Submitted February 3, 2004, by:
D. Vanessa Kam, Co-Chair
James Mitchell, Co-Chair
(212) 265-1040 x110
Roberta Geier; Vanessa Kam; Roger Lawson, National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) and Digital Future Coalition (DFC) liaison; Cara List; James Mitchell (Co-Chair); Barbara Rockenbach (Co-Chair); Timothy Shipe; Rina Vecchiola; Tony White; Cindy Wolff.
Executive Board Liaison: Laura Schwartz
Annual business meeting was held at the national conference in Baltimore, MD, on Friday, March 21, 2003.
The committee sponsored a point/counterpoint session, “The Digital Millenium Copyright and Copyright Term Extension Acts,” on Monday, March 24, 2003, 10:00–11:30 a.m.; moderator, Barbara Rockenbach; recorder, Tony White; organized by Roger Lawson.
Following the initial reports of
looting at the Iraq National Museum and the burning of the National Library, the
Public Policy Committee drafted a resolution (primarily written by ARLIS/NA
Public Policy Committee member Timothy Shipe) on the impact of the U.S.-led war
on Iraq. The committee submitted
the resolution to the ARLIS/NA executive board, and the resolution was
subsequently approved by the board on April 24, 2003.
The resolution is posted on the Public Policy Web Site at http://www.arlisna.org/resolution.htm.
At the recommendation of the Public Policy Committee, ARLIS/NA also signed on to two other documents: a letter prepared by the United States Committee/International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) addressed to President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on April 16; and a letter sent to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on April 30, prepared by the American Association of Museums (AAM), calling for funds to protect and restore Iraqi cultural heritage. In doing so, ARLIS/NA joined with twenty-nine other organizations as signatories to a letter sent to Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator of USAID, asking that the recent destruction of Iraqi cultural property be given high priority alongside other aspects of the US government's recovery and reconstruction efforts.The text of these letters can be found at http://www.archaeological.org/pdfs/home/USICOMOSletteronIraq.pdf and http://www.aam-us.org/files/aidletter.cfm, respectively.
ARLIS/NA Public Policy member D. Vanessa Kam wrote the article, “Cultural Calamities: Damage to Iraq’s Museums, Libraries, and Archaeological Sites During the U.S.-Led War on Iraq.” It will be published in Art Documentation in the Spring of 2004.
Liaison Roger Lawson continued to monitor NINCH list and forward relevant items to Committee members and ARLIS-L.
Public Policy Committee members monitored the following listservs, forwarding relevant information to other committee members as well as to the ARLIS/NA listserv when appropriate:
Roger Lawson monitored the DFC and Digital Copyright Digest listservs.
James Mitchell monitored ACRL Scholarly Communication listserv.
Vanessa Kam monitored the Progressive Librarian’s Guild and the American Library Association Washington Office Newsline (ALAWON) listservs.
Cynthia Wolff monitored the SPARC Open Access
Although action on this issue has not been significant, the committee maintained its membership in Affect, a consortium of organizations, coordinated by the Digital Future Coalition, who are opposed to implementation of UCITA.
Public Policy Web Site
Various news items were added to
the Public Policy Web site. For example, an entirely new section on the war on
Iraq, complete with reports from many cultural sectors was added to the Public
Policy home page. Visitors will
also find a link to information about the proposed USA PATRIOT Act II, and the
Proposed Senate Bill S. 1158, The Library and Bookseller Protection Act, which
aims to restore previous legal requirements for issuing warrants and court
orders for library records. The
copyright section of the web site contains a new set of links regarding issues
in scholarly communication.
Updates and New Items to Watch
The ARLIS/NA Public Policy
Committee has identified the following legislative items as relevant to our
members and their constituents. It
is the committee’s intention to closely monitor these items for their effects
on the art library community, to communicate with the membership as they
develop, and recommend appropriate action to the Executive Board as needed.
The Children’s Internet
Protection Act (CIPA), despite being ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge
federal panel in Pennsylvania who feared it would place libraries at risk of
violating the First Amendment, was upheld by the Supreme Court in June of 2003.
The Supreme Court’s decision states that public libraries can be forced
to use anti-pornography filters for public terminals with access to the
Internet. The American Library
Association and civil liberties groups were disappointed by the Court’s
decision, as they consider the use of filters as an act of censorship.
The USA PATRIOT Act II, titled
the Justice Enhancement and Domestic Security Act of 2003 (S.22.IS), introduced
in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Judiciary in January of 2003,
contains a multitude of new and sweeping law enforcement and intelligence
gathering powers, which, from the perspective of many in the library community,
would severely dilute and undermine many basic constitutional rights.
