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Recast Copyright For The Digital Age

(by Peter Hirtle)

One of the more interesting experiments in citizen democracy is the White House petition.  Anyone can propose a petition; if it gets enough signatures (currently 100,000), the White House has to respond.  My favorite so far has been the petition proposing that the government build a Death Star. The official White House response is entitled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For.”

A library class at Dominican University posted a more serious petition this weekend.  The class, which is taught by my LibraryLaw colleague Mary Minow, has proposed that we recast copyright for the digital age.  The petition notes that the public has lost respect for copyright law. To fix it, it proposes that we secure digital first sale rights, more transparency in the marketplace (I assume no more fraudulent copyright notices), and a right to remix.

The likelihood that the petition will get to 100,000 seems small, but you have to admire the faith of these students in American democracy.  You can find the petition at  It is relatively easy to register with the site and then sign the petition.


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