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[Fwd: fyi:Database Protection Bill May Come to Vote in U.S. House]

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  • Subject: [Fwd: fyi:Database Protection Bill May Come to Vote in U.S. House]
  • From: Howard Flack <Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:47:09 GMT
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Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:30:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Gail Hodge <Gailhodge@AOL.COM>
Subject: fyi:Database Protection Bill May Come to Vote in U.S. House
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APOLOGIES FOR DUPLICATE POSTING.

According to ALAWON (Feb. 8) the American Library Association e-newsletter,
H.R. 354, the Collections of Information
Antipiracy Act, could come to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives as
early as Feb. 14.  This bill was not voted on in the last session which ended
in October, due in part to the efforts of the library community.  H.R. 354 is
supported by the publishing and database communities.  It defines broad
prohibitions related to database usage and then carves out specific
exemptions.  It provides protection from all substantial copying of
databases, whether the copying is
for commercial or noncommercial purposes.  There is no exemption for Fair Use
for libraries, education, journalism or research.

In 1999, the U.S. library community drafted and had proposed H.R. 1858 through
the House Commerce Committee, in direct opposition to H.R. 354. This is a very
narrow
bill.  It specifically targets the "parasitical copying of commercial
databases".  It permits transformative, downstream uses of data, which are
considered important to the research and scientific communities.  It has
strong Fair Use provisions, and prohibits database producers from refusing
to
license their databases.  However, according to James Neal, Head of the
Library at Johns Hopkins Univ. and a frequent provider of Congressional
testimony on these bills, H.R. 1858 does not seem to be "anywhere at this
point" (personal communication - Feb. 9).

ALAWON considers the passage of H.R. 354 to be "one of the top legislative
priorities for the House Judiciary Committee".  (These database protection
bills are seen as a response to the European Database Directive which
provides protection only to databases from countries that have similar
legislation.)  It is also apparent that the library community is once again
gearing up to stop the vote.

For more information see http://www.ala.org/washoff/copyright.html

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