FYI, Curtiss, intellectual property bill (fwd)

Tom Coffin (
Mon, 1 Dec 1997 10:17:25 -0600 (CST)


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Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 10:33:35 EST
From: Curt Priest <cpriest@JUNO.COM>
To: Multiple recipients of list CYBER-SOC <CYBER-SOC@LISTSERV.READADP.COM>
Subject: FYI, Curtiss, intellectual property bill

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From: Phil Agre <>
Subject: intellectual property bill
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 08:47:44 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <>

[That's right, another attack on the Internet and on traditional "fair
protections that snuck through Congress very quietly with testimony only
from its beneficiaries and not from professional groups, librarians,

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Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:55:02 -0400
From: Lauren Gelman <gelman@ACM.ORG>

November 25, 1997

President William J. Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Clinton:

The Association for Computing's U.S. Public Policy Committee
believes that the "No Electronic Theft Act" (H.R. 2265), which is now
before you, does not adequately reflect the nature of the new digital
environment and will have a negative impact on the rich scientific
communications that have developed on the Internet in many fields,
including computer science. For this reason, we are asking you to veto
legislation. We agree that copyright holders have a legitimate need to
protect their intellectual property. However, we are concerned that the
bill was rushed through both Houses of Congress without careful
consideration of its unintended consequences.

We are concerned the Bill may:

* Restrict scientists and other professionals from making their
research available on the Internet for use by colleagues and students.
Most scientists do not own the copyright on their own materials.
that copyright ownership is retained by the scientific journal which
peer-reviews and publishes the research. Under the No Electronic Theft
Act, an author who posts their research on the Internet, and whose
documents are frequently read on-line, could be subject to criminal
prosecution. If the bill becomes law, scientists may have to choose
between having their work peer-reviewed or making it widely available.

* Criminalize the transfer of information that is currently
under the U.S. 'fair use' doctrine. Copyright law is derived from the
Constitution and is intended to advance "science and the useful arts."
fair-use doctrine protects reading and nonprofit copying and thus allows
scientists and educators to openly exchange information. H.R. 2265 does
not explicitly protect the "fair use" privilege which makes this open
exchange of scientific information possible.

* Chill free speech in universities and research labs. The
terminology used in the Bill, including "willingly" and "for profit," are
not defined; it is unclear what the parameters of a criminally
copyright infringement are. As a result, it is likely that many
institutions will mandate that all copyrighted documents be removed from
the net to avoid having to defend copyright infringement prosecutions.

We hope that you will veto this measure and ask your staff to
with Congress during the next session to develop more sensible


Dr. Barbara Simons Chair,
U.S. Public Policy Committee
Association For Computing

The Association for Computing (ACM) is the largest and oldest
association of computer scientists in the United States. ACM's U.S.
Policy Committee (USACM) facilitates communication between computer
scientists and policy makers on issues of concern to the computing

cc: Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
Ira Magaziner, Senior Adviser to President
Brian Kahin, Office of Science Technology and Public Policy.
Henry J. Hyde, Chair, House Judiciary Committee
John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee
Howard Coble, Chair, Courts and Intellectual Property
House Judiciary Committee
Orrin G. Hatch, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee
Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
John Ashcroft, Chair, Constitution, Federalism and Property
Subcommittee, Senate Judiciary Committee
Mike DeWine, Chair, Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition
Subcommittee, Senate Judiciary Comittee
Representative Virgil H. Goode
Representative Barney Frank, House Judiciary Committee
Representative Christopher Cannon, House Judiciary Committee
Representative William Delahunt, House Judiciary Committee
Representative Elton Gallegly, House Judiciary Committee
Representative Bob Clement

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Association for Computing, +
Office of U.S. Public Policy * +1 202 544 4859 (tel)
666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 302 B * +1 202 547 5482 (fax)
Washington, DC 20003 USA +

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