September 19, 1997
The Honorable John Ashcroft
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Ashcroft:
On September 4, 1997, I had the opportunity to testify on the issue of on-line service provider liability before the Judiciary Committee on behalf of the nation�s leading educational and library organizations. At that time, I commended you for having just introduced the Digital Copyright Clarification and Technology Act of 1997 ( S. 1146). Your legislation, if enacted this year while Congress is considering ratification of the W.I.P.O. treaties and various implementing legislation, will assure that the proper balance between the rights of creators and users will be maintained in the digital age.
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in Chicago with over 5,000 members nationwide. Our members respond to the legal and governmental information needs of legislators, judges, and other public officials at all levels of government, corporations and small businesses, law professors and students, attorneys, and members of the general public.
As AALL's Washington Affairs Representative, I have been closely involved in copyright discussions and negotiations since the Administration released the first White Paper. My colleagues and I in the library community have long argued for and promoted the issues that your bill addresses, including fair use, preservation, distance education, temporary reproduction, and protection from liability for libraries and other non-profit access providers.
These are critically important issues, and not just for libraries and educational institutions. As you rightfully noted in your floor statement, "We must foster the growth of the Internet" for its potential to bring countless benefits to the American public. Senator Ashcroft, thank you again for introducing such a fine piece of legislation at this very critical time. I assure you the full support of the American Association of Law Libraries in efforts to promote and enact this bill.
Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative