The reintroduction of a

              "Collections of Information Antipiracy Act"
               Sen.  Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
                     who is in destruction mode as usual
               Rep.  Howard Coble (R-North Carolina)
                     of whom I am ashamed.

Start a Brief Venting:

The very idea that the copyright to texts of opinions of our own Courts
could be given by congress to giant corporations is so repugnant and
disgusting an injustice that I confess to being ashamed that Congressman
Coble of my own State is involved in this attempted outrage.

End venting.

Start logical analysis:

To whom does the law of United States of America belong?  Begin rather
with the seminal question: to whom does the Constitution of the United
States of America belong?

It cannot belong to any part or the whole of the very government which
it brings into existence and by which this government is itself governed.
If it can be said to 'belong' or 'be the property' of anybody, it is the
property of of People of the United States of America.

Though judicial opinions are written by judges, they are written within
their official judical capcity, and however elegantly the knife of
judicial logic may have been wielded, these writings cannot be considered
the property of the writers, any more than can a governmental form be
considered the property of the person who fills it in.

All law proceeds as a logical consequence, ultimately through the Supreme
Court, from the Constitution.  All this law is then by inherited property,
also the property of People of the United States of America.  It is not
the property of the Congress, and it is not for the Congress to dispose
of in any way.  In this, the Congress exceeds its authority.  Any act
as conceived of by Senators Hatch and Coble is: unconstitutional, a
clear act of theft and an utter betrayal of the People of the United
States, as well of the very Constitution that brings Congress into legal

Please let this Act not be.

Email or write your Senators and Representatives -
Congressional Email Directory

The Attachment ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 00:54:12 -0400 (EDT) From: "David P. Dillard" Reply-To: To: LawTalk Subject: [LawTalk] Emergency Letter to Sen. Hatch The author of the message below is involved with the Guttenberg Project to place classic literature on the web for all to read at no cost, so it is not supprising that he is trying to protect the right of the public to read law code, case and other legal information, that law publishing firms are losing control over due to free web access. I therefore felt that members of this list should have a chance to read his words and become aware of this issue and the position that Mr Hartmann has taken toward it. Sincerely, David Dillard Temple University (215) 204 - 4584 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 15:08:28 -0400 From: hartmann Reply-To: To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Emergency Letter to Sen. Hatch Please forward a copy of this letter to anyone you can as soon as you can. Thanks Carl Hartmann =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Law Offices of Carl J. Hartmann, III Attorney-at-Law Carl J. Hartmann, III Telephone: (212) 595-0959 Admitted: NM & USVI Facsimile : (212) 595-1432 May 21, 1999 Hon. Orrin G. Hatch Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary Washington, D.C. 20510-6275 Re: Collections of Information Antipiracy Act Dear Senator Hatch: I write you one last time on this matter -- begging that you do what is right for the people of the United States rather than just a couple of huge, rich foreign corporations. I am one of the 2 lead attorneys who litigated the successful recent copyright case against West Publishing in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit. Both the Southern District of New York and the second Circuit Court of Appeals have rejected the same "special interests" that the present bill would reward. West has sought certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on both issues therein. I thank you for your kind and thoughtful letter of January 25, 1999 on this subject -- and would like to point out several additional facts with regard to the attempts by the two major, foreign corporations involved -- to effectively monopolize access to U.S. Law. CNET reported: Rep. Howard Coble (R-North Carolina) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are once again spearheading legislation to protect the "brow sweat" and deep pockets of database creators and publishers, such as WestLaw, Reed Elsevier, which owns major periodicals, and Lexis-Nexis. "Developing, compiling, distributing, and maintaining commercially significant collections requires substantial investments of time, personnel, and money," Coble said on the House floor last month when he reintroduced the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act. "The bottom line is clear: it is time to consider new federal legislation to protect developers who place their materials in interstate commerce against piracy and unfair competition." I ask that whatever is finally enacted have a "carve-out" provision to except all federal and state law before 1995 -- the year that it first became clear that West and others were claiming a copyright in the text part of judicial decisions actually authored by judges. See the two second Circuit decisions (both titled MATTHEW BENDER & COMPANY, INC. and HYPERLAW, INC. v. WEST PUBLISHING CO., at 158 F.3d 693 (page numbers) and 158 F.3d 674 (text of judges opinions)-- both just decided on November 3, 1998. I want to make it clear that West and other publishers are not seeking to "protect" just their headnotes, key numbers and summaries-- but, rather, the actual text of decisions written by judges of federal and state courts. In the action before the SDNY, West took the position that it had a copyright on the opinion part of the reports in its Supreme Court Reporters, Federal Reporters and Federal Supplements. It also claimed a copyright in the citations -- the page numbering references. The Court found otherwise -- as did the Second Circuit. Yesterday, in an article entitled "Copyright bill may protect database owners", <>" a reporter for CNET stated: A key congressional subcommittee today is considering whether to tighten the law to give database owners landmark protections for collections of proprietary facts and public data. The House Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property will debate and consider amendments to Rep. <>. (R-North Carolina) and Sen. <>. (R-Utah) <>. The bill aims to protect the "brow sweat" and deep pockets of database creators and publishers, such as WestLaw, Reed Elsevier, and Lexis-Nexis. But researchers, a variety of industries, and Net search directories say the act would give a select group of companies an unprecedented grip -- on everything from usage rights to price setting -- on the information they gather. Engineers, scientists, and product developers often have used free, published material to foster new creations. From Web crawlers to medical journal articles, nationwide court rulings, phone directories, and stock quotes, electronic database operators typically don't own copyrights on the facts they catalog. Instead they profit from aggregating and updating data and then making it instantly available to paying customers. With the proliferation of the Internet and CD-ROMs, which make it easier to copy information, database assemblers are lobbying for new safeguards for their current businesses and future ventures. The effect of giving some sort of "super-protection" to two companies which are owned by foreign giants will to be monopolize the law -- for in many cases, the only valid copies of those cases "belong" to West or Lexis. I implore you to carve out this exception. Moreover, I implore you to look into the secret agreements between West and Lexis which originated in the late 80's -- and which both have referred to in court proceedings the 90's -- but which remain secret. These were agreements for the control of "Caselaw" and "Statutes". They have resulted in a two entity industry, where two giants control all of the major on-line access to the law, and a good deal of the book-based research. I would, therefore, propose the following language: "Excepted from these provisions are the judicial opinion portion and citations to any collection of federal, state, or administrative caselaw; and the governmentally authored portions of, and citations to collections of state and federal statutes, codes and regulations." If West and Lexis will not accept this, then it is clear what they are really up to! Please do not give these corporations ownership of U.S. law. Please, at least read the history of these cases, and prior attempts to force this sort of legislation through at '' Please do not increase the cost of access to the law by more than 400% by creating a protected monopoly that was gained in a way which you do not understand. At the very least, cut this portion out into a separate bill -- and allow a year for full and knowledgeable discussion by the public, lawyers and judges. The Congress should know (1) how these companies originally obtained many of these cases, (2) the decision of Judge Martin with regard to alleged threats by West, and (3) the methods used to influence decision-makers regarding access to these materials. Sincerely, pl:CJH 72-08 243rd Street x 126 Sussex Street Douglaston, NY 11363 Jersey City, NJ 07302 111 Broadway, 13th Floor 18 Dronningens Gade New York, NY 10006 St. Thomas, USVI 00803 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= ------------------------------------------------------------------------ FreeShop is the #1 place for free and trial offers and great deals! Try something new and discover more ways to save! home: - Simplifying group communications

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Created: June 27, 1999
Last Updated: May 28, 2000