Re:Create Recap – Week of September 28

Re:Create Coalition Urges Congress To Modernize Copyright Office. As the head of the Library of Congress – the agency that houses the U.S. Copyright office – stepped down after 28 years, Re:Create members are calling for reforms to modernize the office. In a letter to U.S. House Judiciary Committee members, the coalition writes: “The diverse groups signing onto this letter all agree the case has not been made for transforming the Copyright Office into an independent agency.  There has yet to be any explanation of how that would change the information technology issues within the office, nor fix the ability of the Office to properly be responsive to the public.”

Volkswagen Scandal Drives New Focus On Needed DMCA Exemptions. In the wake of Volkswagen’s EPA emissions scandal, New York Times reporters examined the lack of car software transparency and what it means for safety in the September 26 story, Complex Car Software Becomes the Weak Spot Under the Hood. The article cites the automaker’s opposition to copyright exemptions and quotes Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Attorney Kit Walsh: “If copyright law were not an impediment…then we could have independent researchers go in and look at the code and find this kind of intentional wrongdoing, just as we have independent watchdogs that check vehicle safety with crash-test dummies.” For more insight from Kit Walsh, read his September 21 blog post, Researchers Could Have Uncovered Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheat If Not Hindered by the DMCA.

Reforms Needed As Lifeline For Library Of Congress. Politico Magazine is out with a troubling piece for the Library of Congress questioning its future in Can anyone save the Library of Congress? The September 29 piece by Nancy Scola looks at its reputation and failure to keep up with the digital age: “Congress has earned a reputation as a technology laggard with a spotty record on everything from digitizing records to improving archaic IT systems. And so, as the 86-year-old Billington steps down this week, tech advocates are pushing for an Internet-savvy replacement – seeing a rare chance to modernize a cultural and policy-making institution that’s fallen far behind in the digital age.”

Final Chance For U.S. To Protect Fair Use In TPP Negotiations. Negotiators from 12 countries are meeting this week in Atlanta for the last round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In the September 30 opinion editorial, A Strong Fair Use Provision Could Help Balance the TPP’s Copyright Rules on Townhall, Bill Watson of the Cato Institute makes a compelling case for why the current IP protections in the agreement “fail[s] to capture the balance of creator and user interests imbedded in U.S. IP law.” Watson calls on lawmakers to enact strong rules on fair use when negotiating TPP stating, “Balances like fair use and limited duration are essential to making copyright law work, and adding those balances to trade rules would greatly improve the legitimacy of the U.S. agenda.”

3D Printers To Grow To 5.6 Million By 2019. According to estimates by analyst firm Gartner, worldwide shipments of 3D printers will hit 3.6 million by 2019. The shipments are expected to double each year between 2016 and 2019. “The 3D printer market is continuing its transformation from a niche market to broad-based, global market of enterprises and consumers,” said Pete Basiliere, research vice president at Gartner.

Local Economies, Libraries Deserve Attention In The Digital Age. Alan Inouye, Director of the Office for Information Technology Policy at the American Library Association, penned an op-ed that highlights the role libraries play in communities and also in fostering innovation. In the September 28 piece, Presidential Candidates: Local Economies in the Digital Age Deserve Attention, Inouye writes: “Creation spaces—maker labs replete with 3D technology and other digital tools such as computerized numerical control (CNC) routers and laser cutters, video studios, publishing centers and the like—are rapidly proliferating in libraries. These spaces promote innovation and creativity…”