January 17, 2006 Study Group to Host Public Roundtables in March 2006 on Copyright Exceptions for Libraries and Archives

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217; glam@loc.gov

A committee appointed by the Library of Congress will hold two public roundtables in March 2006—in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C.— to gather insights and opinions on how to revise copyright exceptions for libraries and archives (Section 108 of the Copyright Act).

The committee consists of independent experts from the commercial and not-for profit sectors. The roundtables, which are free and open to the public, will be held Wednesday, March 8, in Los Angeles and on Thursday, March 16, in Washington, D.C.

The committee, known as the Section 108 Study Group, convened in April 2005 under the sponsorship of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office to re-examine the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under the Copyright Act, specifically in light of the changes produced by the widespread use of digital technologies since the last significant study in 1988.

The group is studying how Section 108 of the Copyright Act (titled “Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives”) may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as creators and other copyright holders. As part of this process, the Study Group is reaching out to the library, archives, rights-holder and creative communities for input on recommendations for possible revisions to the current library and archives exceptions. The March roundtables will be the first opportunity for these communities to share their views with the Study Group face-to-face.

Information on how to participate in the roundtables will be published in the Federal Register in February 2006 and made available on the Section 108 Study Group Web site: www.loc.gov/section108. In lieu of participating in the roundtables, comments may be submitted to the Study Group directly via the Web site.

The March roundtables will address four general issues: (1) eligibility for the Section 108 exceptions, (2) exceptions for copies made for preservation and replacement purposes, (3) access to digital copies outside the premises of libraries and archives, and (4) separate treatment for unpublished materials. A more detailed description of the issues to be discussed will be made available on the study group Web site shortly. Other general topics pertaining to Section 108 exceptions—such as making copies upon patron request, interlibrary loan, eReserves and licensing—may be the subject of future public roundtables.

Section 108 of the Copyright Act permits libraries and archives to make certain uses of copyrighted materials in order to serve the public and ensure the availability of works over time. Among other things, Section 108 provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives to make copies in specified instances for preservation, replacement and patron use. It has been observed that the current provisions were drafted with analog materials in mind, and do not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media, either from the perspective of rights-holders or libraries and archives. 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.

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 Working Group. The Study Group comprises copyright experts from various fields, including law, publishing, film, music, software and photography, as well as libraries and archives. It has been charged with providing 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 late 2006 to the Librarian of Congress.


PR 06-017
ISSN 0731-3527