May 13, 2005 Section 108 Study Group Convenes to Discuss Exceptions to Copyright Law for Libraries and Archives

Newly Formed Group to Make Recommendations by Mid-2006

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Section 108 Study Group held its inaugural meeting at the Library of Congress on April 14-15. The goal of the group, named after the section of the U.S. Copyright Act that provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives, is to prepare findings and make recommendations to the Librarian of Congress by mid-2006 for possible alterations to the law that reflect current technologies. The U.S. Copyright Office will then hold public hearings before submitting recommendations to the U.S. Congress. This effort will seek to strike the appropriate balance between copyright holders and libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the public interest.

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 exemptions 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.

During the initial meeting, the Study Group members drafted a mission statement (see below) and discussed which issues to address and how to organize their work. The group plans on convening for 1½ days every other month; the next meeting will be held June 9 in New York City.

Laura E. Campbell, associate librarian for Strategic Initiatives, thanked the Study Group members for volunteering their time and expertise. Campbell, who is also chief information officer for the Library of Congress, is leading a national initiative to collect and preserve important digital materials that are at risk of being lost. The project, formally called the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) (, is forming a national network of partners dedicated to preserving digital materials. “The success of the Section 108 Study Group is critical to the success of our digital preservation effort,” said Campbell.

Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, also expressed gratitude to the members for their willingness to undertake work that will have an enormous impact on the future of scholarship.

The Section 108 Study Group is co-chaired by Laura Gasaway, director of the law library and professor of law at the University of North Carolina, and Richard Rudick, former vice president and general counsel of John Wiley and Sons. The 17 other members (see below) are from various interests and sectors and bring a broad range of perspectives to the group. The Study Group was limited to 19 members to ensure efficiency and to meet the mid-2006 deadline for making recommendations. The Study Group plans on holding sessions outside of its regular meetings for the public and press, and a Web site will be launched shortly to provide information on the work of this group to the public.

The Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program is sponsoring the Section 108 Study Group in cooperation with the U.S. Copyright Office. The Library of Congress, with the Copyright Office, is looking forward to obtaining a greater understanding of the issues through the group and to receiving its balanced, solid recommendations for revisions to Section 108. Although the issues are many and complex, the Library has requested that the group deliver findings and recommendations by mid-2006. The Library is grateful for the enormous time commitment being made by each of the members to achieve this goal and recognizes the very valuable service the members are providing.


The purpose of the Section 108 Study Group is to conduct a reexamination of the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under the Copyright Act, specifically in light of the changes wrought by digital media. The group will 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 creators and other copyright holders. 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.


  • Laura Gasaway, Director, Law Library and Professor of Law, University of North Carolina, co-chair
  • Richard Rudick, former Vice President and General Counsel, John Wiley and Sons, co-chair
  • June Besek, Executive Director and Director of Studies, Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, Columbia Law School
  • Robin Bierstedt, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Time Inc.
  • Troy Dow, Vice President of Government Relations, The Walt Disney Company
  • Jesse Feder, Director for International Trade and Intellectual Property, Business Software Alliance
  • Peter Givler, Executive Director, Association of American University Presses
  • Peter Hirtle, Intellectual Property Officer, Cornell University Library
  • Nancy Kopans, General Counsel and Secretary, JSTOR
  • Eve-Marie LaCroix, Chief, Public Services Division, National Library of Medicine
  • James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University
  • Miriam Nisbet, Legislative Counsel, American Library Association
  • Bob Oakley, Professor of Law and Director, Law Library, Georgetown University Law Center
  • John Schline, Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Affairs, Penguin Group (USA)
  • Lois Wasoff, Attorney at Law; former Vice President and Corporate Counsel, Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Donald Waters, Program Officer for Scholarly Communication, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Paul West, Senior Vice President of National Studio Operations, Universal Mastering Studios
  • Maureen Whalen, Associate General Counsel, J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Nancy Wolff, Partner, Wolff & Godin LLP

Assisting the Study Group from the Library of Congress are:

Mary Rasenberger, Policy Advisor for Special Programs in the Office of Policy and International Affairs of the U.S. Copyright Office and the Office of Strategic Initiatives Chris Weston, Attorney-Advisor, U.S. Copyright Office and Office of Strategic Initiatives

Jenel Farrell, Special Assistant, Office of Strategic Initiatives


PR 05-121
ISSN 0731-3527