As some of you may know, copyright legislation is being actively considered in the U.S. Senate which would be very harmful to archives and scholars. The latest estimate is that it will be voted out of the Judiciary Committee in about one week.
However there has been considerable pushback against the portion of the Music Modernization Act (S.2823) called the "CLASSICS Act," which would give pre-1972 recording rights holders a windfall in the form of streaming royalties and even longer copyright terms, with no corresponding benefit for the public. Once they get the money, so to speak, there will be no reason for rights holders to compromise and allow provisions for preservation and access by archives, or establishment of a public domain for very old records (there currently is none in the U.S.).
Senator Wyden of Oregon has introduced a competing bill called the ACCESS Act (S.2933) which would grant rights holders royalties AND meet the needs of archives and scholars, including establishment of a public domain for recordings made more than 95 years ago. But rights holders are fighting hard to defeat it. They want everything, with no compromises.
Equal Citizens, an organization founded by noted copyright attorney Lawrence Lessig, and the online library Archive.org, have started a petition to urge senators to support ACCESS. Please consider signing it. Here is the link:
If you want to know more about these bills there are explanations online and on the Association for Recorded Sound Collections site, at
Thanks to those ARSC members who have contacted their senator about these bills. It means a lot for them to hear from the public.