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Urgent: Contact Congress to Urge Support for ACCESS Act

Tuesday, May 29, 2018  
Posted by: Paula Bishop
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SAM Members: Please consider calling or writing your state Congressional representatives about this urgent copyright matter. Below is a sample letter that you are free to adapt. Thank you!

29 May 2018

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte 
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary 
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Jerry Nadler 
Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives


Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Nadler:

I am writing on behalf of the Society for American Music to express concern over the CLASSICS Act, which would provide an unreasonably long term of protection for sound recordings made before 1972.

We urge you instead to support the ACCESS Act introduced by Senator Ron Wyden, under which pre-1972 recordings would be fully protected by federal copyright and, if more than 95 years old, would be in the public domain.

This act is extremely important for libraries and their users, and especially important for scholarly research. Libraries own thousands of recordings, many of little or no commercial value and yet of significant cultural, historical, and educational value. The CLASSICS Act would prevent libraries from streaming these recordings unless it was determined that such streaming constituted fair use – a daunting enough determination for large libraries and archives, let alone smaller ones, which cannot afford to take the legal risk.

Please support the ACCESS Act, and in the process give Americans the opportunity to study and enjoy these older recordings. Thank you.


Sandra Graham 
President, Society for American Music