Fair Use In Cyberspace
Source D. Ohmans
Date 99/05/01/21:51

/* Written 2:32 PM Jun 17, 1998 by in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- "Fair Use In Cyberspace" ---------- */
---------- Forwarded message ----------

FYI, House bills of interest to librarians under consideration.

The House Telecommunications Subcommittee is expected to
meet on or about June 17 to consider changes to H.R. 2281 to protect
"fair use," will fully apply in cyberspace and H.R. 3048, The Digital
Era Copyright Enhancement Act-- the library-friendly "Boucher/Campbell"
bill previously endorsed by ALA.

On Friday, June 5 the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on
Telecommunications -- chaired by Rep. Billy Tauzin -- met to
consider H.R. 2281, particularly its impact on fair use and the
many educational and commercial activities now legal that would
be criminalized by the bill. Testifying on behalf of the AALL, ALA,
MLA and SLA, Prof.Robert Oakley, library director of the Georgetown
University Law Center, emphasized that:

"H.R. 2281, as drafted, would grant copyright owners a
new and unrestricted exclusive right to control access
to information in digital works which could negate one
of the most basic principles that has made the U.S. so
clearly a leader in intellectual creativity,
innovation, and commerce -- the ability to gain access
to information in published or publicly available
works. . . . By access I mean the right to read and,
even more simply, the right to browse published works.
Taken another step, it means the right to use works in
ways currently allowed by exemptions and limitations in
copyright -- expressly crafted by Congress -- to permit
fair use, use for library preservation, and use in
classroom teaching."

This central theme also was underscored by several other
witnesses. Prof. Oakley and others strongly urged the
Subcommittee to make the changes in H.R. 2281 necessary to
conform its actual language to the intent of its drafters.

Specifically, they supported proposed amendments by H.R. 3048
co-author Rep. Rick Boucher to make the "circumvention" of a digital
wrapper to gain "access" to copyrighted material an offense only
when such access results in "copyright infringemen,t" not when
undertaken to make fair use (or other legal use) of that

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