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Copyright Law

: LibraryLaw Blog

Action alert: reader privacy

By Mary Minow, Esq.

From Larry Siems, Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

Dear Core Freedoms Friends and Supporters,

Now is the time to raise your voice in support of reader privacy.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to amend the Patriot Act?s bookstore and library provisions. This proposed bill would essentially accomplish the principal goals we?ve been working towards with our partners in the Campaign for Reader Privacy. The USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845) will now head to the floor for a vote, which could come any day.

Your representatives need to hear from supporters like you.

Currently, Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to secretly obtain any ?tangible thing,? which includes any business records that are ?relevant? to an ongoing investigation, including the records of people who are not suspected of any criminal acts.

The new legislation will prohibit the use of Section 215 to search the records of a library patron or bookstore customer unless there are ?specific and articulable facts? to show that the person is ?a suspected agent of a foreign power? or someone who is in contact with or known to the suspected agent. H.R. 3845 thus allows readers to borrow and purchase books without fear that the government is monitoring their reading selections.

Please take a moment to call, email or fax your representative and ask him or her to support H.R. 3845 in its present form with its welcome and necessary protections for the privacy of bookstore and library records.

To find your representative?s contact info, please visit

You can read the Campaign for Reader Privacy?s press release on the legislation here:

Thank you for taking action!

Full post as published by LibraryLaw Blog on November 11, 2009 (boomark / email).

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