December 05, 2004

How did library issues fare under the last Congress? What's in our future? Remarks by Mary Alice Baish, AALL

On Janurary 4th, 2005, the new Congress, the 109th, will convene. Here's a look back  at how library issues fared under the 108th Congress.

Recently, I (Raizel) attended the Chicago Association of Law Libraries November meeting and advocacy training. The speaker was Mary Alice Baish, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Associate Washington Affairs Representative, talking on "The 108th Congress Draws to an End: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." She has generously allowed me to post her talk, allowing a better understanding of the goals of AALL and the inner workings of Congress.  A pdf copy is at AALL.

"... So I’d like to give you an overview of our core issues during the past two years—from the perspective of what was good, what was bad, and what was really ugly. I’m going to cover them under four broad categories:

  • First, appropriations.
  • Second, copyright and digital rights management.
  • Third, the USA Patriot Act. 
  • And fourth, access to government information. "

Continue reading "How did library issues fare under the last Congress? What's in our future? Remarks by Mary Alice Baish, AALL" »

September 28, 2004

Action on INDUCE Act this Week?

According to recent news reports, the Senate is expected to take action on the INDUCE Act on Thursday.

Many are concerned not only with the present text of the INDUCE ACT, but the expected replacement text, which has not been released. The present text would would make Internet service providers and other liable if their software or technology "induces" users to violate copyright laws.

Several groups, including ALA, are asking people to call their Senators in opposition to the bill.

More on the INDUCE Act.

August 31, 2004

Don't Induce Act would take library headaches away

Don't Induce Act would take library headaches away... at least those that would be created by the INDUCE Act. Don't Induce's language was proposed August 24 to Senate leaders by consumer electronics, library groups and others. The bill's language aims at the real bad guys, not the libraries and others who are trying to help people while following the law.

Draft bill:

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August 16, 2004

Librarians as copyright police

Yesterday we added a thought to the Aug 11th Inducing Unintended Consequences for Libraries posting by Newton Minow and Mary Minow:

Even if the law were to clarify that a library had no responsibility to audit patron use, a question still remains if a library discovers a patron downloading copyrighted material. Should the librarian question the patron? Report the patron to the copyright owner? Will patrons continue to frequent the library if librarians turn into copyright police?

For musings on the mercurial nature of blog entries and the ease that we blog writers have in changing older entries, see post directly below.

August 11, 2004

Inducing Unintended Consequences for Libraries

By Newton Minow and Mary Minow

This is the first time I've written a blog entry, but my daughter asked me to relay my experience as the lawyer for the American Library Association during the Sony Betamax case. I told Mary I would do it if she would collaborate and do most of the work.

On a visit to Japan, Mr. Akio Morita, a founder of Sony, showed me an early version of the Betamax. Later, when the Betamax case came up, I thought it would be a good idea to show that much more was at stake than the pocketbooks of the video recorder manufacturers and distributors.

I suggested that the American Library Association weigh in. Bob Wedgeworth, Executive Director of ALA agreed. Mary Hutchings and I wrote an amicus curiae brief urging reversal of the Ninth Circuit decision.

Continue reading "Inducing Unintended Consequences for Libraries" »

July 27, 2004

New Article on the Induce Act

Siva Vaidhyanathan recently wrote an article for Slate on the INDUCE Act, which allow civil penalties to those who would "intentionally aid, abet, induce or procure" a copyright violation by a another.

He makes a strong argument that while the sponsors of the bill state they will not go after "neutral technology" such as personal computers and photocopiers -- this distinction is meaningless.

Here's the problem: No technology is neutral.

The idea of technological neutrality is most succinctly expressed by the slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." The slogan may be simplistic, but the theory is pretty powerful. It influences many of our debates about technology and policy, from guns to automobiles to encryption....

Technologies reflect ideologies. They reflect the values embedded in them. They alter the environment in which they operate. They enable people to imagine using them in particular ways. There is nothing deterministic about technologies. A gun in the first act need not go off in the third.

July 24, 2004

INDUCE Act commentary by Ross Housewright, ALA intern

American Library Association Washington Office, Office for Information Technology Policy (what a mouthful!) intern Ross Housewright offers an entertaining and frightening personal commentary on the INDUCE hearing held July 22d by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's now renamed IICA, but I bet everyone will still call it the INDUCE Act. I'm thinking that was a real blunder of a name, instilling fear [rightfully so, by the way] in anyone who may induce copyright infringement by others ... like libraries ...

Ed Felton links to the testimony and video of the hearing in his July 23 posting.

For Ernie Miller's Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act, and more, see LawMeme.

Update: new INDUCE Act blawg at Tech Law Advisor