Editors Side Bar:
The following letter and 54 signatories represent
an awe-inspiring testimonial to the dedication and hard work of a remarkable
group, the Digital Future Coalition, under the direction of Skip Lockwood.
Dr. Negroponte observed, "The digital revolution is over. We now live
in a digital civilization." Those of us who are involved in education,
(and truly, who is not), need to take part in the process by which this
new civilization will function. We need to cohesively and clearly provide
support to development of optimal teaching/learning environments. Here
is the letter drafted by Mr. Lockwood and digitally distributed far and
wide¹ to focus on an issue of great import to education. The success accorded
to his efforts is documented in the impressive list of signatories.
With floor action on "database" legislation likely, we
write to urge you to support H.R. 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access
to Information Act. We believe it strikes the appropriate balance between
the interests of Information consumers and database owners. This bipartisan
bill 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, the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act.
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.
(The 54 signatories to the database letter as of 12:00 p.m. on Feb.8,
Amdahl Corporation 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 Film Heritage Association
American Library Association
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
AT&T Ball Research, Inc.
Bloomberg Financial Markets
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Citizens¹ 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 Digital Future Coalition DLJdirect, Inc.
Dun & Bradstreet Eagle Forum Electronics Industries Alliance
Information Technology Association of America
Linguistic Society of America
Music Library Association
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
Mr. Skip Lockwood and the Digital
Futures Coalition may be reached via mail: 8th floor, 21 Dupont Circle,
Washington, DC, 20036: voice: 202-533-2004, fax: 202-872-0884, email:email@example.com