Tuesday, 10 January 2012

AALL on the Stop Online Piracy Act

The American Association of Law Libraries Government Relations Program has published an advocacy information statement on SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.  The statement was authored by Barco Law Library Director George Pike, who chairs the AALL Copyright Committee.  From the statement:
"AALL urges members of the House of Representatives to vote “No” on SOPA because:
- SOPA is overly broad. If used as intended, SOPA provides mechanisms for attacking websites that engagein infringing activities. However, the broad language opens too many websites to liability. For example, a library website that streams or posts content that is knowingly or unknowingly protected by copyright -- even if the post is arguably covered by fair use, or is reposted from another site -- could be subject to the sanctions by SOPA. Many websites that are neither rogue nor trying to enable infringement could be sanctioned.
- SOPA threatens free speech and fair use rights. The expansion of content-owner notice and take-down powers could be used to target fair uses and chill willingness of users to fairly utilize copyrighted works.
- SOPA inhibits free expression. SOPA discourages the use of copyrighted or potentially copyrighted works (e.g. orphan works) for any purpose, even legitimate, non-harmful ones. For example, the criminal penalties raise the specter of YouTube videos of individuals “covering” copyrighted songs being subject to criminal sanction even if their use of material is non-harmful and non-commercial."

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