Category Archives: Advocacy

Library Copyright Alliance Files Briefs, Submits Comments

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:

Support for Marrakesh Treaty Implementation
Together with other members of LCA, on February 22, 2017, ACRL signed on to a statement issued by the National Federation of the Blind supporting the immediate ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, as well as the immediate passage of a ‘Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act of 2017’ to make modest adjustments of United States copyright law.

Comments to Copyright Office on Section 512 Study
On February 17, 2017, LCA submitted additional comments in response to the request issued by the Copyright Office concerning its study of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and as a follow up to LCA’s initial comments (April 2016) and participation in a May 2016 roundtable in New York. In this set of comments, LCA urged the Copyright Office to evaluate Section 512 in balance with the rest of the DMCA, considering the larger context in which Congress created the safe harbor system and in which the system must be evaluated. LCA also pointed out that for two decades, the federal government has strongly supported broadband availability in libraries and educational institutions and a uniform repeat infringer policy could undermine the achievements of the federal government’s broadband policy.

Amicus Brief: Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc.
On February 14, 2017, members of LCA filed an amicus brief in support of reversal, believing fair use enables the application of the first sale right with respect to the transmission of digital works in appropriate circumstances.

Amicus Brief: Cambridge University Press v. J. L. Albert
On February 13, 2017, members of LCA filed an amicus brief in support of affirmance which makes three primary points. First, that the Georgia State University (GSU) e-reserves policy embodies widespread and well-established best practices for fair use and the Court should resist the publishers’ invitation to upend the consensus which the GSU policy reflects. Second, that the nature of these scholarly works favors fair use in every instance at issue. Third, that the District Court properly considered whether GSU’s use would cause substantial harm finding any adverse impact to be minimal in most cases while the public benefit of allowing the use at issue here is substantial.

Input on Register of Copyrights
In response to a public call, LCA provided input on January 31, 2017, about the the knowledge, skills, and abilities we believe are the most important for the Register of Copyrights and about top priorities for the Register.

Comments on White Paper on Reform of the Copyright Office
In response to a white paper entitled “Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office” issued by the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, LCA provided comments on January 31, 2017. While LCA strongly agrees with the objective of modernizing the Copyright Office so that it can meet the challenges of the 21st Century, we disagree that statutory reform of the Copyright Office is necessary to accomplish these objectives.

ACRL Statement on the Dissemination of Federal Research

Editor’s note: The following statement was approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on February 23, 2017. The Board wishes to acknowledge the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee’s input and work in drafting the statement.

As the higher education organization for librarians, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is dedicated to the advancement of learning and to the transformation of scholarship. ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. In the spirit of previous statements, ACRL reaffirms its dedication to its core values: visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; and intellectual freedom. One of ACRL’s objectives is that “librarians accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.” Recent actions from the new Executive Branch agencies have cast the realization of this goal into jeopardy, and they run counter to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Core Values of Librarianship. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.

Agency orders to cease communication with the public – as well as a directive calling for the submission of EPA publications to administration review – had to be walked back in response to public outcry, but they set worrisome examples. These federal agencies are taxpayer-supported, and their outputs for public consumption and understanding are an essential service to everyone. Actions that silence scientists and other specialists employed by these agencies set dangerous precedents for fair and open, democratic governance and hinder the advancement of scientific knowledge by restricting the dissemination of research.

Privileging political viewpoints, rather than facts, erodes our country’s values of democracy, liberty, and equality. Limiting the ability of scientists and other educators to communicate with the public jeopardizes the creation of new knowledge. It is critical to maintain open communication from the government to the public, especially to support efforts to enfranchise disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who rely on access to publicly available resources to make economic and health decisions. If these restrictive acts go unchallenged, we potentially set in motion an era of complacency that could devolve into acceptance of suppression and a mindset that discourages civic engagement and undermines the principles of democracy, which rely on an engaged population.

ACRL considers it an ethical and professional responsibility to challenge attempts to call into question the validity of facts simply because they run counter to the establishment’s agenda, or to subvert access to information.

ALA denounces recent FCC Lifeline revocations, report retractions

From the ALA Washington Office…

On February 3, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked all of the designations of Lifeline Broadband Providers and ordered the retraction of multiple reports, including the “E-rate Modernization Progress Report” and “Improving the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure.”

ALA is dismayed by these actions to reduce digital opportunity and revise the public record. ALA President Julie Todaro released the following statement.

“The American Library Association (ALA) strenuously objects to recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). First, the ALA is alarmed by the sudden revocation of the nine Lifeline Broadband Provider designations. Reducing options for Lifeline broadband services is a step back in efforts to close the homework gap and digital divide, and is at odds with Chairman Pai’s stated desire to advance digital empowerment. The 2016 Lifeline modernization order represented a critical milestone in our national commitment to connect low-income Americans to the broadband that powers educational and economic opportunity. ALA and our nation’s 120,000 libraries are committed to advancing digital opportunity for all, and we urge the FCC to increase the number of broadband options available for Lifeline customers.

“The ALA also calls for the FCC to maintain an accurate and complete historical record. While new FCC leadership may have new policy directions, the public record should not be permanently altered. Governmental agencies must be accountable in this regard. We urge the reversal of the retraction decisions and an agreement that the FCC will not order the removal of any other documents from the public record. Such actions undermine the credibility of the FCC and Chairman Pai’s recent move to increase transparency of the Commission’s rulemaking.

“Full and public debate with the accompanying historical record preserved on these foundational internet issues that affect every person in this country should be the standard we expect and demand.”

ACRL Board of Directors Affirms Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints and ensuring privacy and confidentiality in academic libraries. We will continue to advocate for and demand diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in our college and university libraries.

During the 2017 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, the ACRL Board of Directors discussed the transition of power in Washington, D.C. and the responsive protests in support of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, happening in our nation and around the world.

The Board sees this as an opportunity to reaffirm ACRL’s core values – visionary leadership; transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives; exemplary service to members; diversity, integrity, and transparency; continuous learning; responsible stewardship of resources; the values of higher education; intellectual freedom; the ALA Code of Ethics; and the Library Bill of Rights. These values are essential to academic advancement across the institutions we serve in the United States and abroad.

At a time when many colleges and universities are working to highlight the importance of protecting inclusive learning environments, academic libraries have a critical role to play in creating spaces in which diverse and divergent viewpoints can be shared and exchanged. Our professional expertise is anchored in our ability to identify and make credible resources available to our diverse communities. As instructors, we teach students to critically evaluate information and to seek differing perspectives. As professionals, we readily foster intellectual freedom and promote net neutrality and open access.

The recent disappearance of pages from the White House website and attempts to silence scientists and the media are of serious concern to our Association. We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities. We oppose actions used to suppress free expression, academic freedom, and intellectual freedom in academe and condemn the use of intimidation, harassment, bans on entry to the United States from Muslim-majority countries, and violence as means with which to squelch free intellectual inquiry and expression. Together our distinct identities and beliefs reflect the richness of our global society.

Action Alert: Support Continued Federal Humanities Funding

The ACRL Board of Directors is dismayed to learn of the news that the new administration is considering eliminating funding for the NEH and other cultural agencies. The Board encourages you to make clear to the President and Members of Congress that you value federal funding for the humanities by taking action now!

One way to take make your voice heard is through the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) action alert. The NHA alert allows you to call and send email from the same interface and contains a sample script for phone calls. Some advocacy points that provide facts about the impact of NEH may be found on the National Humanities Alliance website.

We appreciate your support on this critical issue!

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