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February 23, 2006

Clamoring for attention

Silly me. I managed to get published without fully realizing it.

I wrote an article about Radical Reference for a progressive mag called Clamor. It's in the online only edition, but what the hey ... it's kinda cool.

Warning: hackneyed, gushing prose ahead ... but if I've provided RadRef a service, then it's of the good, I think.

February 16, 2006

Copyright roundtables in L.A. and D.C.

From ALA's Washington Office Newsletter:

The Library of Congress last year convened a "Section 108 Study Group" to prepare findings and make recommendations to the Librarian of Congress by mid-2006 for possible alterations to the copyright law that reflect current technologies. The group is named after the section of the U.S. Copyright Act that provides certain exceptions for libraries and archives. Several representatives of the library community are members of the Study Group.

The Study Group is reaching out to the library, archives, rights-holder, and creative communities for input on recommendations for revising the current library and archives exceptions. As part of that process, the Study Group will host two days of roundtables in 2006 for interested parties to offer suggestions and comments on how best to revise these exceptions for the digital era.

Where & when:

March 8 (Wednesday) in Los Angeles, California, from 8:30 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. P.S.T.- University of California-Los Angeles School of
Law, Room 1314, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

March 16 (Thursday) in Washington, D.C., from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. E.S.T. - Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237,
Washington, D.C. 20515

How to participate:

Requests to participate in either roundtable must be received by the Section 108 Study Group by 5:00 p.m. E.S.T. on February 24, 2006.

Additional information about the Roundtables is available in the
Federal Register on February 15, 2006 and on the Section 108 Study Group website. For those who cannot participate in person, comments may be submitted to the Study Group directly via the website. Members of the public may attend the Roundtables even if they do not intend to speak on particular issues.

What are the issues?

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 allows libraries and archives to make copies in specified instances for preservation, replacement and patron use. These provisions were drafted with analog materials in mind, and therefore do not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media, either from the perspective of rights-holders or libraries and archives.

The March roundtables will address four general issues:

(1) eligibility for the section 108 exceptions,
(2) proposal to amend subsections 108(b) and (c) to allow access outside the premises in limited circumstances,
(3) proposal for a new exception for preservation-only/restricted access copying,
(4) proposal for a new exception for the preservation of websites.

Background information and a more detailed discussion of the issues can be found in the document titled "Information for the March 2006 Public Roundtables and Request for Written Comments".

We urge you to read this background document in order to obtain a full understanding of the issues surrounding the topics to be discussed and to provide appropriate input through written comments or participation in the roundtable discussions. 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.

February 03, 2006

UK librarians against DRM

From The Beeb, via Boing Boing:

In written evidence [to the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group, which is conducting an inquiry on digital rights management], the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (Laca) said there were "widespread concerns in the library, archive and information community" about the potentially harmful effects of DRMs.

"We have grave concerns about the potential use of DRMs by rightholders to override existing copyright exceptions," its statement said.

In the long term, the restrictions would not expire when a work went out of copyright, it said, and it may be impossible to trace the rights holders by that time.

"It is probable that no key would still exist to unlock the DRMs," Laca said. "For libraries this is serious.


"As custodians of human memory, a number would keep digital works in perpetuity and may need to be able to transfer them to other formats in order to preserve them and make the content fully accessible and usable once out of copyright."