This week, the Music Modernization Act passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, following a similar bill passing 415-0 in the House in April. It’s great news for the music business, as the bill will streamline the way online services license music and pay artists, and it federalizes the patchwork of state laws that has governed music recorded before 1972.
But the bill doesn’t make everybody perfectly happy. And that may be the best thing about it—after a decade of contentious debate, we have finally seen something elusive in copyright reform: true compromise.
Ars Technica has a good report on the bill.
“For the last decade, the Congressional debate over copyright law has been in a stalemate. Content companies have pushed for stronger protections, but their efforts have been stopped by a coalition of technology companies and digital rights groups. But on Tuesday, we saw a rare moment of bipartisan and trans-industry harmony on copyright law,” the report states. “The bill managed to get the support of several groups that are normally at each others' throats: music publishers, record labels, songwriters, major technology companies, and digital rights groups.”
It’s not an entirely done deal yet—the Senate and House still have to reconcile the bill before it heads to President Trump’s desk. But it's going to happen, and we will soon see a copyright bill that suggests meaningful copyright reform is possible. And a process that can hopefully serve as a template for stakeholders in other realms of copyright to work from.
From Publishers Weekly: In opening the 2018 annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers on September 20 in New York City, chairman and Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle greeted the roughly 200 attendees by exclaiming, “Welcome to the new AAP.” Dohle cast the new AAP, now under the leadership of former Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, as focusing on a "new, more aggressive" public policy mission.
From the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, a student run publication, comes this eye-opening story about Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel, a former digital scholarship specialist at the Sheridan Libraries, who was forced to leave the U.S. on 10 days notice, reportedly because of the nation’s new immigration enforcement policies. According to Mahoney-Steel, University officials failed to submit her application for a new visa, "fearing that it would be rejected under current immigration policy,” reports the News-Letter. An online petition to support Mahoney-Steel has garnered over 1,800 signatures as of September. 19.
Congratulations to the Madison County Public Libraries (MCPL) in North Carolina for taking home the top honor as Library Journal’s 2018 Best Small Library in America, sponsored by Baker & Taylor. “Where the Appalachian Trail meets the French Broad River in western Madison County, NC, 21,000 citizens celebrate their great library,” reads a fearure on MCPL over at Library Journal. “On operating revenue of just $25 per capita, the Madison County Public Libraries has totally engaged its community with partnerships, outreach, relationships, and top-notch professional service.”
For her weekly column in the Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel (who is also of course the editor and publisher of The Nation) argues that an effective way to support democracy is to support your public library. “With so much inequality and balkanization, public libraries are critical within the public sphere and, when fully supported, represent the best of government at work. They uphold the virtues of equality and community. If your library is under threat, it’s worth defending.”
It’s that time of year again—next week is Banned Books Week. Check out what’s going on at the Banned Book Weeks web site.
But here’s one to get us started. Apparently a handful of pastors in Rumford, Maine, objected to an LGBTQ display at the public library for Banned Books Week. The news even garnered the support of the National Coalition Against Censorship, which issued a release. But after a town hall (which sounds like it was very respectful) The Rumford Fall Times reports that display will stay.
Oh, and hey while we’re at it, check out this American Libraries piece on one of the latest crazes in libraries around the country: drag queen story time.
According to a report in Reuters, regulators in the European Union could sanction Facebook for failing to comply with consumer protections enacted in March. “Seven months after Europe’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova told Facebook and other tech companies to bring their user terms in line with EU consumer laws, the social media giant has yet to address all her concerns, the sources said.”
The Verge reports that FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a speech last Friday said that California’s newly passed net neutrality bill, SB 822, “is ‘egregious,’ ‘radical, anti-consumer,’ and ‘illegal.’ Pai mantains that FCC rules prohibit states from legislating in this arena and that the FCC will prevail in court if tested. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on California Governor Jerry Brown who has until the end of the month to sign SB 822. But all signs suggest he will do so, as Gizmodo report suggests.
EBSCO’s 2019 Serials Price Projections Report is out. In sum, the report concludes, “the serials marketplace continues to see steady annual publisher price increases, with no indicators this will change.” For 2019, EBSCO predicts “overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic medical libraries for 2019 (before any currency impact) to be in the range of five to six percent.”
Spurred on by a labor dispute in California, there is apparently a discussion of whether academic librarians are entitled to academic freedom. Over at Inside Higher Ed, the great Barbara Fister shares her view.
And check out this video from the Indianapolis Star: “What Modern Day School Librarians Look Like.”