Why we act
The Software Preservation Network acts to ensure that cultural memory institutions can exercise broad and clear legal rights to preserve software (including providing access for research, teaching, and learning). SPN acts on behalf of its members because no individual institution can engage these venues on its own.
Where we act
SPN engages courts, federal agencies, legislatures, non-governmental organizations, and international bodies that have the power to impact software preservation wherever SPN members do their work.
We communicate via amicus briefs, comments, and letters, often in collaboration with aligned groups like the Association of Research Libraries, American Library Association, Access to Knowledge Coalition, and others.
We engage with law and policy venues such as the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, the U.S. Copyright Office and its counterparts in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Decisions made in these venues can profoundly affect the rights of SPN members.
How we act
SPN acts in concert with allied groups where possible, and alone where necessary. Through our Law and Policy Working Group and Law and Policy Advisor, as well as support from intellectual property clinics and others, we bring SPN’s expertise in both the technical and legal aspects of software preservation to policy conversations, ensuring that decision makers understand our rights and our interests.
Our core issue: copyright
Copyright law is the primary source of legal challenges and opportunities for SPN and its members, and thus is the primary issue on which SPN focuses its law and policy attention. Within copyright, SPN acts to:
- Protect a robust right of fair use consistent with the consensus vision embodied in the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation1. In countries where fair use or a similar provision isn’t yet available, we support reform that would add or expand a fair use-like right.
- Create, preserve, and expand software preservation exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions in the triennial DMCA rulemaking process in the United States, and support similar reforms elsewhere.
- Defend and expand mechanisms like mandatory deposit that empower certain libraries and archives to obtain copies of works for preservation and long-term access that may not otherwise be available to libraries for purchase.
- Support reasonable copyright exceptions and limitations that permit preservation and long-term access to software.
- Promote a balanced approach to license interpretation and enforcement, including advocating for supremacy of copyright’s user rights over inconsistent or unclear contract provisions.
1 Fair use is closely associated with United States law, but similar flexible rights exist in many other countries, most notably Canada. SPN supports efforts to clarify where and when analogous provisions apply in national laws where our members and their colleagues work.
The Software Preservation Network has submitted comments to the US Copyright Office in support of proposed changes to access to electronic works. You can read more about these proposed changes in this blog post by Lila Bailey (Internet Archive) and …Continue SPN Supports Proposed Changes to Access to Electronic Works
SPN has joined the Access to Knowledge Coalition (A2K), which represents educators, researchers, students, libraries, archives, museums, other knowledge users, and creative communities around the globe, to urge the 44th session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights …Continue Letter to WIPO SCCR Delegates re pending copyright matters
Endorsed/Submitted/Signed February 1, 2023 The Software Preservation Network joined allies from the global Access to Knowledge Coalition in a letter stating our views on the agenda of the 43rd meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright …Continue SPN Joins Access to Knowledge Coalition Letter Supporting More Balanced Global Copyright System
On Wednesday, February 16, the Software Preservation Network filed an amicus brief in Apple v. Corellium, a pivotal copyright lawsuit currently on appeal in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Joining SPN on the brief were the Library …Continue SPN Amicus Brief Defends Fair Use in Apple v. Corellium case
In March 2021, the Software Preservation Network, through a proposal from the Law & Policy Working Group approved by the Coordinating Committee, joined a letter to the new US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, welcoming her and asking her to return …Continue SPN Signs on to Letter Welcoming US Trade Representative Katherine Tai
Goals The Software Preservation Network endeavors to ensure that cultural memory institutions and related entities can exercise broad and clear legal rights to engage in software preservation (including providing access for research, teaching, and learning). We do this in two …Continue SPN Law & Policy Agenda