ARCHIVED: AALL Government Relations Office

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Position Statement

The corporations, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and trade associations listed below are users as well as creators in the compilation and value-added transformation of databases. The Information Age and digital technology provide researchers and consumers across the globe with a unique opportunity to continue to create, maintain, and use new and innovative databases that are essential to science, education, business, and the overall economy.

Because databases are items of commerce in their own right, and are critical tools for facilitating electronic commerce, research and education endeavors, we support Federal legislation carefully tailored to provide database publishers with sufficient protection against incentive-eliminating piracy. Conversely, we oppose legislation which would grant the compiler of any information an unprecedented right to control transformative, value-added, downstream uses of the resulting collection or of any useful fraction of that collection.

The basic information policy of this country -- a policy that has existed since the writing of the Constitution -- has served us extremely well. The policy is that the building blocks of all information -- facts, as distinct from the copyrightable manner in which they are expressed -- cannot be owned.

The particular legislative approach that has been considered by the House Judiciary Committee in the past three Congresses would mark a fundamental change in our nation's information policy. The problems raised by this change to commerce and competition were recognized by the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, and the Federal Trade Commission last year in separate letters to Congress identifying their concerns with H.R. 2652 considered by the 105th Congress. H.R. 354, the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act, is modeled on last year's bill and does not resolve these concerns.

We support Federal legislation that will not harm legitimate research activities and small businesses, but will


  • prevent unfair competition in the form of parasitic copying;
  • preserve the fair use of information;
  • promote the progress of science, education and research;
  • protect value-added publishers and their customers; and
  • provide safeguards against monopolistic pricing.
We look forward to working closely with all Members of Congress to craft well-reasoned, targeted and balanced legislation that will punish database pirates without jeopardizing the thriving commerce in information long at the core of America's economic, scientific and intellectual life.

Amazon.Com, Inc.
Amdahl Corporation
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Law Libraries
American Association of Legal Publishers
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
American Committee for Interoperable Systems
American Council on Education
American Film Heritage Association
American Library Association
American Meteorological Society
American Society of Agronomy
American Statistical Association
Art Libraries Society of North America
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Association of American Universities
Association of Research Libraries
Ball Research, Inc.
Bell Atlantic
Big 12 Plus Libraries Consortium
Bloomberg Financial Markets
California Institute of Technology
Case Western Reserve University
CDnow, Inc.
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Citizens' Council on Healthcare
College Art Association
Columbia University
Commercial Internet eXchange Association
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Conference on College Composition and Communication
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association
Consumer Project on Technology
Cornell University
Council of Graduate Schools
Council on Governmental Relations
Crop Science Society of America
Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc.
Digital Future Coalition
Digital Media Association
Duke University
Dun & Bradstreet
Eagle Forum
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Enso Audio Imaging, Inc.
Global Music Outlet, Inc.
Harvard University
Home Recording Rights Coalition
Information Technology Association of America
Internet Society
Iowa State University
Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology
Louisiana State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MCI WorldCom
Medical Library Association
Missouri Council on Library Development
Music Library Association
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
National Council of Teachers of English
National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage
National Writers Union
NetRadio Network, Inc.
Netscape Communications Corporation
North Carolina State University
Northwestern University
Online Banking Association
Pennsylvania State University
Queens Borough Public Library, NY
RealNetworks, Inc.
Rutgers University
Soil Science Society of America
Special Libraries Association
Spinner Network, inc.
Syracuse University
United States Catholic Conference
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado
University of Florida
University of Michigan
University of Missouri - St. Louis
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of New Orleans
University of North Carolina -- Charlotte
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Texas at Austin
University of Utah
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University System of Maryland
Utah Agricultural Experiment Station
Vanderbilt University
Visual Resources Association
Washington University, St. Louis
Wells Anderson Legal Tech Services
Yahoo! Inc.
Yale University