Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

ALA Washington Office hosts copyright event “Too Good to be True”

On November 18, 2014, ALA held a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., on recent judicial interpretations of the doctrine of fair use. The discussion, entitled “Too Good to be True: Are the Courts Revolutionizing Fair Use for Education, Research and Libraries?” is the first in a series of information policy discussions to help us chart the way forward as the ongoing digital revolution fundamentally changes the way we access, process, and disseminate information. Event panelists—ALA Legislative Counsel Jonathan Band; American University Practitioner-in-Practice Brandon Butler; and Authors Guild Executive Director Mary Rasenberger—engaged in a lively discussion that highlighted some points of agreement and disagreement between librarians and authors. The copyright event is part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s broader Policy Revolution! initiative—an ongoing effort to establish and maintain a national public policy agenda that will amplify the voice of the library community in the policymaking process and position libraries to best serve their patrons in the years ahead.

ALA welcomes President Obama’s strong affirmation of net neutrality

In November, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to network neutrality principles and to the strongest rules to protect the open Internet. ALA welcomed his statement and outline of principles that echo those of public comments filed by ALA and a coalition of library and higher education organizations this year.

USA Freedom Act defeated in Senate

In November, ALA’s Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff released a statement on the U.S. Senate’s failure to bring the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that would have improved the balance between terrorism prevention and personal privacy protection, to the Senate floor for debate and an eventual up or down vote. The bill, which was backed by major civil liberties organizations, the White House, leading conservatives, and even the Director of National Intelligence, was denied consideration in the U.S. Senate by just two votes.

ALA welcomes Simon & Schuster change to Buy it Now program

ALA and its Digital Content Working Group welcomed Simon & Schuster’s November announcement that it will allow libraries to opt into the “Buy It Now” program. The publisher began offering all of its ebook titles for library lending nationwide in June 2014, with required participation in the “Buy It Now” merchandising program, which enables library users to directly purchase a title rather than check it out from the library. Simon & Schuster ebooks are available for lending for one year from the date of purchase.

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