Out of last Friday's all-day Columbia University conference on Google Book Search came this interesting little tidbit: ...Congress, well, just didn’t seem to care about the program.
“Most disturbing of all was [Register of Copyrights Mary Beth Peters'] admission that not one member of Congress has asked the Copyright Office to comment on the settlement," [Peter] Hirtle blogged “even though it may fundamentally change how Americans can access and use copyrighted information.”
Certainly, that insight has to make one wonder how much Congress cares about the promotion of progress at the bedrock of copyright law. Last year, Congress failed to pass orphan works legislation but passed a draconian bill stiffening infringement penalties. And while sitting out the potentially momentous discussion over copyright as raised by Google Book Search, Congress is again considering the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act—controversial legislation that would bar public access to research funded by taxpayers, and would undo the NIH’s access policy, enacted last year.
Notably, Peters was also not asked to testify at a hearing on the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act during a congressional hearing last year —but, curiously, a former register of copyright, Ralph Oman was asked, and did testify. Oman told lawmakers that the public access policies, like the NIH’s, would harm publishers and gut copyright.
...[S]ources in the library community suggested to the LJ Academic Newswire that her absence was not without meaning: the Copyright Office is said not to be persuaded by publishers’ arguments regarding the NIH public access policy, and sees the recently introduced bill as unnecessary.
Peter Suber at 3/20/2009 01:15:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.