Washington Brief - July 2002

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Dateline: May 2, 2002

Interested in Public Policy? Meet you in Orlando!
It doesn't seem possible that the 2002 Annual Meeting, Creating Connections, is just around the corner. The Washington Office, the Government Relations Committee and the Copyright Committee hope to connect with you in Orlando, and have planned the following very informative programs that you won't want to miss.

E-2: Legislative & Regulatory Update, Monday, July 22nd, 2-3 pm

F-3: New Connections in Copyright Law: The Right of Public Display—A Solution to the 'RAM copy' doctrine?, Monday, July 22nd, 3:15-4:15 pm

H-3: The PKI Connection: Is Public Key Infrastructure a Solution to Ensuring Citizen Confidence in E-Government?, Tuesday, July 23rd, 3-4 pm

I-2: Connections with Technology: the First Amendment and Copyright in a Digital Age, Tuesday, July 23rd, 4:15-5:15 pm

In addition, Professor Mark J. McCabe, an economist from the Georgia Institute of Technology who has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the pricing of legal materials for AALL, will present his findings at F-2: Where Will It All End? Law Book Pricing Study, Part II on Monday, July 22nd, 3:15-4:15. During his well-attended Part I program last July in Minneapolis, McCabe described the background for his work and his initial findings. Don't miss this opportunity to hear the final results of his important research.

Join Us for Advocacy Training in Orlando
If you're interested in joining colleagues who find advocacy on behalf of library issues not only rewarding but also fun, it's not too late to participate in the 2002 advocacy training session in Orlando on Saturday, July 20th, from 8:30 to noon. GRC chair Anne Burnett, along with GRC members Richard Matthews, Sam Trosow and Charlene Cain, and I will lead you through the maze of the most important federal, state and international policy issues that will energize you to action. In addition, Kathleen Imhoff, Deputy Director of the Broward County Libraries Division, will teach us some effective and savvy techniques to educate our representatives and convince them to support our issues. If you've felt left out of our advocacy program, this is guaranteed to make you a believer. Contact either Anne Burnett or myself if you'd like to attend.

In case you're unable to join us for the advocacy training session on Saturday, we invite you to attend the Chapter Leadership Roundtable: Government Relations on Tuesday, July 23rd, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. It's a great opportunity to network with colleagues who are interested in promoting AALL's federal and state policy agenda and are committed to strengthening government relations within their chapter. Please join us!

Speaking of AALL's Effective Grassroots Advocacy...
We had quite a scare on Thursday, April 11th, when we learned that the leadership of the ABA's Section of Intellectual Property Law had sent a request to the ABA Board of Governors seeking approval of a resolution to file an amicus brief in support of the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA). The Board of Governors was to meet for a vote on Sunday, the 14th, and we were given a Friday noon deadline to get faxes to the ABA opposing the resolution. AALL was pleased with the announcement that the Supreme Court would hear Eldred v. Ashcroft, the case challenging the constitutionality of the CTEA, in the fall and we are engaged in drafting an amicus brief with other library, archives and educational organizations. To counter the IP Law Section's action, we sent out a late afternoon alert on the 11th to the AALL Advocacy listserv and to law-lib that resulted in a flurry of letters to the ABA from AALL/ABA members. The Board of Governors voted against the request and as a result there will be no ABA brief supporting term extension. Our sincere thanks to all of your who quickly responded to our urgent plea for immediate action—you really made a difference!

AALL Comments on Model Policy on Public Access to Court Records
The GRC "privacy team" of Anne Burnett, Richard Matthews, Sam Trosow and Bob Pikowsky worked very hard in April to write AALL's comments on a draft Model Policy on Public Access to Court Records developed by the National Center for State Courts. The Model Policy was requested by the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators to provide consistency of access and uniformity of rules across state jurisdictions and local courts. The 44-page policy, including lengthy commentary, raises a number of troubling concerns about potential harm to individuals when personal information contained in court records is made publicly available through the Internet. In our comments submitted to the NCSC on April 30th, we raised a number of specific issues, including concern with the bulk distribution of electronic court records.

Other April Washington Office Activities
We're in the midst of congressional hearings for the FY 2003 appropriations cycle, and the Washington Office sent letters this month to the House and Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees, as we do each year, in support of the full budget requests of the Government Printing Office (GPO), the Library of Congress (LC) and the Law Library of Congress. The Law Library has requested $13.917 million, including $3.684 million to improve the Library's technological infrastructure and digital collections. GPO has requested $34.1 million for the Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses that funds the Federal Depository Library Program, GPO Access and the cataloging and indexing program.

We also sent out a letter in April to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to request that they provide Internet access to The Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures. Special thanks to GD-SIS chair A. Hays Butler and Robert Richards for bringing this issue to our attention. Thanks also to Californians David McFadden, Charlie Dyer and Hal Aigner for alerting us to AB 2648, a bill that would end the long-standing responsibility of county governments to fund the housing, maintenance, phones and janitorial services for the state's county law libraries. We sent out a strong letter opposing the bill to members of the California State Assembly's Local Government Committee and others in leadership positions. A hearing will be held on AB 2648 on May 8th. Lastly, we participated in the development of a one-page issue brief for the Congressional Internet Caucus on Digital Rights Management: Whose Rights Are Being Managed? It explains how DRM changes the fundamental relationship between creators, publishers and users, and limits the ability of libraries to serve the information needs of our constituencies. You'll find all these letters and the DRM piece at Washington Office Online.

Spring Chapter Legislative Updates
Attending chapter meetings is always a pleasure, and joining SEAALL members in Fort Lauderdale for their annual meeting in mid-April was a particularly delightful experience. GRC member Charlene Cain and I teamed up to present a legislative update to a full house of interested SEAALL members. Charlene described the legislative scene in the southeastern states while I focused on the federal landscape in information policy and copyright issues. The following week, GRC chair Anne Burnett presented a legislative update for SWALL members at their annual meeting in Fort Worth. If your chapter is interested in holding a legislative session at your next chapter meeting, feel free to contact either the GRC chair or the Washington Office—we'll be very happy to help you plan a program.

In Memoriam
One of the greatest joys in my professional life is the opportunity to interact and work with a group of extraordinarily talented people. Among these is Sharon Hogan, university librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who passed away on April 27th after a short illness. Although few of you may have had the pleasure of knowing Sharon, I had the great fortune of serving with her on the Depository Library Council. Subsequently our paths frequently crossed at ALA-sponsored events where her outstanding leadership qualities most often landed her the unenviable task of facilitating a roomful of outspoken and opinionated librarians hashing out important policy matters. Sharon's keen knowledge of every aspect of librarianship, her commitment to our policy battles and the public good, and her energy and enthusiasm for life combined to make her an outstanding member of our profession. She will be truly missed.

 



Mary Alice Baish
Associate 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