Pit Schultz on Tue, 2 Dec 1997 00:00:23 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> ACM: intellectual property bill

# public_content-002

> Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:55:02 -0400
> From: Lauren Gelman <gelman@ACM.ORG>
> November 25, 1997
> President William J. Clinton
> 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
> Washington, DC 20500
> Dear President Clinton:
>         The Association for Computing's U.S. Public Policy Committee
> believes that the  "No Electronic Theft Act" (H.R. 2265), which is now
> before you, does not adequately reflect the nature of the new digital
> environment and will have a  negative impact on the rich scientific
> communications that have developed on the Internet in many fields,
> including computer science.  For this reason, we are asking you to veto the
> legislation. We agree that copyright holders have a legitimate need to
> protect their intellectual property.  However,  we are concerned that the
> bill was rushed through both Houses of Congress without careful
> consideration of its unintended consequences.
>         We are concerned the Bill may:
> *       Restrict scientists and other professionals from making their
> research available on the Internet for use by colleagues and students.
> Most scientists do not own the copyright on their own materials.  Instead,
> that copyright ownership is retained by the scientific journal which
> peer-reviews and publishes the research.  Under the No Electronic Theft
> Act, an author who posts their research on the Internet, and whose
> documents are frequently read on-line, could be subject to criminal
> prosecution.  If the bill becomes law, scientists may have to choose
> between having their work peer-reviewed or making it widely available.
> *       Criminalize the transfer of information that is currently protected
> under the U.S. 'fair use' doctrine.  Copyright law is derived from the U.S.
> Constitution and is intended to advance "science and the useful arts."  The
> fair-use doctrine protects reading and nonprofit copying and thus allows
> scientists and educators to openly exchange information.  H.R. 2265 does
> not explicitly protect the "fair use" privilege which makes this open
> exchange of scientific information possible.
> *       Chill free speech in universities and research labs. The
> terminology used in the Bill, including "willingly" and "for profit," are
> not defined; it is unclear what the parameters of a criminally prosecutable
> copyright infringement are.  As a result, it is likely that many
> institutions will mandate that all copyrighted documents be removed from
> the net to avoid having to defend copyright infringement prosecutions.
>         We hope that you will veto this measure and ask your staff to work
> with Congress during the next session to develop more sensible legislation.
> Sincerely,
> Dr. Barbara Simons Chair,
> U.S. Public Policy Committee
> Association For Computing
> The Association for Computing (ACM) is the largest and oldest professional
> association of computer scientists in the United States.  ACM's U.S. Public
> Policy Committee (USACM) facilitates communication between computer
> scientists and policy makers on issues of concern to the computing
> community.
> cc:     Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
>         Ira Magaziner, Senior Adviser to President
>         Brian Kahin, Office of Science Technology and Public Policy.
>         Henry J. Hyde, Chair, House Judiciary Committee
>         John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee
>         Howard Coble, Chair, Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee,
> House Judiciary         Committee
>         Orrin G. Hatch, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee
>         Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
>         John Ashcroft, Chair, Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights
> Subcommittee, Senate    Judiciary Committee
>         Mike DeWine, Chair, Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition
> Subcommittee, Senate    Judiciary Comittee
>         Representative Virgil H. Goode
>         Representative Barney Frank, House Judiciary Committee
>         Representative Christopher Cannon, House Judiciary Committee
>         Representative William Delahunt, House Judiciary Committee
>         Representative Elton Gallegly, House Judiciary Committee
>         Representative Bob Clement
> /\ /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
> Association for Computing,             +   http://www.acm.org/usacm/
> Office of U.S. Public Policy           *   +1 202 544 4859 (tel)
> 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 302 B  *   +1 202 547 5482 (fax)
> Washington, DC 20003   USA             +   gelman@acm.org
> To subscribe to the ACM Washington Update, send e-mail to: listserv@acm.org
> with "subscribe WASHINGTON-UPDATE name" (no quotes) in the body of the
> message.

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