Washington E-Bulletin - April 2014

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Vol. 2014, Issue 04

A Look Ahead

Copyright Heats Up
Copyright continues to be a hot topic on Capitol Hill. On March 10 and 11, the Copyright Office hosted public roundtables on mass digitization and orphan works at the Library of Congress. The goal of the roundtables was to provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss changes to the environment affecting mass digitization and orphan works during the past few years and to address issues raised in the Copyright Office’s 2012 Notice of Inquiry on these issues.

AALL’s Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren was selected to participate in the sessions on the need for legislation and remedies and procedures regarding orphan works. Those of you following the discussion on Twitter may have picked up on the palpable tension in the room between authors and certain creators and librarians. By the end of the second day the tension had eased, allowing for a more open discussion about the many factors impacting orphan works and possible solutions to allow for more robust use, although there was no clear outcome from the discussions. AALL’s Copyright Committee is drafting comments to submit in response to the Copyright Office’s latest Notice of Inquiry. The comments will address issues raised at the roundtables as well as support our February 2013 response to the last Notice of Inquiry.

Tomorrow, April 2, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet will hold a hearing on Preservation and Reuse of Copyrighted Works. The hearing is the latest in the Committee’s series of hearings on copyright law. On Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4, the Berkley Center for Law and Technology will hold a conference on The Next Great Copyright Act. Borrowing its title from the name of a March 2013 lecture by Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, the conference will bring together copyright experts and government representatives to discuss what it would take to make for the next great Copyright Act.

Federal Appropriations Process Continues
In early March, the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee held hearings on the Government Printing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress (LC) Fiscal Year 2015 budget requests.  AALL submitted written testimony in support of these agencies’ requests, noting the critical role they play in providing permanent public access to official, authentic, and preserved government information and collections in multiple formats.

The Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee has not yet announced the schedule for its hearings on GPO and LC funding. In the meantime, you can read our advocacy one-pagers on funding for GPO and LC and take action in support of their budget requests. Stay tuned for further analysis. 

Act Now

Tell Congress to Oppose the Federal Register Modernization Act
On March 12, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported out the Federal Register Modernization Act (H.R. 4195) by voice vote. The bill had been introduced only the night before, with little transparency. The Federal Register Modernization Act removes the statutory requirement to print the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and eliminates all requirements to produce indexes for these materials. Read more about the bill in our new advocacy one-pager.

Write to your member of Congress today and ask him/her to oppose the Federal Register Modernization Act.

Using our Legislative Action Center, you can easily customize and send a sample letter to your representative. Members of the public must be able to access the Federal Register and CFR in print and have access to their accompanying indexes. Make sure Congress hears from you! Once you’ve taken action on this top issue, consider contacting your members of Congress about one of our other legislative priorities using our newly updated action alerts.

AALL in the States

Idaho Enacts UELMA
Idaho became the ninth state to enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA), when Senate Bill 1356 was signed by Governor Butch Otter on March 26. Congratulations to AALL member Michael Greenlee who led the efforts there!

Local Chapters Make Strong Showing at AALL Lobby Day
Representatives from several chapters, including LLAM, VALL, LLSDC, and LLAGNY, travelled to Washington, D.C. to participate in AALL’s Local Advocate Lobby Day on March 27.  In total, seven states were represented at the event and each participant met with the offices of their representatives and senators to discuss key legislation affecting law librarians.  The influence of these meetings was magnified by participants in our Virtual Lobby Day, who sent over 85 messages to Congressional offices via our Legislative Action Center. Thanks to all who participated! By taking the time to meet with staff or send an email to your legislators’ offices, you helped to raise AALL’s profile on Capitol Hill and will have a direct impact on the policies that affect law libraries.

GRO visits SEAALL
AALL Public Policy Associate Elizabeth Holland will be in attendance at the 2014 SEAALL Annual Meeting April 4 and 5. She’ll be sharing the GRO’s advocacy training techniques on a panel titled “Advocacy for Everyone: Get that Funding, Get that Program Rolling, and Get that Bill Passed.” Participants will learn to craft persuasive elevator pitches to assist in their professional and personal advocacy efforts. If you’ll be in Knoxville later this week, come say hello and work on your pitch.

Roundup and Review
  • Save the Date! If you’re attending the 2014 DLC Meeting and FDL Conference at GPO April 30-May 2, please join the Government Relations Office staff for an Open House at our offices on Thursday, May 1 at 5:45 p.m. After we meet and mingle, we’ll head to the annual law librarians dinner together.
  • Help GPO improve your FDsys experience by taking this 5 minute survey!
  • We celebrated Sunshine Week with new legislation on transparency, webcasts, and more.
  • The World Wide Web turned 25, but the laws that govern the privacy of electronic communications are even older!
  • Now that we all agree that the government’s bulk collection of data about individuals should end, let’s pass the USA FREEDOM Act.
  • Here’s a good read on why the FIRST Act is bad for science and innovation.
  • AALL and friends urged the House and Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittees to restore funding to the Office of Technology Assessment.