WASHINGTON, DC—The American Library Association (ALA) Office of Public Policy and Advocacy today appointed James G. “Jim” NealUniversity Librarian Emeritus of Columbia University, winner of the 2022 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award.
The L. Ray Patterson Award recognizes contributions by an individual or group that furthers and supports the constitutional purpose of United States copyright law, fair use, and the public domain. The award is named after L. Ray Patterson, a key legal figure who explained and vindicated the importance of the public domain and fair use. Fair use is a key exception in copyright law that permits the use of a copyright without permission and helps promote learning, new creativity, scholarship, and criticism. .
ALA President Patty Wong said: “The work of every librarian and the mission of every library depends on a balanced copyright policy. As a champion of fair use and the public domain, Jim Neal embodies the highest goal of a library professional: to provide the greatest access to knowledge to the greatest number of people.
“Jim’s knowledge and determination go hand in hand with his courage to advocate for policies in the public interest. The ALA is pleased to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of Jim Neal, both as an advocate for the library community and as an educator who continues to cultivate his expertise in the field.
Neal has represented the U.S. library community by testifying on copyright issues before congressional committees, served as an advisor to the U.S. delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference on Copyright and has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for numerous universities and for professional and higher education associations. He was a member of the United States Copyright Office Section 108 Task Force (2005-2008), which spent several years considering whether to update the exception for libraries and archives. in copyright law. Neal was for many years a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters. Additionally, Jim supported the successful engagement of the international library community in the adoption of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for Print Disabled Persons.
In his nomination letter, eminent intellectual property lawyer and 2017 Patterson Award winner Jonathan Band, PLLC, said, “It is hard to imagine anyone more deserving of this award than Jim. Throughout his long career as a research librarian, Jim has worked tirelessly nationally and internationally to ensure that copyright law helps and does not hinder the mission of libraries.
Neal was president of the American Library Association (2017-18) and is an honorary member of the ALA, the Association’s highest honor. Neal is currently a member of the Library of Congress Public Copyright Modernization Committee and served twelve years (2010-21) on the OCLC Board of Trustees from 2010-2021.. He has served on the board and as chairman of the Association of Research Libraries, on the board and as chairman of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the board and as chairman of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and to the Board of Directors of the Digital Preservation Network. He is a board member and treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and a board member and past treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He has also participated in numerous international, national and state professional committees and is a member of the People’s University Library Advisory Board. Neal established the Copyright Advisory Offices at Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University.
Neal is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, consultant and published author on copyright issues. Prior to his tenure at Columbia University, he served as Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University and held administrative positions at Pennsylvania State University Libraries. , the University of Notre Dame and the City University of New York.
An awards reception honoring Neal will be held at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC in June 2022.