December 5, 1997
Dear Library Supporter:
As the presidents of four of the nation's major library associations, we write to ask for your assistance in garnering support for two pieces of federal legislation of critical importance to the library community, indeed to libraries in every community. These bills are Sen. John Ashcroft's (R-MO) "Digital Copyright Clarification and Technology Act" (S. 1146) and the "Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act," jointly introduced by Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Tom Campbell (R-CA) (H.R. 3048).
In our view, these proposals present the best approach to updating the Copyright Act to meet the challenges of the digital environment while, at the same time, preserving the critical balance between copyright owners and users in the electronic age. Both bills include provisions which are essential to libraries if we are to effectively serve our patrons, scholars, researchers, and students in the networked environment. We seek your immediate help in assisting Sen. Ashcroft and Reps. Boucher and Campbell to persuade other members of the Senate and House to cosponsor S. 1146 and H.R. 3048, respectively.
WHY THIS EFFORT IS IMPORTANT TO ALL LIBRARIES
Each year, millions of researchers, students, and members of the public benefit from access to library collections -- access that is supported by fair use, preservation programs, interlibrary loan, and more. We must ensure that the Copyright Act continues to serve the public who rely upon these collections and services. The Ashcroft and Boucher-Campbell bills seek to update the Copyright Act by extending the balance that we currently enjoy so that owners, creators, and users alike may benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital environment. These bills appropriately extend the balance by clarifying or updating selected privileges granted to libraries, researchers, educational institutions and others under current law.
ACTION IS NEEDED NOW!
Accordingly, we are asking the members of our Associations -- and all other
library supporters -- to:
- study the attached fact sheets and sample letter detailing the intent and provisions of S. 1146 and H.R. 3048;
- write to your House and Senate delegations requesting co-sponsorship of these bills; and
- call and visit the members of your Congressional delegation and ask them to cosponsor S. 1146 or H.R. 3048, as appropriate.
Senator Ashcroft, and Representatives Boucher and Campbell, would appreciate our help in achieving passage of this potentially landmark legislation. The most critical first step in this process is to engage members of Congress and seek their endorsement of these bills. Let Congress know now the importance of updating the Copyright Act for your institution, your users, and of ensuring that libraries will be able to effectively serve the nation in the information age.
Thank you. Our associations stand ready to assist you in any way that we can. Please do not hesitate to call upon us and to let us know of your efforts.
Judith A. Meadows, President
American Association of Law Libraries
Barbara J. Ford, President
American Library Association
James G. Neal, President
Association of Research Libraries
Judith J. Field, President
Special Libraries Association