Thursday, May 24, 2007

Copyright Utopia, Day 3 - Legislative Panel

Tweaking Copyright: Legislative Alternatives
Kimberly Bonner (moderator), Miriam Nisbet, Robert Samors, Gigi Sohn
  • 110th Congress (current term) is unusually quiet on copyright, although 3 of the 4 copyright reform bills/initiatives are positive
  • big copyright issues are currently in the courts, hence affecting the actions of Congress
  • also slower due to shift from Republican majority to Democrats, as well as focus on judicial system issues (fired lawyers), FBI examination, & patent reform bill
  • Democrats have tended to be more friendly to Hollywood (the land of big donors) by protecting copyrights
  • notion of only one type of copyright holder no longer holds with rising among of user-generated content
  • the current big danger is not potential Congressional action but action from the copyright office: some believe the office is over-reaching its role to make policy pronouncements, believing duty is to push back changing tide of copyright control in defense of traditional copyright holders; as an office, the mission is to serve the people, which includes copyright holders of participatory media
  • reforms are needed in areas covering orphan works, DMCA, DRM notices, licensing that permits YouTube posting without fear of notice-and-takedown, limiting statutory damages
  • although such reforms are not possible in the short term, they might be in long term
  • H.R. 1201: introduced in late February; would amend DMCA to add relief to DRM breaking prohibition in legitimate circumstances such as fair use, educational uses, and library/archives preservation (all currently illegal)
  • hoping to see orphan works (works whose copyright holder cannot be identified/located) bills in both House and Senate; would allow for use of orphan works without risk of statutory damages if good faith search does not locate copyright owner
  • study group examining possible changes to Section 108 (library/archive specific section); section is out-of-sync with digital age in terms of copying guidelines (both preservation and personal use), ILL
  • librarians have an important role to play in copyright reform, either by individually contacting Congressional representatives or by identifying our institution's government relations/Congressional liaison person
  • imperative that faculty and students understand copyright, so hold copyright education campaigns on campus; doesn't necessarily have to be clever but needs to be sustained
  • work to have copyright added to Faculty Senate and institutional agendas
  • think about copyright reform less as an economic issue and more as an educational mission
  • clearly stipulate self-interest for universities, faculty, students

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