Library Copyright Alliance Sends Letter to House Committee on the Judiciary about Stop Online Piracy Act

The Library Copyright Alliance has sent a letter to Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers of the House Committee on the Judiciary about the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Here's an excerpt:

There are three pending copyright infringement lawsuits against universities and their libraries relating to their use of digital technology One of these cases, AIME v. UCLA, concerns the streaming of films to students as part of their course assignments. These lawsuits reflect a growing tension between rights holders and libraries, and some rights holders' increasingly belligerent enforcement mentality. Moreover, legislation such as SOPA and the PRO-IP Act passed in the 110th Congress, and the activities of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (a position created by the PRO-IP Act), encourage federal prosecutors to enforce copyrights law more aggressively.

In this environment, the criminal prosecution of a library for copyright infringement is no longer beyond the realm of possibility. For this reason, we strongly oppose the amendments described above, which would increase the exposure of libraries to prosecution. The broadening of the definition of willful infringement could result in a criminal prosecution if an Assistant U.S. Attorney believes that a library's assertion of fair use or one of the Copyright Act's other privileges is unreasonable. This risk is compounded with streaming, which SOPA would subject to felony penalties even if conducted without purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain.

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