$30,000 fines for librarians under CASE Act - our statement

Posted September 28, 2021, 4:04 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2021
A shelf of books with the words Defend Librarians over top

With less than a week remaining for public comment on the US Copyright Office’s proposed rulemaking on the CASE Act that would leave library workers vulnerable to personal fines of up to $30,000 from the Copyright Claims Board for sharing resources like websites and open access journals with patrons, we’re organizing a push for public comments and also releasing this statement: 

“Libraries, and the librarians that are essential to their functioning, are one of the last sources of trusted and open knowledge in the United States. The US Copyright Office proposing to allow copyright trolls to extract $30,000 from a librarian if they share a resource like Sci-Hub with a patron is absurd. Increasingly, libraries are under attack from private sector interests that want to replace the library card with a credit card, and this harmful move to limit what resources people are allowed to learn about at their public library is the latest dangerous step toward that end. 

We question whether the Copyright Office has made a mistake here—especially as the CASE Act explicitly allows libraries themselves to opt out under this law. The Copyright Office must immediately fix this proposal by protecting librarians as well as the libraries that employ them from the frivolous and harmful copyright claims that are sure to inundate unprotected institutions and individuals as the CASE Act rolls out.”

This statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (she/they) Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future.

We’re in contact with several librarians familiar with this issue. If you are with a press outlet and speaking with them would be helpful, please reach out to press@fightforthefuture.org.