Letter to the Senate from 47 Companies and Organizations that Oppose the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act.
September 10, 2020
Hon. Orrin G.
Re: Opposition to Database Protection Title of Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The undersigned 47 corporations and organizations include many of the nation's leading consumers and producers of databases. As such, we have a vested interest in assuring both that collections of information are adequately protected under law, and that such protection not be so broad as to inhibit fair competition, innovation, economic development, research and education. Because the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act (H.R. 2652 and S. 2291) fails to strike such a balance, we strongly oppose it and its inclusion by the House in unrelated WIPO treaty legislation. Moreover, there is a concern that the inclusion of database protection legislation as Title V of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act could jeopardize its passage.
We especially appreciate your recent efforts to convene representatives of many affected industries and institutions to discuss whether (and, if so, to what degree) collections of information may require greater legal protection than that afforded by current state and federal law. On the basis of more than 35 hours of staff-moderated roundtable discussions, however, we regret to report that no consensus has been reached on this extremely complex and important issue. Indeed, the process has served to document how profound a change in present law proponents of H.R. 2652 and S. 2291 are seeking and how far apart the principal parties thus remain. In addition, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice have detailed their respective concerns regarding the adverse negative effects and potentially unconstitutional scope of the pending legislation.
Accordingly, Mr. Chairman, we respectfully urge you to: (1) eliminate H.R. 2652 (now Title V of your Digital Millennium Copyright Act), or any other form of new database protection, from unrelated legislation to implement the WIPO treaties considered in the remaining days of this Congress; (2) defer Judiciary Committee consideration of S. 2291 or any other database protection legislation until the 106th Congress; (3) request a General Accounting Office assessment of the potential economic impact of S. 2291; and (4) absent broad agreement among affected industries and institutions, schedule at least one Judiciary Committee hearing on this issue prior to marking up any database protection legislation that may be introduced next year.
Thank you again for your efforts to date, Mr. Chairman. We look forward to continuing to work productively with your staff—and with database protection proponents—to craft legislation next year that will both appropriately protect valuable collections of information, as well as foster competition and the public interest.
cc: Sen. Patrick Leahy