Copyright Scholars and Experts Offer Advice on Archiving in the Digital Age

Copyright law needs to be amended to make it easier for libraries and archives to preserve online content without running afoul of copyright, according to a report released this month by a group of lawyers, publishers, and librarians. The document, “The Section 108 Study Group Report,” is intended as a blueprint for action by the U.S. Congress. Section 108 is a provision in the Copyright Act that allows reproduction of copyrighted content for archival purposes.

Among the report’s findings: Section 108 should be revised so that libraries and archives can capture and duplicate online material and make it available to scholars and researchers. But the change would apply only to publicly available content, not to content walled off from general use. And copyright holders could demand that archivists not duplicate their material, provided that the material was not from the government or from a political Web site.

The report is addressed to the librarian of Congress and the register of copyrights, and is the result of three years of work by its authors. —Andrea L. Foster

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