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ALA Action Alert: Database Protection Legislation Needs Immediate

Grassroots Action
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ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 13, Number 9
February 19, 2004

In This Issue: ACTION ALERT: Database Protection Legislation needs
immediate grassroots action!

H.R. 3261, the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriations
Act, has the support of House leadership and is gaining momentum. On
February 12, the House Judiciary Committee reported out the bill with
amendments and referred it to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  
Energy and Commerce Committee has until March 12, 2004 to act on the bill.
See the bill at www.thomas.loc.gov

It is crucial that library advocates with Representatives sitting on the
House Energy and Commerce Committee tell their Representatives it is time
to oppose this legislation.

H.R. 3261 would create what amounts to ownership rights in a wide variety
of data including facts.  Despite opposition from the libraries, an array
of business concerns including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
telecommunications, financial services and high technology organizations,
the House leadership has been committed to passing the legislation.

Talking Points
* Despite years of negotiation, H.R. 3261 is not acceptable to
libraries and other opponents.

* H.R. 3261 is simply not necessary. Existing laws are adequate to
protect the interests of the database producers, who have yet to prove
that their businesses have suffered because of any failure in the law.

* H.R. 3261 gives broad protections to database producers and will lead
to reduced competition in the database market and increased costs to
libraries at a time when the cost of academic journals and access to
technical, scientific and medical information is already prohibitively
expensive for many libraries.

* H.R. 3261 is too vague and will add to uncertainty in the law and
increase the likelihood of litigation.

* The narrow exemption for nonprofit educational, scientific and
research institutions is inadequate because of the ambiguous language in
the bill. Also, the exemption could be overridden by terms in
"shrink-wrap" or non-negotiated contracts.

* H.R. 3261 makes it permissible, in effect, to copyright facts - a
practice never allowed under copyright law.  By doing so, the bill could
give database producers both retroactive and perpetual rights to a wide
variety of information.

These talking points are also available online with contact information
for your Representatives. Go to ALA's Contact Congress legislative action
center. www.capwiz.com/ala.

E-Mail or fax the Representatives on the Energy and Commerce Committee

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

John B. Shadegg

Christopher Cox
George Radanovich
Mary Bono
Darrell Issa
Henry A. Waxman
Anna G. Eshoo
Lois Capps
Hilda L. Solis

Diana DeGette

Michael Bilirakis
Cliff Stearns
Peter Deutsch
Jim Davis

Nathan Deal
Charlie Norwood

C.L. "Butch" Otter

John Shimkus
Bobby L. Rush
Jan Schakowsky

Steve Buyer

Ed Whitfield

W.J. "Billy" Tauzin,  Chairman
Christopher John

Tom Allen

Albert R. Wynn

Karen McCarthy

Edward J. Markey

Fred Upton
Mike Rogers
John D. Dingell, Ranking Member
Bart Stupak

Charles "Chip" Pickering

Karen McCarthy

Lee Terry

New Hampshire
Charles F. Bass

New Jersey
Mike Ferguson
Frank Pallone Jr.

New Mexico
Heather Wilson

New York
Vito Fossella
Edolphus Towns
Eliot L. Engel

North Carolina
Richard Burr,Vice Chairman

Paul E. Gillmor
Sherrod Brown

John Sullivan

Greg Walden

James C. Greenwood
Joseph R. Pitts
Michael F. Doyle

Bart Gordon

Ralph M. Hall
Joe Barton
Gene Green
Charles A. Gonzalez

Rick Boucher

Barbara Cubin

ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the
American Library Association Washington Office. All materials subject to
copyright by the American Library Association may be reprinted or
redistributed for noncommercial purposes with appropriate credits.

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