Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Alan Inouye from the ALA Washington Office.
Hello ACRLers. I’m Alan Inouye, the director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in ALA’s Washington Office. I’m delighted that ACRL has agreed to let me post occasionally about developments in information policy and the Washington Office that may be of interest to ACRL members.
I know that one of the most important information policy areas for academic and research libraries is copyright. Not accidentally then, copyright advocacy is perhaps the most intensive shared initiative between ACRL and the Washington Office. Much of our joint work takes place under the rubric of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), which includes ACRL, ALA (Washington Office), and the Association of Research Libraries. Over the years, we have engaged in the highest-profile cases through LCA, such as Google Books, Georgia State, and HathiTrust.
Currently, the triennial review of section 1201 (anti-circumvention) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is taking place, and LCA is submitting comments, working through our copyright counsel Jonathan Band; Kara Malenfant and Mary Ellen Davis for ACRL; and Washington Office staffers Carrie Russell and Adam Eisgrau. The U.S. House Judiciary committee completed its initial review of the copyright law. LCA submitted an additional summary of comments to date, and will continue to advocate on topics expected to be addressed in legislation including orphan works, Section 108, and mass digitization.
You may have heard about the recent announcement that the Re:Create copyright coalition launched, with ALA as a founding member. This coalition will greatly help to push out our messages about the utility of fair use and the importance of balanced copyright law—for everyone, whether entrepreneur, educator, or et al. Most important is the composition of the coalition as it includes influential industry groups such as the Consumers Electronics Association and groups with diverse viewpoints on the ideological spectrum. We’re optimistic that this new coalition will greatly bolster the ability to get the library perspective communicated to more national decision makers and influencers.
Also on the copyright front, Carrie Russell was able to present the L. Ray Patterson award to Georgia K. Harper, recently retired as scholarly communications advisor for the University of Texas, Austin. The award was presented in conjunction with the recent Texas Library Association conference in Austin.
Finally, I would like to say a belated thank you to the ACRL community for the opportunity to speak at the ACRL Leadership Council at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting. I talked about the Policy Revolution! Initiative, an effort led by OITP to re-engineer how the library community engages in national public policy, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The premise of the initiative is that since libraries are in the midst of a revolution, how we pursue public policy also needs to be reconsidered fundamentally, and moved towards a more proactive stance.
The first major phase is to develop a national public policy agenda, which the various entities within the library community may use as guidance for their own policy goals. In communicating with national decision makers and influencers, the various advocates within the library community need to be consistent in messaging—else we’ll have a rather difficult time in making headway with them. Many thanks to the academic and research librarians who provided comments. The final version of the agenda will be released by this summer.
I look forward to making future posts—next time, likely on the Policy Revolution! Initiative—and talking with some ACRLers at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.