Call to Action! Recast Copyright Law for the Digital Era

The students in the LIS 803 Digital Copyright class were outraged by the recent Redigi court decision that does not allow legitimate buyers of digital music to resell the files, even when the originals are deleted. We talked about the Next Great Copyright Act, which may come before Congress, and the need for user voices in addition to content owner voices that are already well represented. The students asked, "But how can user voices be heard?" One student suggested a We the People petition to the President, and we spent much of the lunch hour drafting the petition as a group project.

The petition flew through the library world quickly (thanks to the students and GSLIS social media) and garnered 1,000 signatures in a couple of days. This is great news. The tougher haul, though, is the petition threshhold is now 100,000 signatures, with a May 14 deadline. If any alumnae/i are in agreement with the statement below, we would much appreciate it if they would sign on. You have to create a White House petition account if you don't already have one, but it's pretty simple as those things go. Only your initials and city are shown online.

Even more important, if you are part of a community that would be interested, please please forward this on (e.g. Remix artists, others). If you can think of other communities that may sign on, let us know and we'll figure out how to forward it on. I was impressed that many library directors of major research libraries were among the first to sign.

Mary Minow

2012-13 Follett Chair

Dominican University 
Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS)

We petition the Obama administration to:

  • Recast copyright law for the digital era. It's time to regain public respect with laws that make sense.
  • The public disregards copyright law because it is out of sync with the digital age. We want the right to resell digital content (ebooks, etc.) that we've paid for. We need transparency in the marketplace to understand what rights we have.
  • Additionally, as responsible creators we need to be able to freely remix existing music and other forms of creative expression to create new works without undue fear of prosecution. This upholds the original Constitutional purpose of copyright, which is to promote progress.
  • This will nurture the process of innovation and the sharing of our culture. The language of the existing copyright law must be changed to accommodate the way information is being created and consumed in our digital world.