For immediate release | February 20, 2020

ALA Calls for 2020 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award Nominations

The American Library Association (ALA) announced today the nomination period opened for the L. Ray Patterson Award. Established in 2002, the honor recognizes individuals or groups who “embody the spirit of the U.S. Copyright law as voiced by the framers of our Constitution: ‘to advance the knowledge of science and useful arts” (U.S. Constitution, art 1, sec 8). Nominations will be accepted through April 1, 2020.

The award is named after L. Ray Patterson, a key legal figure who explained and justified the importance of the public domain and fair use. He helped articulate that copyright law was negatively shifting from its original purpose and overly favoring rights of copyright holders. His book, The Nature of Copyright: A Law of Users’ Rights, is the definitive book on the constitutional underpinnings of copyright and the critical importance of the public domain.

Appropriate nominees for the Patterson Award are persons or groups who have made significant and consistent contributions in the areas of academia, law, politics, public policy, libraries or library education to the pursuit of copyright principles.

Nomination letters should include illustrative examples of how the nominee has contributed to the pursuit of the fundamental tenets of copyright law. Nominees who have worked or collaborated with libraries will be given special consideration.

Send letters of nomination outlining a candidate’s qualifications for this award to

Carrie Russell, Director, Program on Public Access to Information, by email at, or by post to

ALA Office for Public Policy and Advocacy

1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, First Floor

Washington, DC 20009

For more information, visit


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy