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<nettime> [RRE] database legislation [USA]
t byfield on Mon, 31 May 1999 18:09:38 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> [RRE] database legislation [USA]


----- Forwarded 

Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 22:33:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: Phil Agre <pagre {AT} alpha.oac.ucla.edu>
To: "Red Rock Eater News Service" <rre {AT} lists.gseis.ucla.edu>
Subject: [RRE]database legislation

[I have taken the liberty of reformatting this.]

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Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 14:46:38 -0600
From: EDUCAUSE <EDUCAUSE {AT} EDUCAUSE.EDU>
To: UPDATE {AT} LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: [WASHINGTON-UPDATE] Database Legislation Moves Through House

EDUCAUSE: Transforming Education Through Information Technologies
http://www.educause.edu


EDUCAUSE WASHINGTON UPDATE --- MAY 28, 1999


***IN THIS ISSUE***

CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF DATABASE PROTECTION BILL APPEARS LIKELY THIS
SESSION:

(1)   CONTROVERSIAL DATABASE PROTECTION LEGISLATION NEARS HOUSE FLOOR AS
BILL'S SPONSOR PROMISES TO ADDRESS REMAINING ISSUES

(2)   ALTERNATIVE DATABASE BILL INTRODUCED IN HOUSE VIEWED FAVORABLY BY
LIBRARY, NONPROFIT COMMUNITY



*** CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF DATABASE PROTECTION BILL APPEARS LIKELY
THIS SESSION:

(1) CONROVERSIAL DATABASE PROTECTION LEGISLATION NEARS HOUSE FLOOR AS
BILL'S SPONSOR PROMISES TO ADDRESS REMAINING ISSUES

The House Judiciary Committee passed a series of measures on Wednesday
designed to update America's intellectual property laws. The most
contentious of the bills is the "Collections of Information Antipiracy
Act" (H.R. 354) which aims to protect the work of database creators.

According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), HR 354 is a
"balanced proposal" with the goal of stimulating more data collections
and competition in this industry. However, the education and research
communities, along with the Clinton Administration, have criticized
the bill as being overly broad and fear it may have a "chilling
effect" on the ability of researchers to access and exchange
information. The library and university community has also cited the
potential rising costs of accessing information if database creators
are afforded what some have criticized "as ownership over facts."

Revisions in the bill have helped to allay some concerns of the
education and research communities. For instance, rather than
requiring a showing of harm to the "actual or potential market" before
legal recourse, it must be proven that the "primary or related market
for a protected collection of information" has been harmed. Another
provision approved at the committee markup provides relief for
Internet service providers from civil actions, unless the provider
willfully violates the law. The term 'Internet service provider' is
defined to include "an entity offering the transmission, routing or
providing of connections for digital online communications, between or
among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing,
without modification to the content of the material as sent or
received."

The Copyright Office and the Antitrust Division of the Department
of Justice would be directed to conduct a study whether the defense
allowing an employee or agent of a nonprofit institution to extract
government information from a non-governmental source (if such
information was not publicly available) should be expanded to
include collections of information "that do not incorporate all or
a substantial part of a government collection of information."  The
study and report to Congress must be conducted within three years of
enactment of this bill.

Rep. Coble conceded that the bill is still "a work in progress"
and promised to work with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) (who raised the
administration's concerns at the markup) to ensure that education and
library concerns are addressed before sending the bill to the House
floor.

(2) ALTERNATIVE DATABASE BILL INTRODUCED IN HOUSE VIEWED FAVORABLY BY
LIBRARY, NONPROFIT COMMUNITY

As Rep. Coble's "Collections of Information Antipiracy Act" makes its
way to the House floor, another database measure was introduced last
week that appears to be gaining some support among the library and
university communities.

House Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va), along
with Rep.  Billy Tauzin (R-La) (Chair of the Telecom subcommittee) and
three other cosponsors, introduced the "Consumer and Investor Access
to Information Act of 1999" (HR 1858). Touted as a consumer protection
bill, this proposal attempts to strike a balance between protecting
the rights of publishers of electronic databases without allowing
their claim of proprietary ownership to restrict access to facts and
information that traditionally have been part of the public domain.

The bill appears to be more narrowly focused than its counterpart. For
instance, the bill would prohibit the duplication of another database
to be used in an a competitive manner that "displaces substantial
sales or licenses of the database of which it is a duplicate."

Individuals or entities using information collected by another's
database for scientific, educational, or research uses shall not
be deemed in violation of the law if such use is "not part of a
consistent pattern engaged in for the purpose of direct commercial
competition with that other person."


The American Library Association and over 131 other for-profit
and nonprofit organizations have come out in favor of this bill.
[see joint statement at the American Library Association website:
http://www.databasedata.org/Statement/statement.html]

To view  a draft of the "Consumer and Investor Access to Information
Act" [in PDF format]:
http://com-notes.house.gov/cchear/hearings106.nsf/8eaabcee30ee07ee852566f900
700f0d/11b0c73a05c02702852567760077af12/$FILE/DATABASE_001.PDF


***

Written from EDUCAUSE'S Washington office, "The EDUCAUSE Washington
Update" is a free service of EDUCAUSE, an international nonprofit
association dedicated to transforming higher education through
information technologies.


Anyone may subscribe to the Update by sending e-mail to
listserv {AT} listserv.educause.edu with "subscribe update firstname
lastname" in the body of the message.  To unsubscribe, send a
"signoff update" command to the same address. If you would like
more information about the Update or would like to offer comments
or suggestions, please contact Garret Sern at gsern {AT} educause.edu.

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