February 8, 2000
With floor action likely on competing versions of "database" legislation, we write to urge you to support H.R. 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act rather than H.R. 354, the "Collections of Information Antipiracy Act." H.R. 1858 is a bipartisan bill that will preserve value-added downstream uses of information and protect the interests of consumers, educators, small businesses, scientists, and the high-tech community, while providing database producers with additional legal tools to protect their databases.
We fully appreciate the efforts to provide relief through the adoption of H.R. 354. We are concerned, however, that the measure could have unintended consequences that would hurt consumers, educators, small businesses, scientists, and the high-tech community. For example, H.R.354 includes a broad prohibition on the use of facts and then relies on narrow exceptions to deal with issues such as fair use and value-added publications. In our view, the exceptions in H.R. 354 are too vaguely worded and will require extensive judicial interpretation to clarify. Moreover, we are concerned that H.R. 354 could lead to permanent monopoly control over downstream uses of certain information.
When database legislation reaches the floor, we believe you will better promote the interests of information consumers and the businesses driving our economy by supporting H.R. 1858 instead of H.R. 354. We therefore urge you to vote for H.R. 1858.
America Online, Inc.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Law Libraries
American Association of Legal Publishers
American Committee for Interoperable Systems
American Council of Learned Societies
American Council on Education
American Film Heritage Association
American Library Association
American Meteorological Society
Art Libraries Society of North America
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Association of American Universities
Association of Research Libraries
Association of University Technology Managers
Ball Research, Inc.
Bloomberg Financial Markets
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Citizens, Council on Health Care
College Art Association
Computer & Communications Industry Association
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Computing Technology Industry Association
Consumer Electronics Association
Consumer Project on Technology
Council of Graduate Schools
Council on Governmental Relations
Digital Future Coalition
Dun & Bradstreet
Electronics Industries Alliance
Information Technology Association of America
Linguistic Society of America
Music Library Association
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
National Humanities Alliance
North Carolina State University Libraries
Queens Borough Public Library, NY
Reuters America Inc.
Securities Industry Association
Special Libraries Association
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
United States Catholic Conference
Visual Resources Association
Wells Anderson Legal Tech Services