Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

February 17, 2006

Library of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office Issue Notice of Public Roundtables with Request for Comments on Exceptions in Copyright Law for Libraries and Archives

Section 108 Study Group Roundtables in Los Angeles and Washington Seeking Public Comment

The U.S. Copyright Office and the Office of Strategic Initiatives of the Library of Congress today placed a notice in the Federal Register titled "Notice of Public Roundtables with Requests for Comments." A copy of the notice and additional information can be found on the Web site: www.loc.gov/section108.

The public roundtables are part of the work of the Section 108 Study Group, a 19-person body that is charged with making recommendations relating to the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under section 108 of the Copyright Act, especially as section 108 affects libraries’ use of digital media.

The roundtable discussions will be held:

Los Angeles: Wednesday, March 8, 2006, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST, UCLA School of Law, Room 1314, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Washington: Thursday, March 16, 2006, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237, Washington, DC 20515.

The notice details how to make a request to participate in either the Los Angeles or Washington roundtables, which must be received by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. The notice also requests interested parties to submit written comments on the issues presented in the notice, and provides information on how to do so. Comments must be received by Monday, April 17, 2006.

BACKGROUND

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) (www.digitalpreservation.gov) and the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov), both part of the Library of Congress, are sponsoring the Section 108 Study Group, whose mission is to study how section 108 of the Copyright Act may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as of creators and other copyright holders, when dealing with digital media. The group will provide findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in order to ensure an appropriate balance among the interests of creators and other copyright holders, libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the national interest. The findings and recommendations will be submitted by mid-2006 to the Librarian of Congress.

Digital technologies are radically transforming how copyrighted works are created and disseminated, and also how libraries and archives preserve and make those works available. Cultural heritage institutions, in carrying forward their missions, have begun to acquire and incorporate large quantities of "born digital" works (those created in digital form) into their holdings to ensure the continuing availability of those works to future generations. Yet it has been observed that section 108 of the Copyright Act – which provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives – does not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media, either from the perspective of rights owners or libraries and archives.

The Library, by sponsoring this independent group, is looking forward to obtaining a greater understanding of the issues through the collective expertise of the group and to receiving its balanced, solid recommendations for revisions to section 108.

Because NDIIPP is a national program, led by the Library, that focuses on the collection and preservation of important at-risk digital materials, the recommendations will be helpful to NDIIPP and other digital-preservation initiatives as they fulfill their missions. The Library is leading NDIIPP at the request of the U.S. Congress, which passed legislation in 2000 establishing the program. A key NDIIPP goal is to form a nationwide network of partners to collect and preserve digital information that will be important to scholars, researchers and lifelong learners now and in the future.

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PR 06-046
02/17/06
ISSN 0731-3527

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