Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 (The FAIR USE Act) was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2007. It's goal is to:
To amend title 17, United States Code, to promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes.
The American Library Association and others are encouraging libraries in the U.S. to ask their Congressional representatives to support this Act. In talking about it, the ALA web site says:

The Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship (FAIR USE) Act of 2007, H.R. 1201, was introduced on February 27. The FAIR USE Act is co-sponsored by Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA). Libraries urge other Members of Congress to co-sponsor this important bill that would amend the copyright law.

Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits circumventing a technological protection measure placed on a copyrighted work to prevent access. There are very limited exceptions to the anti-circumvention provision and these exemptions sunset every three years under the current statutory scheme. At the end of 2006, the Librarian of Congress approved six exemptions from the prohibition on circumvention of technological locks. The FAIR USE Act makes these six exemptions permanent for uses that do not infringe copyright, for example, educational uses in a classroom.

Two of these exemptions are particularly important to the library community. During the rulemaking proceeding before the Library of Congress, the library community supported the exemptions for screen readers for the visually impaired and film clip compilations for college media studies classes. The Fair USE Act would ensure that these activities can continue in the future.

Additionally, the FAIR USE Act would extend the determinations of the Librarian of Congress in six narrow circumstances. For example, the Fair Use Act would extend the film clip exemption to all classrooms instead of just college media studies classes. It would allow access to public domain works, as well as works of substantial public interest.

The bill also would permit a library to circumvent technological protections for the purpose of preservation of works in a library's collection. Preservation is a critical function as libraries preserve our Nation's cultural and scientific heritage.

In addition to the provisions aimed at expressly helping libraries, the FAIR USE Act would codify the U.S. Supreme Court's 1984 ruling that a copying technology (in that case, the videocassette recorder) is permissible under the Copyright Act so long as the technology can be used for non-infringing as well as infringing purposes. The bill also would limit the availability of statutory damages against individuals and firms who may be found to have engaged in contributory infringement, inducement of infringement, vicarious liability or other indirect infringement.

For the full text of the FAIR USE Act, please follow the link below:

* FAIR USE Act of 2007 (PDF)

If you are not familiar with this Act, please consider reading more about it....and even talk to you representative about his/her thoughts about this Act.

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