Legislative Action Alert

From: Mike Freeman (mikef@pacifier.com)
Date: Tue Jul 30 1996 - 14:00:51 PDT

                                        LEGISLATIVE ACTION NOTICE

DATE: July 30, 1996

FROM: James Gashel

  RE: Action needed on copyright and NLS appropriations matters


        Senator John Chafee has offered copyright amendments for the
blind as an amendment to the Legislative Branch appropriations
bill--H. R. 3754. The amendments passed the Senate unanimously
on July 30. With the exception of a proviso concerning computer
programs, the language is identical to the agreement reached by
the NFB and the Association of American Publishers. The
provision on computer programs allows information displayed to
users of computers to be converted into Braille or other
specialized formats without an infringement of copyright.
Disclosure of private information designed to make a program
operate and not displayed to users would not be required,

        Now that the copyright amendments have been added to H. R.
3754 by the Senate, a conference committee consisting of senators
and House members will decide whether or not to accept these
provisions in the final bill. The conferees are the members who
serve on the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees for
the Legislative Branch. A list of these members can be found on
the NFB's web site at http://www.nfb.org. Emphasis should be
placed on convincing the House Conferees to accept the copyright
amendments. All members of the House can potentially be helpful.

(2) NLS

        The provision which would permit the Librarian of Congress
to transfer funds from one program to another within the Library
has been removed from the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill
in the Senate. Therefore, it will not be in the final bill if
the House conferees agree to go along with the Senate position.
The conferees are the same for both the copyright amendments and
the fund-transfer provision.

        In both cases the message is the same: we strongly favor
the Senate position. In the first instance, we would like the
copyright amendments to be included in the final bill. The
opposite is true in the case of the transfer provision. Now it
is up to everyone to deliver this message loud and clear. The
conference to negotiate the final version of H. R. 3754 will
likely be completed this week.

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