ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 14, Number 26
March 18, 2005
In This Issue: Volunteers needed urgently: help ALA stop the FCC's
unlawful restrictions on librarians
Many of you already know about ALA's involvement (with other library
associations) in challenging the FCC's "Broadcast Flag" rule, a rule
that will prevent librarians from being able to distribute or make
available copies of broadcast television programs on the Internet. It
will also require you to purchase new electronic equipment that your
library now uses to read or manipulate digital television signals (such
as DVD players, recorders, TiVos, appropriately equipped computers,
etc.) if that equipment is not Flag-compliant and your library does not
already own a digital TV tuner.
We have filed an appeal to the federal Court of Appeals in Washington,
DC, arguing that the FCC had no authority to promulgate the Broadcast
Flag rule. The validity of the Broadcast Flag is now pending before
This week, the court issued a very important order requiring us to
submit evidence proving that we have "standing" to sue the FCC. In
order to provide the court with the evidence it needs--and to defeat the
Broadcast Flag, which will sharply limit how libraries might be able to
use broadcast materials, perhaps in ways we might not yet have even
conceived--we need your help. And we need it quickly.
We are looking for members of our organization who might be willing to
submit an affidavit explaining how the Broadcast Flag harms them. The
process will be simple, straightforward, and not very time-consuming.
The lawyers representing us in the case will assist in drafting the
document; you'll just have to help provide the facts of what it will
say. The affidavits must be filed by March 29, which means that they
must be prepared as soon as possible next week (the week of March 21).
If you can answer "yes" to the following questions and would be willing
to help us protect the First Amendment rights of librarians, and the
rights we fought so hard to obtain in the TEACH Act, then please contact
us as soon as possible:
1. Are you a current member of ALA, ARL, AALL, MLA, and/or SLA?
2. Do you do any of the following?
A. Archive television broadcasts for use by library patrons or
other educational or research purposes?
B. Use portions of television broadcasts in distance learning
courses, or make broadcast portions available to teachers at your
institution for this purpose?
C. Make portions of television broadcasts available via your
library's or your school's website for any educational, research, or
D. Record television broadcasts at your library for any other type
of educational purpose?
E. Have equipment that you use to archive, record, or manipulate
copies of television broadcasts that you would replace if it no longer
allowed you to archive, record, or manipulate the television broadcast
in the same way you do today.
Please contact either Carrie Russell, firstname.lastname@example.org or Miriam
Nisbet, email@example.com in the ALA Washington Office.
We look forward to hearing from you to help in this important issue!
ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the
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ALA Washington Office, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 403,
Washington, D.C. 20004-1701; phone: 202.628.8410 or 800.941.8478
toll-free; fax: 202.628.8419; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site:
http://www.ala.org/washoff. Executive Director: Emily Sheketoff.
Office of Government Relations: Lynne Bradley, Director; Carol Ashworth,
Don Essex, Joshua Farrelman, Erin Haggerty, Patrice McDermott and Miriam
Nisbet. Office for Information Technology Policy: Rick Weingarten,
Director; Carrie Lowe, Kathy Mitchell, Carrie Russell. ALAWON Editor:
Forwarded by Melissa Riley
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