Copyright Issues and Legislation

Copyright-Related Bills that ALA Supports:

Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act

The Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act would rectify serious problems with the rulemaking process administered by the U.S. Copyright Office under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and correct deficiencies in existing exceptions to that law.

  • H.R.1883Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act of 2015 (Introduced 04/16/2015)

Unlocking Technology Act

The Unlocking Technology Act expands and improves on previous cell phone unlocking legislation signed into law by allowing consumers to permanently unlock all their mobile devices and media in ways that do not infringe current copyrights.

  • H.R.1587Unlocking Technology Act of 2015 (Introduced 03/24/2015)

You Own Devices Act (YODA)

In coalition with the Owners Rights Initiative, ALA strongly supports the You Own Devices Act legislation to foster the social and commercial evolution of the “Internet of Things” by clearly codifying the right of the owner of a device that contains “essential software” intrinsic to its function to freely transfer both the device and the software.

  • H.R.862You Own Devices Act (Introduced 02/11/2015)

Marrakesh Treaty

ALA supports the earliest possible ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s “Marrakesh Treaty” to provide accessible pub­­lished works to an estimated 4 million blind and other “print disabled” people in the U.S. alone (and tens of millions more around the world). Catalyzed by the United States, and adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization in June 2013, the Treaty was signed by the U.S. only after the U.S. delegation assured that it would require no changes in U.S. copyright law.


“Orphan” Copyrighted Works

ALA and its fellow members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) replied at length to the Copyright Office’s June 2015 Report on this long-standing issue and the mass digitization of copyrighted works. Specifically, libraries clarified that – in light of important new fair use and injunction-related jurisprudence since Congress last considered this matter – they do not oppose legislation broadly but do not need or support legislative reform to address their own needs or those of the public. Additionally, ALA opposes the Copyright Office’s proposed pilot program for extended collective licensing for literary works and photographs.


U.S. Copyright Office Modernization and Location

ALA strongly agrees with recent recom­mendations of the Government Accountability Office that the technological infrastructure of the U.S. Copyright Office needs to be comprehensively and rapidly modernized. ALA believes with equal conviction that the Copyright Office need not and should not be removed from within the Library of Congress in order to effectuate such improvements and, in particular, that the Copyright Office should not become a new, independent agency of the federal government.

ALA therefore opposes the CODE Act (H.R.4241), which does little to address significant technology challenges impacting the U.S. Copyright Office.

  • H.R.4241: Copyright Office for the Digital Economy (CODE) Act (Introduced 12/11/2015)