ACRL Joins In Opposing California Law to Exert Copyright Over Public Records

On June 6, ACRL joined a broad coalition of more than 20 education, library, free speech, open government, and public interest organizations in a letter to the State of California Senate Judiciary Committee opposing legislation in California that would grant blanket authorization to state entities to assert copyright over taxpayer-funded work.

The letter comes in response to California’s A.B. 2880, a state bill that would allow governments at the California state, county, and local levels to exercise copyright restrictions on government-produced materials. The bill was approved by the California State Assembly in a 73-3 vote, and now sits with the State Senate Judiciary Committee.

The core arguments outlined in the letter stress that the legislation:

  1. turns current law on its head rather than clarifying currently law;
  2. would establish a default rule enforceable by federal litigation that all state records can be restricted by copyright;
  3. imposes restrictions on the dissemination and use of written and audiovisual materials; and
  4. discourages research and reporting on public data and threatens citizen participation in government by reserving statutory damages as high as $150,000 per infringed work.

Read more about this legislation in a blog post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and, if you are a California resident, contact your state legislators and let them know you oppose A.B. 2880.