May 11, 1998
It is extremely unfortunate that the Collections of Information Anti-Piracy Act, HR 2652, has been placed on tomorrow's Suspension Calendar. Although the bill's objective has merit - preventing the misappropriation of the investment and effort that goes into developing a database - the legislation as written is so sweeping that HR2652 will likely:
- Curtail the creation of innovative, value-added databases, which will have a large-scale negative impact on our information economy;
- Permit monopoly control of the databases necessary for the routing of information along digital networks;
- Disrupt the collaborative style of research that is the foundation of this nation's global leadership in science and technology; and
- Increase the cost of information to small businesses, libraries, schools, and consumers.
An additional list of unintended, though potentially serious, consequences also has been identified, but these concerns have thus far been ignored. A broad group of communications companies, database publishers, financial institutions, libraries, and the entire academic and scientific communities have opposed HR 2652 for many of these reasons.
While a narrowly crafted database misappropriation bill that is focused on addressing legitimate publisher concerns might be worthy of your support, HR 2652 is not such a bill, and we strongly urge you to oppose it tomorrow.
Issues taken up under a suspension of the rules should not be contentious, and the issue of database protection requires further deliberation and thought. One thing is clear, however - the current proposal is a highly controversial one, and thus, an inappropriate candidate for consideration on the Suspension Calendar.
We urge you to contact Marc Pearl at the Information Technology Association of America [703/284-5331/Mpearl@itaa.org] or Prue Adler at the Association of Research Libraries [202-296-2296 x104/Prue@arl.org] if you have any questions, or contact any of the below-listed organizations directly for further information.
Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)
[Contact: Marc Pearl, 703/284-5331]
Online Banking Association (OBA)
[Jon Band, 202/887-1500]
Association of Research Libraries (ARL
[Prue Adler, 202/296-2296]
Commercial Internet Exchange Association (CIX)
[Eric Lee, 202/797-8743]
Digital Future Coalition (DFC)
[Skip Lockwood, 202/628-6048]
American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
[Robert Oakley, 202/662-9161]
Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
[John Scheibel, 202/783-0070]
Special Libraries Association (SLA)
[John Crosby, 202/234-4700]
American Library Association (ALA)
[Adam Eisgrau, 202/628-8410]