Washington eBulletin – November 2016

Vol. 2016 Issue 11

A Look Ahead

Changes at the Copyright Office

On Friday, October 21, 2016, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced leadership changes at the Library of Congress with the appointment of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante as senior advisor for digital strategy and Karyn Temple Claggett as acting register. The following week, Register Pallante submitted her letter of resignation to Dr. Hayden, declining to take the new position. The Library of Congress has indicated that it will conduct a national search for the next register.

The search for a new head of the Copyright Office comes at an especially important time; the Office is in the midst of several policy studies and Congress is considering a major overhaul of copyright law. The most recent study is of section 1201 of the Copyright Act, for which AALL submitted comments last week. Our comments urged the Copyright Office to consider recommending to Congress a new permanent exemption for the circumvention of malfunctioning, damaged, and obsolete technological protection measures, and a permanent exemption for the blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. We also suggested that Congress consider adopting language attaching liability for circumvention only in cases where the circumvention facilitates copyright infringement. AALL fully expects that, despite leadership changes, the Copyright Office will continue its important policy studies, including those on 1201 and section 108 (the library exception).

It also seems likely that some members of Congress will continue to explore the possibility of moving the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress, a change that Register Pallante had ardently supported. AALL opposes such a move, and we will continue to work with members of Congress to ensure that the Copyright Office continues to reside in the Library.

After the Election

Stay tuned for the December issue of the Washington eBulletin, which will offer a post-mortem analysis of what the election results mean for law libraries, and how AALL and our members can best leverage our collective knowledge to affect the development of public policy in the next Congress and with the new administration. And register now for AALL’s upcoming online advocacy training, “Advocates and Influencers: How Law Librarians Can Impact the New Congress and New Administration” on December 13 at 11 a.m. (CST) to prepare you for the new Congress. Registration is free for AALL members and chapter members.

Act Now

Register for the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL and Boston University School of Law are pleased to host a special conference on the copyright of state legal materials on December 2, 2016, at BU Law. The conference will feature keynote speaker Corynne McSherry, lunch speaker Sarah Jeong, and a full slate of copyright experts on three panels: legal status, operational issues, and advocacy and inspiration. Registration is $75�. Register now to secure your spot.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL celebrated the FCC’s vote to protect the privacy of internet users
  • Recordings and handouts from the 2016 Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference are now available
  • What’s the impact of secret law on our democracy? The Brennan Center reports