Virginia University Libraries Tell Congress: Needless Copyright Revision Could Threaten Our Mission

The Copyright Office is set to unveil a potentially damaging rewrite of key parts of the Copyright Act despite stiff opposition from libraries themselves. The Library Deans and Directors at five Virginia universities—John Unsworth of the University of Virginia, Carrie Cooper of the College of William and Mary, John Zenelis of George Mason University, John Ulmschneider of Virginia Commonwealth University, and Tyler Walters of Virginia Tech—urged caution in a letter sent this week to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). The letter warns that a Copyright Office proposal could trigger a lengthy, costly, and contentious legislative process not justified by library needs.

The Copyright Act’s library and fair use provisions are working for Virginia libraries, the group said. Needless change and new regulatory burdens, on the other hand, would have a chilling effect on libraries around the Commonwealth and around the country.

The letter also highlights some of the exciting things already taking place at Virginia libraries, including digitization of the WSLS News Film Collection at the UVA Library and the Freedom Now Project at Virginia Commonwealth University. Changes in the law could put these kinds of projects at risk.

The full text of the Libraries’ letter can be found online.

UVA Library Director of Information Policy Brandon Butler provides some additional context for the letter at his personal blog.

For more information, contact Brandon Butler, Director of Information Policy, UVA Library, 434-982-5874

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