Media Resources Center
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
With the 105th Congress back in session, I thought this transmission
might be timely:
ACTION ALERT: SECOND APPEAL FOR IMMEDIATE CONGRESSIONAL
IN SUPPORT OF PENDING DIGITAL COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION
As detailed recently, landmark legislation to update the
nation's copyright laws for the digital age--including the
Fair Use Doctrine--is now pending in both chambers of
Congress. On January 14 ALA Council endorsed these
watershed bills: S. 1146, Sen. John Ashcroft's (R-MO)
Digital Copyright Clarification and Technology Act, and H.R.
3048, the Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act, introduced
by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Tom Campbell (R-CA). (See
ALAWON, vol. 6, nos. 117-119, December 18, 1997.)
With this week's opening of the second session of the 105th
Congress, it is crucial that all librarians, educators,
trustees, parents, and friends of libraries ask both of
their Senators to cosponsor S. 1146 and ask their member of
the House of Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 3048.
Why is this urgent now? First, these bills may be taken up
in committee as soon as the end of February. Second, most
members will not sign on as the cosponsor of a bill unless a
constituent requests it.
All ALA members and library supporters are urgently
requested to write or call your House and Senate delegations
specifically requesting "cosponsorship" (not merely
"support") of these bills.
The U.S. Capitol Switchboard phone number is 202-224-3121.
E-mail also can be effective. For a directory of
Congressional e-mail addresses, consult the Library of
Congress web page at
Your letter or communication might include these key points:
I recently learned that bipartisan legislation has been
introduced [insert bill number and name of sponsor; see
IMPORTANT NOTE below] which would broadly update
copyright law for the future in a way that will both
protect the owners of information and continue to allow
librarians and educators access to information under
reasonable circumstances. I am writing to you today to
ask that you lend your name to that legislation.
As a [librarian/library user/library trustee/friend of
libraries], I feel strongly that any changes made to the
Copyright Act must be balanced in a way that allows the
benefits of the Internet to reach all sectors of
society, especially library users and students. This
bill will accomplish this very important goal in several
important ways. Please add your name to this bill as a
Letters to Senators should refer only to: S. 1146, Sen.
John Ashcroft's (R-MO) Digital Copyright Clarification
and Technology Act. Letters to House members should
refer only to: H.R. 3048, the Digital Era Copyright
Enhancement Act, introduced by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA)
and Tom Campbell (R-CA).
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN TO YOUR LEGISLATORS ON THIS
ISSUE, thank you, but please make a follow-up call. It may
take a couple of reminders before your request is acted upon
by a busy congressional office. Be persistent, and thanks
for your help. It is critical that Congress know that you
care about updating copyright law for all Americans.
Libraries' effectiveness and vitality in the 21st century
depends on them...and on you.
Both bills, the Digital Copyright Clarification and
Technology Act (S. 1146) and the Digital Era Copyright
Enhancement Act (H.R. 3048), would update current law to
make clear that Fair Use fully applies in the networked
environment and that preservationists may use the latest
technologies and methods. In addition, H.R. 3048 would
extend the First Sale Doctrine--the basis of all library
lending--to the electronic environment. All three bill
sponsors, Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) and Reps. Rick Boucher
(D-VA) and Tom Campbell (R-CA), also have demonstrated their
commitment to assure that no library or librarian should be
legally liable for any copyright infringement committed by a
library user acting independently.
The bills represent a positive approach to updating the
Copyright Act to meet the challenges of the digital
environment while, at the same time, preserving the critical
balance between copyright owners and users in the electronic
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For detailed information about contacting your Senators and
Representatives and further background on this critical
legislation, please consult the ALA Washington Office
website at http://www.ala.org/washoff and the Digital Future
Coalition's home page at http://www.dfc.org. Inquiries also
may be directed to Adam Eisgrau, legislative counsel for the
ALA Washington Office, at 800/941-8478.
ACRL Program Officer
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: 1-800-545.2433 Ext. 2510