The latest ARL Advocacy and Public Policy Update (covering the period from October 1 to December 22) is now available. Previous Advocacy and Policy Updates can be found here.
From the current update’s summary:
Copyright continues to be an active area with a number of developments since October. The House Judiciary Committee continues to move forward with its copyright review and is close to completing its schedule of meetings between House Judiciary majority and minority staffers and witnesses who testified at hearings during the course of the review. In early 2016, members of the House Judiciary Committee will determine what issues they may want to work on with respect to possible reform. Additionally, Representatives Marino, Chu and Comstock introduced their bill on Copyright Office modernization, which would move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress and establish it as an independent agency within the legislative branch. On October 16, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released its long awaited opinion in Authors Guild v. Google, strongly affirming fair use. Also in October, the Library of Congress released its final rules for the current cycle of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) Section 1201 rulemaking. Finally, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) filed comments responding to the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry regarding a proposed pilot program for mass digitization and extended collective licensing. These comments questioned the wisdom of such a pilot program.
The US Congress passed the omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2016 and avoided a government shutdown. The omnibus exceeded mandatory caps on discretionary funding, resulting in positive results for higher education and libraries.
The Department of Education issued a proposal to amend regulations and require that all Department grantees awarded direct competitive grant funds openly license all copyrightable intellectual property created with these funds. ARL submitted comments supporting the benefits of open licensing and encouraging continued dialog.
ARL joined in comments on the proposed revision to OMB Circular A-130, the Circular that provides the rules of the road for federal information management and information technology.
The DC Circuit heard oral arguments on net neutrality in December. Although threats regarding a rider to undermine the FCC’s ability enforce its net neutrality rules emerged during the omnibus appropriations process, this rider was ultimately not included.
Congress continues to consider reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and there is widespread support in the House for such reform. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 was altered in ways that raise greater privacy concerns than its original version and was passed in the omnibus appropriations bill.
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Fisher II), a case involving the University of Texas (UT) admissions process, which seeks to improve student body diversity.
Finally on the international front, more countries have ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, moving the Treaty closer to entry into force. The negotiations of the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) have now been finalized and the texts are now public, but the agreement must still be signed and passed by each of the negotiating parties.