Last Friday, the Internet Archive and several of our library, archive, and museum partners sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) urging him not to make it more difficult and dangerous to be a library.
As we wrote about over the summer, the U.S. Copyright Office is proposing to completely rewrite Section 108, the part of the law that is designed to support traditional library functions such as preservation and inter-library loans. Although the proposal has not been made public yet, we understand from our meeting with them that the Copyright Office wants to redefine who gets to be a library, making it harder for small players and virtual libraries to be protected under the law. The proposal is also likely to be damaging to fair use and may add new, burdensome regulations on libraries who archive the web (among other things).
Thankfully, the Copyright Office does not write the law–that is up to Congress. Our letter explains that now is not the time to scrap the old law, which is working well. The Copyright Office’s proposal is not only unnecessary, but potentially harmful to library efforts to increase access to information. We hope Congress will take the strong objections of the library community seriously when considering the Copyright Office’s proposal to rewrite the law that applies to libraries.