GRC Report - June 2000

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Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters will be the guest speaker at the annual Legislative and Regulatory program sponsored by the Government Relations Committee at the annual meeting in Philadelphia. The program, D-4, will be held on Monday, July 17, 2000, from 10:15 - 11:45 AM.

Ms. Peters has served as the United States Register of Copyrights in the US Copyright Office since August 1994. The Copyright Office is located in the Library of Congress and she reports to Librarian of Congress James Billington. The Copyright Office's primary functions include provision of expert assistance and advice to Congress on intellectual property matters, and more specifically , assistance in the drafting of copyright legislation and provision of studies about proposed and implemented copyright legislation. The office also works with the State Department, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office and the Patent and Trademark Office on issues of international protection of copyrights. Ms. Peters frequently testifies before Congress concerning proposed and implemented copyright legislation, most recently in connection with the May 1999 report entitled "Copyright and Digital Distance Education" issued by her office.

As AALL members are well aware, the Copyright Office deals with many legislative and regulatory issues of intense interest to law libraries. Ms. Peters will comment on several of these issues and will share with the audience some insights into the workings of her office. Time will be reserved for your questions and comments including how these issues may impact your library and your users.

Consistent with the traditional format of the GRC annual Legislative and Regulatory Update, the program will also feature reports from Washington Affairs Office representatives Bob Oakley and Mary Alice Baish. These reports will focus on the activities of the Washington Affairs Office over the last year. Of major concern will be the status of the two competing database protection bills pending in Congress, and the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) which has already been enacted in two states and is pending in many other state legislatures. As has been reported in earlier Washington Affairs Office columns and GRC reports in this Committee News column, AALL opposes UCITA and supports the House Commerce Committee's database legislation (HR 1858) that excludes protection of public domain federal, state and local primary legal materials.

Submitted by Rita Reusch