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Copyright & IP Legislation

ARL, with others in the library, higher education and technology communities, actively engage on numerous copyright and IP issues.  Legislation regarding first sale, updating Section 108 of the Copyright Act, orphan works, digital rights management, database, and more are the focus of this activity.


First Sale

The “first-sale doctrine” is the provision in the Copyright Act that allows any purchaser of a legal copy of a book or other copyrighted work to sell or lend that copy. Libraries rely on the doctrine to protect many core activities, including lending books and other materials in their collections.

The first-sale doctrine is codified at Section 109 of the Copyright Act, which says that first-sale rights apply only to copies "lawfully made under this Title," i.e., Title 17 of the US Code, where the copyright law is codified. Recent court cases have raised the question of whether this language should be interpreted to exclude works manufactured abroad, where US law does not apply and hence manufacture could be said not to be "under" Title 17. Others argue that a work's manufacture is "lawful under this Title" if it does not violate US copyright law, regardless of whether the law technically could be enforced.

In the case Supap Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Wiley, a publisher of textbooks and other materials, claims Kirtsaeng infringed its copyrights by re-selling in the US cheaper foreign editions of Wiley textbooks that Kirtsaeng's family lawfully purchased abroad. First sale would ordinarily permit such re-selling, but the works were printed abroad and Wiley is asking the US Supreme Court to interpret Section 109 as applying only to domestically made copies. The Court began oral arguments on October 29, 2012.

In Costco v. Omega, a first-sale case involving the importation of luxury watches with copyrighted logos on them, the Court was deadlocked 4-4, leaving the issue unresolved. Justice Kagan recused herself from the case due to her participation in the litigation when she was Solicitor General. Justice Kagan will participate in the Kirtsaeng case.

Resources on First Sale

First Sale Fast Facts for Libraries (Jan. 18, '13)

ARL Joins New First Sale Coalition: Owners' Rights Initiative (Oct. 23, '12)


Fair Use Legislation 

Each day teachers teach, students learn, researchers advance knowledge, and consumers access copyrighted information due to exemptions in the Copyright Act such as fair use. Fair use permits the use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances. For libraries,  educational institutions, and the public, the Fair Use Doctrine is the most important limitation on the rights of the copyright owner – the "safety valve" of U.S. copyright law.

Fair use, or Section 107 of the Copyright Act, allows reproduction and other uses of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. The statute sets forth four factors to be considered in determining whether a use is fair; including the character of the use, the nature of the work, the amount used in proportion to the whole, and the impact on the market for the work. The four factors provide libraries and users alike with needed flexibility.


Section 108 Study Group

The Section 108 Study Group is examining the exceptions and limitations available to libraries and archives under Section 108 of the Copyright Act and considering changes to better meet the needs of libraries and archives in the digital environment. The study group is sponsored by the Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office and is comprised of librarians, lawyers, and members of the commercial sector. It is expected that the study group will issue a report with recommendations concerning possible changes to Section 108 by early 2007.

ARL Resources

Digital Preservation at Library of Congress


Digital Rights Management 

The educational and library communities are increasingly dependent on works in digital form and are acutely affected by the deployment of technological protection measures (TPMs), also know as digital rights management (DRM).  These technological measures can limit access to or use of copyrighted materials and increasingly are applied to works lawfully acquired by users.


Copyright Legislation

ARL, with others in the library, higher education and technology communities, actively engage on numerous copyright and IP issues. Legislation regarding first sale, updating Section 108 of the Copyright Act, orphan works, digital rights management, database, and more are the focus of this activity.


Major Copyright Statutes 

Intellectual property and copyright law have been and will continue to be central to the library and education communities.  These communities have relied on copyright law as the policy framework for balancing the competing interests of creators, publishers, and users of copyrighted works.  Provisions in the Copyright Actincluding fair use and related exemptions for libraries and educational institutions allow libraries to achieve our mission of providing effective public access to and the preservation of information in all formats.


Library Copyright Alliance

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) is a coalition of major library associations that addresses copyright issues that affect libraries and their patrons. The purpose of the LCA is to work toward a unified voice and common strategy for the library community in responding to and developing proposals to amend national and international copyright law and policy for the digital environment. The LCA's mission is to foster global access and fair use of information for creativity, research, and education. For more information, visit: http://www.librarycopyrightalliance.org/.

 
 
 

Partners

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