Group urges copyright law changes.
The Library of Congress convened the group under the auspices of the U.S. Copyright Office and the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. Section 108 is the section of the Copyright Act that provides limited exceptions for libraries and archives so they can make copies to replace copyrighted works in their collections when necessary, preserve them for the long term, and make them available to users.
Digital technologies have transformed how copyrighted works are created and disseminated, as well as how libraries and archives preserve and make those works available, according to the group's report. The Library of Congress said cultural heritage institutions have begun to acquire large quantities of "born digital" works (those created in digital form) and to digitize analog works already in their collections to ensure their continuing availability to future generations.
Section 108 of the Copyright Act in its current form does not adequately address many of the issues unique to digital media, either from the perspective of rights owners or that of libraries and archives. The report will serve as the basis on which legislation may be drafted and recommended to Congress. The recommendations represent the view of the independent study group's 19 members--who come from the library, scholarly, publishing, and entertainment communities in the public and private sectors--rather than the organizations by which they are employed.
Among the group's recommendations:
* Museums should be included for Section 108 eligibility, as they perform many of the same functions as libraries and archives.
* A new exception should be added to Section 108 to permit certain qualified libraries and archives to make preservation copies of at-risk published works prior to any damage or loss.
* A new exception should be added to Section 108 to permit libraries and archives to capture and reproduce publicly available websites and other online content for preservation purposes and to make those copies accessible to users for private study, research, or scholarship. Rights holders could opt out of this provision.
* Libraries and archives should be permitted to make a limited number of copies to create and maintain a single replacement or preservation copy. This alteration to the current three-copy limit would, among other things, enable libraries to securely preserve digital materials.
The Library of Congress itself is struggling with the sheer amount of digital information. So much so that it has had to create an entirely new preservation strategy.
The library currently has more 500 terabytes (500,000 gigabytes) of digital data stored within its infrastructure, split across three data centers and a plethora of different storage technologies.