Help the Copyright Office Understand How to Address Mass Digitization

“How to provide full text access to copyrighted works?” is one of the most difficult copyright questions facing digital libraries. Just asking permission isn’t so easy, given that copyright owners often cannot be identified, much less located. In June, the U.S. Copyright Office announced a questionable proposal to try to slice through the complexity of clearing rights, with the goal of facilitating full-text access to copyrighted works for nonprofit and educational uses. The Copyright Office is currently soliciting comments on its proposal.

As the new CEO of LYRASIS I am recommending that all of our 4,000+ members (www.lyrasis.org), join Dave Hansen, a member of DPLA’s legal committee, and Lila Bailey, counsel for Internet Archive, who have put together some materials that our members can use to help the Office understand your collections and what you do to make them available. Your comments matter because they can help the Copyright Office better understand what “mass digitization” looks like today, why its proposal-a licensing scheme that’s likely to be burdensome and expensive-won’t work, and why other options such as supporting fair use are better. Linked here is a form and a letter that it will auto-fill that you can use, and modify as you wish, to submit to the Copyright Office. Comments are due to the Office by October 9, 2015.

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