Some good news on the copyright front (fwd)

Gary Handman (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 12:37:39 -0800 (PST)

Forwarding this verrrrry interesting news note...

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

>I am very pleased to report positive news from D.C.
>on the copyright front. Last Friday, Reps. Rick Boucher
>and Tom Campbell introduced a bill to update the
>Copyright Act. The bill is an excellent
>one which addresses many concerns expressed by
>archivists, librarians and many others in the humanities
>and related fields.
>Because of its importance to our work, what follows is the
>full text to the Boucher/Campbell press release. We often
>write to our legislators to complain, this is one case where we
>can write to our legislators and applaud their work:
>November 14, 1997
>"U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Representative
>Tom Campbell (R-CA) have introduced the first comprehensive
>House bill to update the Copyright Act for the digital age.
>"The Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act will implement
>two international copyright treaties, enhance distance learning
>for students throughout the United States, firmly recognize
>the doctrines of First Sale and Fair Use for the digital era and
>foster the continued growth of the Internet. "This legislation
>provides an historic opportunity for Congress to enact a
>comprehensive set of reforms to modernize our copyright law
>in a way that will spur creativity, advance the frontiers of education,
>and promote technological innovation, Boucher said upon
>introduction of the legislation.
>Commenting on practical applications of the bill, Campbell said:
>"Educators should be able to use computers in the same way they
>currently use televisions to foster distance learning, and librarians
>should be able to use the latest technology to preserve and to share
>great works of literature and scientific discoveries with their patrons.
>Through enactment of our measure they will enjoy the benefits of
>new digital technology in the same way they historically have
>enjoyed advances in technology throughout the analog era."
>The bill has its genesis in the negotiation of two international
>copyright treaties last December under the auspices of the World
>Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Earlier this year, at the
>request of the Administration, legislation was introduced to implement
>the two treaties. That legislation only addresses copyright provisions
>in the WIPO treaties and does not provide a forum for a discussion
>of the broader copyright changes which the advent of digital
>technology will require. The Boucher/Campbell bill provides a
>single, comprehensive approach that seeks to balance the
>interests of copyright owners and users of copyrighted works.
>In addition to implementing the treaties, the bill also contains Fair
>Use, First Sale and distance learning provisions.
>Section 1201 (Circumvention). The legislation proposed by the
>Administration to implement the WIPO treaties includes a device-
>oriented approach to stemming copyright infringement. This
>approach was rejected by the delegates at the WIPO negotiations.
>Compelling testimony offered before the Intellectual Property
>Subcommittee stated that the approach of the Administration's
>bill would stifle the introduction of new technology and would
>effectively overturn the long-settled law of the United States
>regarding infringing and non-infringing uses.
>"Because of my reservations about the implications of the
>Administration's approach for digital technologies with a focus
>on controlling so-called "circumvention devices," our legislation
>attempts to address the legitimate concerns of copyright owners
>by focusing instead on infringing conduct," Boucher explained.
>As proposed in the Boucher/Campbell bill, this new section 1201
>would create liability for the person who, for purposes of
>facilitating or engaging in an act of infringement, knowingly
>circumvents the operation of an effective technological
>measure used by a copyright owner to preclude or limit
>reproduction of a work in a digital format.
>Copyright Management Information. To address a second
>international treaty matter, the bill creates liability for a person
>who knowingly provides false copyright management information
>or removes or alters copyright management information without
>the authority of the copyright owner, and with the intend to
>mislead or induce or facilitate infringement. To assure privacy
>protection, the bill explicitly excludes from the definition of
>copyright management information any personally identifiable
>information relating to the user of the work.
>Fair Use. The legislation makes clear that the Fair Use doctrine
>in the copyright law -- which generally preserves the ability of
>users, including libraries, teachers and scholars, to make limited,
>noncommercial use of copyrighted works -- continues to apply with
>full force in the digital networked environment.
>First Sale. Given the historical importance to librarians, scholars,
>educators, and consumers of transferring to others lawfully acquired
>copies of works, the bill offers assurances of the continued applicability
>in the digital environment of the First Sale doctrine. The bill will
>permit electronic transmission of a lawfully acquired digital copy
>of a work as long as the person making the transfer eliminates
>(e.g. erases or destroys) that copy of the work from his or her system
>at substantially the same time as he or she makes the transfer.
>Library Provisions. The bill permits libraries to utilize digital
>technologies for preservation purposes and increases the number of
>copies of a work that may be made for archival purposes.
>Distance Learning. The bill fully authorizes educators to use data
>networks for distance learning in the same way they now use
>broadcast and closed-circuit television for that purpose.
>Ephemeral Copying. The bill amends the Copyright Act to make
>explicit that it is not an infringement of copyright for a person to
>make a digital copy of a work when such copying is made incidental
>to the operation of a computer in the course of the use of the
>work in a way that is otherwise lawful.
>Preemption. Finally, the bill includes a measure to address the
>increasing practice by which copyright owners use non-negotiated
>terms in "shrink-wrap" or "click-on" licenses in ways that can
>abrogate or narrow federal rights consumers otherwise would
>enjoy under the federal Copyright Act.
>The bill has the strong support from many public and private sector
>groups, including The American Committee for Interoperable Systems,
>the American Library Association, the Computer and Communications
>Industry Association, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers
>Association, the Digital Future Coalition, the Home Recording Rights
>Coalition, and other groups which support preserving balance in the
>Copyright Act as it is amended for the digital era.
>"With this measure we will help educators, librarians, scholars,
>computer hardware and software manufacturers, and many other groups
>in their effort to realize the great potential of the digital networked
>environment. Our legislation sets a firm foundation for the Congressional
>debate on the modernization of the Copyright Act next year. We look
>forward to the discussions with our colleagues, the Administration and
>other interested parties that will produce a balanced reform,
>Boucher concluded.
>Susan E. Fox
>Executive Director
>Society of American Archivists
>600 S. Federal, Suite 504
>Chicago, IL 60605
>fax: 312/347-1452