ARCHIVED: Legislative and Regulatory Update - April 1998

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Dateline: February 26, 1998
 
Mary Alice Baish
Assistant Washington Affairs Representative
Edward B. WIlliams Law Library
111 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-1417
202/662-9200 * FAX:202/662-9202
email: baish@law.georgetown.edu

More Co-sponsors Needed for H.R. 3048 and S. 1146

Time is slowing running out but we need to keep up the pressure so if you haven't already joined our postcard campaign to urge support for these two copyright bills, please do so TODAY. It's wonderful to hear from congressional staff that AALL members are making a difference! Sample messages are available on our web site and while you're there, you might want to browse our recent letters on these and other important legislative issues.

AALL Members Successful Lobbying Tips [ Part 1 ]
Julie Tessmer, Wisconsin State Law Library

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Scott Klug at his District Office in Madison on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries to discuss his support for H.R. 3048. Along with two other librarians and a representative from the private sector, I received a warm reception from Rep. Klug who had just agreed to co-sponsor this legislation. A direct result of our visit was his willingness to speak with other members of the Wisconsin delegation to elicit their support.
In this electronic age, these important pieces of legislation are critical to law libraries. I was pleased to be able visit my Congressman, express the law library interest in this legislation and thank him for his support. I would encourage other members of the law community to contact their representatives and do the same.

House Mark-up of WIPO and OSP Bills

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property held a mark-up hearing this morning on H.R. 2281, the Administration's bill to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and on H.R. 3209, the "On-Line Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act" introduced by Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC) and Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) on February 12, 1998. Along with our efforts to promote H.R. 3048 and S. 1146, we have also opposed H.R. 2281 because, among other shortcomings, it fails to provide exemptions for libraries, archives and education institutions. Both Chairman Coble and Rep. Barney Frank, the Subcommittee's Ranking Minority Member, introduced somewhat similar amendments during mark-up. The Coble amendment stated that there would be no criminal charges brought against libraries, nor any fines levied, for using a circumvention device to gain access to copyrighted materials for browsing purposes even though the act would be unlawful. The Frank substitute amendment would make using circumvention for browsing purposes legal for libraries, archives and educational institutions when it is done solely to decide whether or not to purchase the material. The Coble amendment passed. Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) offered several other amendments regarding circumvention, all of which were defeated. With only Boucher and Lofgren voting nay, H.R. 2281 as amended was favorably reported to the Judiciary Committee.

Regarding H.R. 3209, Rep. Goodlatte has for more than two years held negotiating meetings with the many various constituencies that have a stake in online service provider (OSP) liability. In his introductory remarks, Coble said that this is a balanced bill but it is also just the beginning of the process, adding that bills don't get enacted overnight. H.R. 3209 exempts an access provider, such as a library, from liability for direct infringement based solely on the short-term storage and transmission of material over the provider's network under certain conditions. It also includes exemptions, under certain conditions, when the provider does not know that the material is infringing and does not receive a financial benefit from the act of infringement. Barney Frank offered an amendment to clarify under what circumstances there should be monetary damages, but it was defeated. While recommending the bill to the full committee, the Subcommittee agreed to work together to reach consensus on several other amendments offered by Reps. Boucher, Lofgren and McCollum before the full committee mark-up.

AALL Members Successful Lobbying Tips [ Part 2 ]
Jackie Wright, Arkansas Supreme Court Library and GRC Chair

My philosophy is that if I don't take the time to write my congressional delegation about issues that concern me and my library, they have no way of knowing what my concerns are. Even though the Washington Office lobbies for all members of our association, unless I add my own voice on important issues, such as co-sponsoring H.R. 3048 and S. 1146, my representatives probably believe that it does not matter that much to their own constituents. If you haven't already done so, get involved today!

Legislative Appropriations Hearings for LC and the FDLP

Patricia Wand, Chair of the American Library Association's Committee on Legislation, presented the joint library testimony in support of the full FY 1999 budget requests for the Library of Congress and the Federal Depository Library Program on February 12, 1998. As always, we drafted the FDLP statement and the section of LC's regarding the Law Library. Both testimonies can be found on our Web site, along with a follow-up letter from Judy Meadows and Bob Oakley that urges full funding for the Law Library of Congress. Their $6.7 million request includes funding to hire eight new FTEs and to continue the Library's automation and preservation projects, including the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN). The letter also makes a strong case for broadening the print distribution of the bound Congressional Record and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Attached to our letter and testimony were the AALL resolution from July 1996 on the CR and the Serial Set, along with a well-time article from the February 16, 1998 issue of the U.S. News & World Report, "Whoops--there goes another CD-ROM: Storing information on disk and tape is convenient, but how long will it last?." Both our resolution and the article can be found at our Web site as attachments to the FDLP testimony.

