Washington eBulletin – January 2020

This is the first issue of the Washington eBulletin’s new biannual publication schedule. We hope you enjoy the new format.

2020 Advocacy Opportunities

Building long-lasting, trustworthy relationships is the key to effective advocacy. As the new year begins, AALL invites you to join our advocacy efforts to influence legal information policy issues. The Association’s current legislative priorities include improved access to justice, balanced copyright laws, increased access to government information, greater government transparency, and protection of privacy.

Thanks to your support in 2019, AALL helped to secure increased funding levels for the Library of Congress and Law Library of Congress; worked with members of Congress to ensure more oversight and accountability of PACER through reports and hearings; celebrated the enactment of legislation to modernize federal grant reporting and increase access to government data; saved the indexes to the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations from eliminationand brought AALL member expertise to Capitol Hill as part of AALL 2019 Lobby Day.

The 2020 election year offers a special opportunity to form relationships with your members of Congress while they spend more time in their states and districts. Consider scheduling face-to-face meetings with your Representative and Senators and their district staff, or invite them to visit your law library. This is a great way to introduce them to your services and collections, and the perfect photo op for them and your library!

AALL’s new calendar of advocacy opportunities offers suggested advocacy activities for every month of 2020. Engaging your lawmakers throughout the year will help you form effective relationships with your members of Congress and is much more likely to lead toward favorable results for legal information policy issues. Be sure to join AALL’s Advocates Community to receive weekly updates from the AALL Government Relations Committee and timely action alerts when your voice is needed most.

Roundup and Review 

AALL submitted a response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation (84 F.R. 58141, Docket No. PTO-C-2019-0038). AALL supports consideration of a contract preemption provision to ensure libraries may continue to benefit from the exceptions provided in the Copyright Act.

The Association also sent recommendations to the National Archives and Records Administration to suggest ways to incorporate greater stakeholder participation to the federal records appraisal process. The letter includes examples of how greater access to certain categories of federal records–including those that might be deemed irrelevant and marked for destruction by a federal agency–may be valuable for legal research.