Washington, D.C., June 15, 1999 – Today before the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, CCIA President Ed Black expressed his support for H.R. 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act of 1999. He also expressed very strong reservations regarding other legislative proposals that would confer market dominance of one database creator over another.
In his statement, Black told the subcommittee, “We have now entered the “Information Age” and we are faced with the issue of striking the proper balance between legislating to halt the misappropriation of databases and overly broad legislative proposals that stifle creativity and commerce.”
He went on to say, “Given the choice between a proposal that confers proprietary control for a period of time, over a myriad of uses for facts and information already in the public domain or a proposal that simply addresses the threat of “parasitic”conduct by competitors that infringes on rights that exist in contracts of Copyright law today; we should choose the narrower approach.
The Congress currently has two competing proposals before it. The Bliley bill and a bill introduced by Judiciary Subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-N.C.). While both seek to address the problem of piracy of databases, a large coalition of commercial interests, trade associations, and non-profit consumer, educational, library and research groups have united to support the Bliley bill. CCIA is an active member in this coalition. The members of the coalition share the principle concern that the Coble bill, H.R. 354, would unnecessarily restrict the ability of new creators of databases to use the underlying facts and information found in existing databases. Facts and data are found in public domain and restrictions on the use of that material would restrict the flow of information for all consumers as well as hamper scientific and educational research. The Bliley bill targets the issue of database piracy without restricting the use of the facts and data that are essential to the continued growth and health of the database industry.