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Hope you'll forgive a political msg, but for US folks, the copyright legislation to be considered by Congress soon may have profound implications for scholars, writers, teachers, students -- pretty much everybody in education. Just trying to get the word out...
Looks like this coming session of the US Congress may set the direction for intellectual property/freedom of expression, so now's the time for those of us in the US to convey our views to our representatives, especially while they are in their home districts during the break.
The National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication belong to the Digital Future Coalition, and the DFC is strongly supporting two bills:
Senator John Ashcroft's "Digital Copyright Clarification and Technology Act" (S. 1146) andThese two bills will protect the future of access to information, to an open exchange of knowledge, to the Internet, and to teaching and research as we know it. These bills balance and correct much more restrictive and punitive legislation that is now being considered in Congress.
Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Tom Campbell (R-CA) "Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act" (H.R. 3048).
Without these bills, we may face a future in which fair use is abolished in the digital era and in which only teachers and students who can afford to "pay-per-browse" can access, quote from, and analyze electronic information.
The DFC is urging all its members to contact their House Representatives, requesting co-sponsorship of H.R. 3048 and their Senators, requesting support for S. 1146. Handwritten letters and personal visits are most effective.
Please consider visiting your representative's local office while Congress is in recess (until Jan 26). And please alert your colleagues and students about this important legislation.
A brief summary of H.R. 3048 appears below; more details are available at the Digital Future Coalition's website, http://www.dfc.org/:
- H.R. 3048 - Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act :
To find out who represents you in Congress, visit http://lcweb.loc.gov/global/legislative/email.html
More details on H.R. 3048 follow:
The Boucher-Campbell Bill, H.R. 3048
What Does It Do? Why Does DFC Support It?
Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Tom Campbell (R-CA) have introduced the only comprehensive bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that will maintain balance in the Copyright Act by preserving for consumers, educators, librarians, researchers, and other Netizens fundamental rights in the digital era. Like a similar bill introduced by Senator John Ashcroft (S. 1146), this comprehensive, balanced bill has the strong support of the DFC. If you agree with us that the House of Representatives should adopt the Boucher-Campbell bill instead of the legislation proposed by the Clinton Administration (H.R. 2281), we encourage you to send an e-mail to your elected Representative in the House. (To contact your Representative, click here to connect to a Library of Congress compilation of e-mail directories--the site also includes a helpful "Who represents me in Congress" section and regular mail addresses.)
- Section 1--Title. The bill is known as the "Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act."
- Fair Use. Section 2 would amend section 107 of the Copyright Act to reaffirm that a finding of "fair use" may be made without regard to the means by which a work has been performed, displayed, or distributed. Thus, just as teachers, librarians, and others may make "fair use" copies of portions of copyrighted works today in the analog world, they may do so tomorrow in the digital world.
- Library Preservation. Section 3 would amend section 108 of the Copyright Act to allow libraries and archives to use new forms of technology to make three copies of endangered materials for archival purposes.
- First Sale. Section 4 would amend section 109 of the Copyright Act to establish the digital equivalent of the "first sale" doctrine. Under current law, a person who has legally obtained a book or video cassette may physically transfer it to another person without permission of the copyright owner. Section 4 would permit electronic transmission of a lawfully acquired digital copy of a work as long as the person making the transfer eliminates erases or that copy of the work from his or her system at substantially the same time as he or she makes the transfer.
- Distance Learning. Section 5 would amend sections 110(2) and 112(b) of the Copyright Act to ensure that educators can use personal computers and new technology in a broad range of educational settings in the same way they now use televisions to foster distance learning. In addition, Section 5 would broaden the range of works that may be performed, displayed, or distributed to include the various kinds of works that might be included in a multimedia lesson.
- Ephemeral Copies. Section 6 would amend section 117 of the Copyright Act to make explicit that electronic copies of material incidentally or temporarily made in the process of using a computer or a computer network may not serve as the sole basis for copyright infringement liability, such as when a work is viewed on the World Wide Web.
- Unfair Licenses. Section 7 would effectively preclude copyright owners from using non-negotiable license terms to abrogate or narrow rights and use privileges that consumers otherwise would enjoy under the Copyright Act, such as their fair use privilege, by preempting state common and statutory law, such as the proposed changes to the Uniform Commercial Code.
- Black Boxes. Section 8 would implement the anti-circumvention and copyright management information provisions of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The treaties do not require the broad prohibition of software and devices that might be used by infringers as proposed in the legislation drafted by the Clinton Administration. Consistent with the treaties, section 8 would create liability only for a person who, for purposes of infringement, knowingly circumvents the operation of an effective technological measure used by a copyright owner to limit reproduction of a work in a digital format. The bill also would create liability for a person who knowingly provides false copyright management information or removes or alters copyright management information without the authority of the copyright owner, and with the intent to mislead or induce or facilitate infringement.