Libraries Society of North America 31st Annual Conference
Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland - March 20-26, 2003
Policy Committee Meeting
Submitted by James
Mitchell and Vanessa Kam.
Members for 2003:
Roberta Geier; Roger Lawson (NINCH and DFC liaison); Cara List; Barbara Rockenbach; Tim Shipe; Rina Vecchiola; Tony White; Cynthia Wolff.
Co-Chairs: Vanessa Kam; James Mitchell.
Liaison: Laura Schwartz.
Roberta Geier; Vanessa Kam; Roger Lawson; Cara List; James Mitchell; Barbara Rockenbach; Laura Schwartz; Tony White; Cindy Wolff.
(Recorder: Barbara Rockenbach.)
Introduction of new
members, co-chairs, and Board liaison; recognition of outgoing members (not
present) Jonathan Franklin and Maryly Snow.
of 2002, by outgoing co-chair Barbara Rockenbach.
annual report, submitted to Executive Board on February 3, 2003. (http://www.arlisna.org/arlismembers/2002pubpol.htm)
(Progressive Art Librarians' Network)
Vanessa organized the
first meeting of this affiliate of the Progressive Librarians' Guild at this
year’s annual conference, to be held on Monday, March 25, 3:00–4:00 p.m. The
aims and actions are not yet defined but Vanessa will give the membership an
update sometime after the conference.
Review of Legislation and Issues
To better coordinate
the Committee's investigation of the policy issues identified as priorities,
members agreed to accept individual assignments. This will involve taking the
lead on researching those issues, monitoring specific listservs, preparing
statements for Executive Board approval, and reports for communication with the
ARLIS/NA membership (on arlis-l or published in Update,
have not heard any major news recently, and the Affect website (an affiliate of
the DFC, of which we have been a member) has not been updated in about two
years. It was decided that the Public Policy Committee will not work on this
issue actively unless we hear of significant new developments.
Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA)
A number of bills
have been introduced in Congress to ameliorate provisions of the law that had
raised objections from library groups. Roberta Geier will research these
further, in particular following up on a press release issue by ARL last Fall.
Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA): introduced as HR 107 in January 2003 by Rep. Rick
Boucher; had also been introduced in the previous session (107th
Congress); would help to restore the historical balance in US copyright law
between rights of copyright owners and users. Fair use is addressed, as are
infringement and circumvention. The Committee agreed that we should support
individual and Society support of this bill.
without Limiting Advancement or Net Consumer Expectations (BALANCE) Act:
introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren in the previous Congress as the Digital Choice
and Freedom Act; would amend DMCA anti-circumvention provisions to ensure that
consumers could time-shift and space-shift digital content.
Internet Protection Act of 2000
This law required the
use of filtering software to restrict access to the Internet at libraries
receiving federal funding. A constitutional challenge has been raised by ALA;
arguments were heard in the Supreme Court (US v. ALA, 02-361) in March of this
year, and a decision is expected sometime this summer. Information on this will
form part of the expanded censorship section of the Committee's website. Cara
List will investigate this.
Vanessa reported on
the ARL teleconference "Safeguarding our Patrons' Privacy" that she
attended on December 11, 2002. Lawyers and librarians spoke about how to respond
if approached by the FBI. The importance of establishing policies and
procedures, and communicating them clearly to staff and students, was stressed.
The University of Illinois may be conducting a survey on how many libraries have
been approached by the FBI.
Information has also
been recently released about the Justice Department's plans for "USAPA
2," which would propose new legislation to expand their domestic
surveillance powers even further.
The Freedom to Read
Protection Act (HR 1157) was introduced in March 2003 by Rep. Bernie Sanders. It
would amend USAPA to restore the previous warrant requirements for access to
library records. Vanessa Kam will take the lead on investigating these
developments, which will form the basis for a new privacy section of the
Committee's website. She may contact the ACLU as part of her research.
Trade Area of the Americas Agreement
Draft treaty language
was distributed in early January of this year which included stringent IP
provisions, including those regarding length of copyright term and the
enforcement of technological protection measures (as in the DMCA). The status of
these treaty negotiations is unclear to us, but we hope to increase our
monitoring of events on the diplomatic level, including researching the effects
of globalization and the international political economy of intellectual
James will lead this
effort for the Committee. Tony will also attempt to follow this issue by
subscribing to the IFLA copyright listserv.
Several lower priority issues that were also discussed briefly at the meeting included:
the Restore Freedom
of Information Act (S. 609), introduced March 12 regarding exemptions made by
Homeland Security to the Freedom of Information Act; database legislation, which
had been a contentious issue in the previous two Congresses, but seems not to be
active now; and the "Eldred Act," a potentially significant
development from Lawrence Lessig's idea of a "copyright tax" as a way
to limit the term of protection, but which seems not to be an actual bill yet.
In anticipation of
the upcoming Diversity Forum, being held later at the conference, we discussed
possible public policy issues. Recent governmental action (i.e., the University
of Michigan case) has been concerned with academic admissions policies rather
than employment practices (or any other library issues).
Vanessa Kam volunteered to lead the Committee's investigation of these issues, to the degree that it seems relevant to the broader Society debate on diversity.
2002-2005 Strategic Plan Action Items:
guidelines for kind and quantity of involvement in political action and lobbying
allowable under IRS 501 tax status. (III D)
discussed checking with ALA, who may have established a separate lobbying arm,
for appropriate guidelines. Laura Schwartz did so after the conference, and
found published guidelines that help to clarify things.
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)
In addition to
existing affiliations, we will look into closer contacts with IFLA and the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). James will forward information to the
other Committee members about ARL's new SCHOLCOM listserv.
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)
Previously, most of
the Committee's communication with the ARLIS/NA membership has been via arlis-l.
This year, we will attempt to regularly publish a series of short
"legislative updates" on single issues in ARLIS/NA
Update, starting with Cara on CIPA. Co-chairs
James Mitchell and Vanessa Kam will serve as "column editors."
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)
As noted above, we have formalized assignments by issues and topical areas. To summarize:
USAPA and privacy; diversity
Cara: CIPA and censorship
James: international developments
Cindy and Cara: scholarly publishing
5. Create a
"recommended reading" list on topics such as intellectual property,
telecommunications, censorship and make available via the ARLIS/NA Web Site.
In progress on
communication links and define responsibilities shared among Public Policy
Committee, Diversity Committee, Collection Development Committee, and ARLIS/NA
Chapters to identify issues and topics with legislative agendas. (III D)
We are in regular contact with other committee's, liaisons, and chapters, as needed.
Roger gave a quick
NINCH update, including the imminent elimination of their Executive Director
position (David Green) for budgetary reasons. All programs for the year are
expected to continue as planned. The organization is looking for an
We decided not to
renew our membership due to their recent inactivity.
We talked about
sponsoring a session on electronic publishing, including speakers from JSTOR,
SPARC, HiWire Press, STM publishers, etc. Cara and Cindy agreed to look into
The War in Iraq
Combat was just beginning at the time of the conference. Vanessa brought up the recent CAA statement of concern about the effect of the war on Iraq's cultural property and on domestic civil liberties. Ed Teague had requested that the Committee propose to the Executive Board that ARLIS/NA adopt this statement as well. This was subsequently done by Vanessa at the Membership Meeting, and it was accepted by President Allen Townsend, to be discussed by the Board at their post-conference meeting.