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From: Julia Blixrud <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: ARL Announces..New Digital Copyright Ruling Poses New Barriers for
 Library Users and the
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ARL Announces . . .

October 27, 2000

Contact: Miriam Nisbet

New Digital Copyright Ruling Poses New Barriers for Library Users and
American Public

Today, the Nation's leading library associations expressed serious
disappointment over the ruling issued to implement the Digital
Copyright Act (DMCA).  The ruling, issued by the Librarian of
Congress, based on
the recommendation of the Copyright Office, will restrict access to
by the public.

The American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library
Association, the
Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association,
and the
Special Libraries Association -- representing well over 80,000
librarians and
institutions throughout the United States -- have worked hard to
ensure that the
long-standing principle of "fair use" continues into the digital age.

Section 1201(a)(1) of the DMCA was drafted to permit exemptions from
prohibition on circumvention of technological protection measures for
who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of
works, if
such persons are, or are likely to be... adversely affected." The
Office, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Commerce,
were charged
with reviewing and issuing the ruling.

Undertaking the rulemaking was a difficult task for the Library of
Congress and
the Copyright Office as the law is complex.  Nevertheless, the
Libraries believe
that the record established over the last year, clearly supported the
need for a
broad exemption. Indeed, the National Telecommunications and
Administration of the Department of Commerce, called for a broad
exemption.  The
Assistant Secretary for Commerce, Gregory Rohde, noted that
"information crucial
to supporting scholarship, research, comment, criticism, new
reporting, life
long learning, and other related lawful uses of copyrighted
information should
never become available only to those with the ability to pay."  He
called for
exemptions "grounded in the principle of fair use" that would allow
the public
to fully realize their access to lawfully acquired information.

In issuing the rulemaking, the Librarian of Congress noted several
concerns and
stated his intent to call upon Congress to reconsider selected aspects
of the
copyright legislation.  In particular, he noted the "potential damage
scholarship" and possible harm to "American creativity"  resulting
provisions in the statute.

It is anticipated that Congress will need to focus yet again on these
important issues that determine how the American public can access
and at what costs.  The library community urges Congress to address
serious concerns early in the next session of Congress.

The full recommendation of the Register of Copyrights and
determination of the
Librarian of Congress can be found at:


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Julia C. Blixrud <[log in to unmask]>
 Director of Information Services, ARL <>
 Assistant Director, Public Programs, SPARC <>
  21 Dupont Circle, Washington DC 20036
   Tel: (202) 296-2296 ext.133  Fax: (202) 872-0884  Cell: (202)