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Weekly News Digest

July 17, 2008 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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New Report on Copyright Law and Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress, through its National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and in cooperation with partners in Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.K., has issued a joint report, "International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation." It states that digital works are ephemeral, and unless preservation efforts are begun soon after they are created, they will be lost to future generations. The report finds that although copyright and related laws are not the only obstacle to digital preservation, there is no question that those laws present significant challenges. An electronic version of the report is available through the NDIIPP website at

Recommendations are provided for legislative reform and other solutions to ensure that libraries, archives, and other preservation institutions can manage copyrighted digital information in a manner consistent with national and international laws. Specific recommendations include structuring national copyright laws to provide exceptions for preservation institutions to proactively preserve at-risk copyrighted material in digital form, subject to measures appropriate to protect the legitimate interests of rights holders.

The recommendations in the U.S. jurisdiction section of the report follow those outlined in by an independent Section 108 Study Group report ( issued in March 2008. (For details, see the NewsBreak by George Pike at Recommendations from the other jurisdictions reflect each country’s specific copyright laws. The four organizations also worked very closely together to develop joint recommendations for how copyright and intellectual property law might better accommodate the preservation of digital information.

According to the report, copyright laws should permit preservation institutions to preserve copyrighted works in accordance with international best practices for digital preservation, including making copies for administrative and technical purposes; migrating works into different formats in response to technological developments and changing standards; and maintaining redundant copies among preservation institutions and legally authorized third-party preservation repositories to protect against catastrophic loss. The report further recommends that copyright exceptions for digital preservation should not be conditioned on the category (such as literature or music) or format (such as compact disc or website) of information.

Source: The Library of Congress

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