AALL Members Successful Lobbying Tips [ Part 3 ]
Carol Billings, Law Library of Louisiana and President of the Louisiana Library Association

Our contacts with colleagues in other types of libraries--public, academic, and school-- enabled us to get the word out to a goodly number of Louisiana librarians in a hurry. Through the Louisiana Library Association and the informal network of State Depository Librarians, we've made lots of friends who were glad to join us in making calls or sending faxes to our entire congressional delegation to urge their co-sponsorship of S. 1146 and H.R. 3048. They understand how essential electronic technologies are to the advancement of education in a state that is working hard to improve opportunities for all citizens.

Title 44

Negotiations remain at an impasse while the White House and the unions sort out their differences. We have continued to meet with JCP Staff Director Eric Peterson and Kennie Gill, Chief Minority Counsel on the Senate Rules Committee, but the new draft of the bill is not yet available to us. Senators Warner and Ford both remain firmly committed to getting a bill passed this year, but time is running out. While continuing to support the Senate Rules process, we have also slightly revised the December draft of our Chapter 19 bill and developed some new informational fact sheets about our legislation. These can be found at: www.lib.berkeley.edu/IAWG/.

AALL Members Successful Lobbying Tips [ Part 4 ]
Kathie Price, New York University Law Library

As the former Law Librarian of Congress, I know how difficult it is to gather support for information issues. I also know that Congress responds to its constituents. I have attempted to marshall our faculty and LLAGNY members to contact their representative to urge them to co-sponsor these digital copyright bills that are so important to the law library community. Our copyright professor suggests that we next work to educate our museum colleagues on the library community's position regarding copyright in the electronic environment.

National Leadership Grants

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has just published the 1998 National Leadership Grants: Grant Application and Guidelines. The Administration's FY 1999 budget request includes $172.3 million for the Institute, of which $146,340,000 is for library services. The library program grants are aimed at allowing libraries to adapt to new technologies by identifying, preserving, and sharing library and information resources across institutional, local and state boundaries. Projects of interest to the law library community might include those to preserve rare and unique materials for the broader community, or to address the challenge of preserving digital information. Also high on the list of priorities are projects to enhance library services through the effective and efficient use of emerging technologies. Another goal for the funding is to extend outreach to those who require extra effort or special materials to use library services. The application deadline is April 17, 1998, and applications are available either through the Internet at www.imls.fed.us/, by e-mail at imsinfo@imls.fed.us, or by phone at 202/606-5226.

AALL Members Successful Lobbying Tips [ Part 5 ]
Darcy Kirk, University of Connecticut School of Law Library

It's easy, it's fun and you get mail back from your senators or representative! Indeed, they WANT to hear from you. They need to know what their constituents are thinking about issues. So, don't be bashful - send a letter, a fax or an e-mail or pick up the phone and call. It won't take much time and it is very rewarding to participate in the democratic process.

New Reports of Interest

Depository libraries have by now received their copy of the Biennial Report to Congress on the Status of GPO Access issued last month, and it is a must read. Mandated by the "GPO Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993," the report covers a 22-month period between January 1996 and October 1997. It describes the continued development of the GPO Access system and includes truly impressive usage statistics. During this time period, searches on GPO Access increased by a whopping 1178% and actual document retrievals increased significantly by 319%. GPO Access now includes over 70 databases and is a fast-growing central access point for federal government information.

Additionally, a new report on the State of the First Amendment by Donna Demac, a copyright lawyer and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was released last month by the Freedom Forum. The report summarizes recent threats to First Amendment rights and values, concluding that we should be concerned about the vitality of these rights as we head into the 21st century. It includes a strong affirmation of depository libraries, and cites Robert Oakley's testimony of May 8, 1997 on behalf of the library community before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. Single copies of the report are available free while supplies last. (800-830-3733/Pub.#. 98-F01).

Last but not least, the National Information Standards Organization has just released for sale Up and Running: Implementing Z39.50, the edited proceedings from a Z39.50 symposium that was held at the State Library of Iowa in November 1996. The six articles range from "The Basics" to "A Technical Overview" to "The Virtual Union Catalog." Also included is the summary of a panel discussion among vendors, including representatives from Ameritch, DRA, GEAC, III, TLC, OCLC and Winnebago Software. The cost of the report is $35 and it can be ordered from NISO Press (1-800-282-6476).