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Weekly News Digest

October 30, 2000 — 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.

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Library Associations Disappointed in Digital Copyright Ruling

The nation's leading library associations expressed serious disappointment over the ruling issued to implement the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The ruling, issued by the Librarian of Congress, was based on the recommendation of the Copyright Office. The ruling backs the right of companies to limit access to their content made available on the Internet. According to the library associations, this will restrict access to information by the public. The American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association—representing well over 80,000 librarians and institutions throughout the U.S.—noted that they have worked hard to ensure that the long-standing principle of "fair use" continues into the digital age.

Only two exemptions are now allowed to the law that make it illegal to circumvent copyright barriers. The statement in the Federal Register ( by James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, noted that he was:

"publishing as a new rule the two classes of copyrighted works that shall be subject to the exemption found in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(B) from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that effectively control access to copyrighted works set forth in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A) for the period from October 28, 2000 to October 28, 2003. The classes are: 1) Compilations consisting of lists of websites blocked by filtering software applications; and 2) Literary works, including computer programs and databases, protected by access control mechanisms that fail to permit access because of malfunction, damage or obsoleteness."

Sources: Special Libraries Association and U.S. Copyright Office

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