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Comments of the Library Associations on Section 104 of the DMCA

The Libraries believe there are unsettling trends undermining the Constitutional and legislative balance between incentives to create works and the public access to ideas and content that require federal review and action. Consumers obtaining digital works are routinely required to assent to contract terms that require waiver of long-standing limitations on the exclusive copyright rights, including the first sale doctrine, fair use and preservation. While copyright policy supports a digital first sale doctrine, the current state of the law post-DMCA permits diminished use of the doctrine, impeding the free flow of information and libraries’ ability to provide public access to digital works. The Copyright Office should use this inquiry as the platform from which to urge Congress to take meaningful steps to clarify the terms of a digital first sale doctrine to ensure that state laws and contractual terms that unduly restrict the rights of information users do not preempt federal copyright policy.


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