The Section 108 Study Group was a select committee of copyright experts charged with updating for the digital world the Copyright Act's balance between the rights of creators and copyright owners and the needs of libraries and archives. The Study Group was convened as an independent group by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress and by the U.S. Copyright Office.
The Study Group examined the exceptions in the Copyright Act relevant to libraries and archives, focusing in particular on the provisions of section 108. Those provisions can be divided into four general groups: (1) provisions governing eligibility and conditions for use of the exceptions; (2) provisions relating to preservation and replacement activities; (3) provisions relating to copies made for users; and (4) miscellaneous provisions.
2008 Report Edit
On March 31, 2008, the Study Group issued its report titled "The Section 108 Study Group Report" with recommendations on exceptions to copyright law to address how libraries, archives and museums deal with copyrighted materials in fulfilling their missions in the digital environment.
The Study Group’s recommendations, conclusions, and other outcomes of its discussions were described in three separate sections of the Report:
- Recommendations for Legislative Change addressed issues for which the Study Group agreed a legislative solution is appropriate and agreed on recommendations for legislative change. These recommendations often were subject to the resolution of related outstanding issues, discussed in detail in the Report. Key recommendations of the study group were:
- Make museums eligible for section 108 exceptions.
- Increase the number of digital copies that libraries, archives, and museums are allowed to make for preservation.
- Permit libraries, archives, and museums to make preservation copies of at-risk works prior to damage or loss.
- Allow libraries, archives, and museums to capture and preserve publicly available online content.
- Conclusions on Other Issues addressed issues on which the Study Group had substantive discussions, and agreed a legislative solution might be appropriate, but for which it has no specific recommendations on the major issues.
- Additional Issues addresses additional important issues that the Study Group discussed.