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- Table of Contents -

Introduction to the online version

Chapter 1 – The Commission and Its Recommendations

Chapter 2 – The Establishment, Mandate, and Activities of the Commission

Chapter 3 – Computers and Copyright

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

- Recommendations of the Commission

- Recommendation for Amending One Area of the 1976 Copyright Act

- Recommendations Concerning the Five-Year Review of Photocopying Practices

- Recommendations to Publishers

- Recommendations to Government Agencies

- Provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act Affecting Photocopying

- CONTU Guidelines on Photocopying under Interlibrary Loan Arrangements

- Volume of Library Photocopying in 1976

- Means of Obtaining Permission to Make Photocopies or to Obtain Authorized Copies under the 1976 Copyright Act

- Interrelated Economics of Publishing and Libraries and the Impact of Copying Fees

- Legislation and Systems Relating to Photocopying in Other Countries

- Recommendations of Interested Organizations

- Effects of Future Technological Change

Chapter 5 – Summary

Appendix A – Summary of the Legislative History of Computer-Related Issues and the Photocopy Issue

Appendix B – Public Law 93-573 and Public Law 95-146

Appendix C – Commissioners

Appendix D – Staff

Appendix E – Lists of Witnesses

Appendix F – Alphabetical Listing of Persons Appearing before the Commission

Appendix G – Transcripts of Commission Meetings

Appendix H – Summaries of Commission-Sponsored Studies

Appendix I – Bibliography

Appendix J – Selected Provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and Copyright Office Regulations

Full table of contents

PDF version of the report

Picture of commissioners and staff

Final Report of the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works

Chapter 4 – Machine Reproduction – Photocopying

Effects of Future Technological Change

The Commission has examined the prospects of technological changes that may affect both the creation and the distribution of data (including copyrighted materials) which have been distrib­uted by conventional publishing methods in the past to determine whether prospective changes in technology may require amendment of the copyright law. An entire meeting of the Com­mission in November 1977 was devoted to a discussion of this topic with several invited out­side experts.265

It is now technologically possible to distribute text, data, and graphics electronically rather than in traditional printed forms. The limitations on the spread of this mode of distribution at the moment are more in the cost of such technology and in user acceptance rather than in the tech­nology itself, but costs are rapidly decreasing for both storage and transmission. In addition, more and more textual materials appearing ulti­mately in printed form exist at some state in the production process in digital form on tapes and disks or other electronic storage devices. The full text of certain legal materials, such as court decisions, may already be displayed on computer terminals from distant data bases.

It seems to the Commission, however, that these present and prospective technological de­velopments for the creation, storage, and dis­tribution of copyrighted materials do not in themselves call for any change in the copyright law other than those which have been recom­mended by the Commission to deal with copy­right for computer software and computer data bases. These technological developments may ease the problem which has been caused by the wide availability of photocopying machines ca­pable of producing copies quickly and relatively inexpensively. If the copyright owner possesses material in digital form on tapes or other stor­age devices and sells access to such material by contracts with users, the copyright owner may have more effective control over unauthorized use than over information distributed in printed form. Even now, owners of bibliographic and other data bases make them electronically avail­able to users who pay for this service, either directly or through intermediaries selling on-line access to a variety of data bases.

It seems to the Commission that the foresee­able developments in technology and reduction of costs do not warrant any present change in the copyright law relating to the machine repro­duction of copyrighted materials. Furthermore, the provisions of section 108(i) of the 1976 Act provide for a review of section 108 in 1983 and every five years thereafter by the Register of Copyrights, after consultation with the affected parties. If changes in the copyright law relating to machine reproduction seem necessary or de­sirable because of technological developments five, ten, or twenty-five years hence, this review provision provides a mechanism for timely con­sideration.

265 Transcript, CONTU Meeting No. 18.