Present: Roger Lawson (Chair), Roberta Geier, James Mitchell, Margaret Webster, Pat Lynagh (EB Liaison)
Roger Lawson opened the meeting, and Margaret Webster agreed to serve as recorder.
Roger Lawson began by summarizing and updating committee activities during the preceding year.
1. ARLIS/NA joined the American Association of Museums (AAM), the College Art Association (CAA), and other organizations in supporting the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s defense of First Amendment rights in keeping the exhibition “Sensations” open despite efforts by the Mayor of New York City to withdraw city funding unless certain works in the exhibition were removed from view. The committee prepared a press release for this purpose.
2. The committee wrote a letter of support which was signed by President Wayne for the “Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act” (H.R. 1858) and opposed the alternative “Collections of Information Piracy Act” (H.R. 354). This legislation was shelved by the 105th Congress but it may come up for vote in May 2000. When this happens there may well be an alert for action.
3. Review of the status of the “Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act” (UCITA) continues. This act has passed in Virginia and is pending in Maryland and several other states.
4. Information on the status of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was the final activity update. The committee decided to request that the ARLIS/NA Executive Board submit an official comment opposing the anti-circumvention clause in section 1201(a). James Mitchell drafted a letter for President McKenzie’s signature which was presented at and approved during the post conference executive board meeting.
The committee also discussed strategies for developing grass roots involvement in critical legislative issues by the ARLIS/NA membership. The committee members agreed that it is important to get ARLIS chapters and their members involved with both national and local public policy issues. One approach might be for the committee to draft and post sample letters or templates for individual members to use when writing their legislators about specific issues. The committee also discussed posting information on current key legislative issues in digest form on the ARLIS web site (AWS) with links to the Digital Future Coalition (DFC) web site and legislator contact information. The committee could combine promotional efforts on the chapter level to include both national issues such as H.R. 354/1858 and state issues such as UCITA. Pat Lynagh suggested that regional representatives could help by encouraging chapter participation in this area.
The committee discussed establishing a column in the new electronic Update modeled on Mary Alice Baish’s column, “Washington Brief,” which appears in the American Association of Law Libraries monthly publication, Spectrum. Roger Lawson will get in touch with Ms Baish to see whether or not her column or excerpts from it could be reprinted in Update.
The role and assignment of liaisons to various other organizations was
another topic of conversation. The committee agreed that Roger Lawson will
keep in touch with the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office
and with the Digital Future Coalition (DFC). Roberta Geier will work
with the Special Libraries Association (SLA), and Margaret Webster will
do the same with the Visual Resources Association (VRA). The committee
thinks it important to have member representation and support at upcoming
copyright meetings, but this will probably require special funding. There
was general confusion about the identity of the ARLIS liaison to NINCH–is
this the responsibility of the Technology Committee or the Public Policy