Recommended Amendments to the Copyright Act for Libraries

Last Friday, Marquette Law Library hosted a very interesting presentation on “Amending the Copyright Act for Libraries” by Laura Gasaway (UNC Chapel Hill School of Law).
Ms. Gasaway shared her experiences as co-chair of The Section 108 Study Group,* the independent committee (comprised of both librarians and publishers) charged with updating the Copyright Act for the digital era. It’s no surprise that balancing the rights of creators and copyright owners and the needs of libraries and archives proved to be particularly challenging.
Ultimately, the group recommended a series of legislative changes in the following areas:

  • Eligibility
    • Museum Eligibility Under Section 108
    • Additional Eligibility Requirements
    • Outsourcing of Section 108 Activities
  • Preservation and Replacement Exceptions
    • Replacement Copying
    • Preservation of Unpublished Works
    • Preservation of Publicly Disseminated Works
    • Preservation of Publicly Available Online Content
    • Television News Exception
  • Miscellaneous Issues
    • Unsupervised Reproducing Equipment
    • Reorganization of the Section 108 Exceptions

For more information on these recommendations, see the Executive Summary and full report of the Section 108 Study Group.
For a summary of the Study Group’s recommendations, see Library Journal and Information Week.
* Section 108 refers to the section of the Copyright Act of 1976 which provides libraries and archives with specific exceptions to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. The act was enacted in the pre-digital era when works were created and distributed primarily in analog format.