Law 633


Statutory Drafting Exercise #3

Due Friday, March 17 at 6:00 pm

Word limit: 300 words

This assignment is mandatory but ungraded

(We will discuss the assignment in class on Wednesday, March 22)


      This assignment includes a new element: you have a word limit of 300 words. If I ask you to draft legislation on the exam (and I may not), your answers will be subject to a word limit, so it seemed like a good idea to give you a chance to practice that skill. The word limit covers the words in your revised statutory section whether you print them on the page or incorporate them by reference. The entire section as amended must be 300 or fewer words long. The statutory section you will be revising clocks at at more than four times that. If you retain any language from the current statute, then, you will need either to simplify the substance or express it more succinctly.

      17 U.S.C. § 108 allows libraries and archives to make and distribute copies and phonorecords under specified circumstances and conditions. The section was written in the early 1970s and has been only modestly amended in the years since then. Its vision of what libraries and archives do is mired in the mid-20th Century, and the specific reproduction and distribution privileges it details are increasingly irrelevant to 21st Century libraries and archives, which rely more and more on fair use to shelter their activities. The Register of Copyrights has tried in the past to encourage stakeholders to meet with each other in efforts to reach a consensus on how section 108 should be revised, but the gulf between publishers and other copyright owners, on one side, and libraries and archives, on the other, over what library activities are legitimate and what are piracy proved too vast to bridge. Last summer, the Register announced that the Office was working on its own proposal to revise section 108.

      Figure out what uses of copyrighted works libraries and archives should be entitled in engage in and what conditions, if any, should limit those uses. Draft a replacement section for the current 108 that unambiguously achieves that result, and does so within 300 words. You may work alone or in teams of any size.

        Your amendment must reflect actual statutory language. Do not explain what it is you are trying to do -- the effect and intent of your amendment should be clear from the statutory language that you propose. You should anticipate that the language of your amendment may be both publicly performed and publicly displayed in class, and that one or more of your classmates will be asked to explain what your amendment will accomplish, and then criticize its weaknesses and praise its strengths.

        Do not include your name(s) anywhere on the assignment. Make up an arbitrary five-digit number for your amendment. Type the number at the top of the page. Save your assignment as a pdf file under a filename of your-five-digit-number.pdf. (If you have named your assignment 12345, your should save it as a pdf file under the name 12345.pdf.) Upload a copy of your pdf file as your answer to the Qualtrics survey question posted at Your upload will be anonymous. Print out a copy of your assignment and bring it with you to class on Wednesday, March 22. If you are working in a team, make sure that every member of the team brings a copy to Wednesday's class. You should each save another copy for your own reference.