTA and IAL letters for FY 2018 please use ALA’s Fight for Libraries! webpage TODAY to contact both your Senators’ offices to ask them to sign both letters on or before May 19.

RIGHT NOW is the time! Pick up the phone and call your Senators. Can’t get through to DC? Try calling the local district office in your home state. The more members of Congress who sign these “Dear Appropriator” letters, the less likely LSTA and IAL are to be eliminated or cut. But they won’t sign unless you, their constituent, demands it.

Find the appropriate phone number 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 May 19.”

Five minutes of your time could help preserve more than $210 million in library funding now at risk.

The other great news is that we’re not in this fight alone. As posted May 11 on District Dispatch by the ALA Office of Government Relations:

Today, that effort got an enormous boost when ALA delivered a powerful letter by eight leading national companies with collective revenue measured in billions of dollars (Baker & Taylor, Follett School Solutions, Gale/Cengage, OverDrive, Peachtree Publishers, Penguin Random House, ProQuest and Rosen Publishing) to the offices of all Senators who have not already signed both the Senate LSTA and IAL letters urging them to do so.

Even better, the companies’ letter is open to online signature by any other similarly supportive business, should they decide to join our campaign.

Corporate support is terrific, but if your Senators don’t hear from you – their constituents – they are far less likely to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters. 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 – TODAY.

Thank you for helping us continue the Fight for Libraries!

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