Money & Business

Tech, Trade, and Library Groups Form Copyright Mega-Coalition

By / May 6, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The Re:Create Coalition brings together various groups from the technology, trade, and library industries. The alliance will advocate for less-stifling copyright laws that foster innovation.

A group of library, technology, and trade organizations have joined together to advocate for simpler and more transparent copyright laws.

In a statement, members of the Re:Create Coalition said that more balanced copyright policies that depart from the overprotective laws currently in place, would allow for greater innovation in knowledge creation and product development.

This is perfect timing for us to be together and talk about [copyright law] issues, and have a coordinated voice.

Copyright coalitions are nothing new, but the group believes that it is likely the largest and most representative to ever come together. Members include the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Consumer Electronics Association, Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), Electronic Frontier Foundation, Computer and Communications Industry Association, and Media Democracy Fun, among several others.

“The mission of Re:Create squarely comports with the Constitutional rationale for copyright: ‘to promote the progress of science and useful arts,’” ARL President Deborah Jakubs said in a statement. “ARL is proud to be a member of this coalition, which will work to ensure that copyright law supports this rationale and ensure that the copyright system provides an appropriate balance.”

Out of the chute, the group expects to be busy due to a number of moves in Congress related to copyright law.

“This coalition is forming as the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee wraps up its extensive review of copyright policy issues,” Erik Stallman, director of the Open Internet Project at CDT, wrote in a blog post. “The coalition is also forming as Vice President Biden swears in Daniel Marti as our second U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, [and as] copyright issues come to the fore in trade agreements and proposed European Union regulations.”

Further, Sen. Rob Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) recently introduced the Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act, which includes a number of proposed changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—a law passed in 1998 that was intended to target piracy but that also made it illegal to, for example, unlock smartphones or enable text-to-speech functionality for vision-impaired readers.

“This is perfect timing for us to be together and talk about the issues, and have a coordinated voice if possible,” Carrie Russell, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, said in a statement. Though the groups may not agree on all issues, she said, having all of those voices in one room will result in meaningful work.

“We are all stakeholders in copyright policy discussions,” CDT’s Stallman wrote. “As the number of constituencies with a stake in copyright expands, opportunities for consensus may expand with it, hopefully leading us closer to more transparent, balanced, and user-friendly copyright laws and policies.  We’re excited to work with the other Re:Create coalition members to identify those opportunities and make the most of them.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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