In opposition, the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act (H.R. 3171.IH),
introduced in the House of Representatives in the Fall of 2003, aims to provide
for an appropriate review of recently enacted legislation relating to terrorism
to assure that powers granted in it do not inappropriately undermine civil
liberties. The Public Policy
Committee will investigate these two pieces of pending legislation, along with
the Library and Bookseller Protection Act (see above) and will propose a
response, perhaps in the form of an anti-USA PATRIOT Act resolution to be
submitted to the Executive Board for their consideration.
The Database and Collections of
Information Misappropriation Act (DCIM)(H.R. 3261.IH).
On January 21, 2004, the House Judiciary committee approved the Database
and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act, a bill that would give more
copyright protections to databases, which is opposed by search engine companies
Google and Yahoo, as well as libraries. Bill supporters, including Reed
Elsevier's LexisNexis and Thompson, say that such protection is necessary to
stop rivals from copying information from proprietary databases.
Committee Member Attendance at Other Relevant Meetings
Public Policy Committee member
Cynthia Wolff attended the Creativity and the Public Domain Forum that took
place on May 5, 2003 at the New York City Bar Association.
diverse panel at the forum provided fodder for much debate on the issue of
intellectual property, identifying issues as they relate to the creator, the
copyright owner, people who wish to use copyrighted material for other creative endeavors, and people who wish to
access copyrighted material in general.
ARLIS/NA 2002-2005 Strategic Plan Action Items:
1. Establish guidelines for kind and quantity of involvement in political action and lobbying allowable under IRS 501 tax status. (III D)
In her April 2003 report to the Public Policy Committee following the annual conference in Baltimore, Executive Board liaison Laura Schwartz noted ALA has clearly established guidelines (which can be found at http://www.mjfreedman.org/taxexemptstatus.pdf) and that it was recommended that ARLIS/NA adopt these guidelines. The Public Policy Committee has reviewed these guidelines and will further discuss them at the Public Policy Committee business meeting in New York with the aim of submitting a formal proposal to the Executive Board, for their consideration.
2. Identify other agencies and associations with shared interests in legislative/policy matters; link with groups, as appropriate, to co-author and/or co-sign position statements; provide descriptive annotations on other groups’ committees, working groups, etc. (III D)
Links are provided on the Committee's website; listservs are monitored, and relevant announcements are forwarded to ARLIS-L. In 2002, discussions were opened with the Progressive Librarians' Guild; Vanessa Kam began preparations to start an affiliate group informally within ARLIS/NA, to be known as the Progressive Art Librarian's Network (PrALiNe). The first meeting was held at the national conference in Baltimore, on Monday, March 25, 3:00–4:00 p.m. In addition, the Public Policy Committee coordinated with various organizations (see above) in supporting statements on the cultural implications of the war in Iraq.
3. Create, disseminate, and update regularly a list of legislative topics and issues of a particular concern to arts and image professionals; draft position statements consistent with ARLIS/NA interests; publicize endorsed statements or other documents describing the Society’s position on legal issues and legislation via the ARLIS/NA Web Site and Society publications. (III D)
Announcements were posted on ARLIS-L and the Committee's website. In addition, urgent advocacy items were forwarded from ALAWON to the ARLIS/NA listserv.
On June 25, 2003, ARLIS/NA President Allen Townsend sent a letter (drafted by ARLIS/NA Public Policy Committee member Roger Lawson) to Fritz Schramma, Oberbürgmeister der Stadt Köln, expressing the Society's concern over the proposed closure of the Kunst- und Museumsbibliothek Köln.
See above for Committee's actions regarding the war in Iraq, and articles
published in ARLIS/NA’s Update and Art Documentation.
4. Assign individual committee members to monitor specific web sites and listservs and report activities to membership via the ARLIS/NA Web Site and ARLIS-L; refer items requiring action/responses to Executive Board. (III D)
See above. Ongoing.
5. Create a "recommended reading" list on topics such as intellectual property, telecommunications, censorship and make available via the ARLIS/NA Web Site. (III D)
6. Create communication links and define responsibilities shared among Public Policy Committee, Diversity Committee (once reconstituted as a standing committee), Collection Development Committee, and ARLIS/NA Chapters to identify issues and topics with legislative agendas. (III D)
The committee will continue to review our liaison relationships and formal affiliations such as the Progressive Librarian’s Guild (PLG), the American Library Association, NINCH, and Affect. It is hoped that we will identify concrete steps that we can take in the coming year to build on relationships in ways that produce valuable analyses of public policy issues of interest to ARLIS/NA members.