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(2) The item relating to section 1338 in the table of sections for chapter 85 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting “misappropriations of collections of information," after “trade-marks,".
(c) PLACE FOR BRINGING ACTIONS.-(1) Section 1400 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
"(c) Civil actions arising under chapter 14 of title 17, relating to misappropriation of collections of information, may be brought in the district in which the defendant or the defendant's agent resides or may be found.".
(2) The section heading for section 1400 of title 28, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: "§ 1400. Patents and copyrights, mask works, designs, and collections of in
formation”. (3) The item relating to section 1400 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 87 of title 28, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
“1400. Patents and copyrights, mask works, designs, and collections of information.".
(d) COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS JURISDICTION.-Section 1498(e) of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting "and to protections afforded collections of information under chapter 14 of title 17" after "chapter 9 of title 17". SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.
(a) IN GENERAL. — This title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply to acts committed on or after that date.
(b) PRIOR ACTS NOT AFFECTED. - No person shall be liable under chapter 14 of title 17, United States Code, as added by section 2 of this Act, for the use of information lawfully extracted from a collection of information prior to the effective date of this Act, by that person or by that person's predecessor in interest.
During today's hearing we will hear from an array of different witnesses, in and out of Government, commercial and non-profit entities, for and against the legislation. We are committed, as we always have been, to listen to any constructive suggestion which leads us to the best possible law for all.
Let me note at this time that we did extend an invitation to commercial entities who have raised concerns about the legislation. Unfortunately, they were not able to produce a witness to be here this morning but it is my understanding they have submitted a statement for the record. I wanted to mention this to you so you'll understand that no one has been shut off from this debate.
I read an article over the holidays which described this legislation as Armageddon and insinuated that we rammed this bill through last year underhandedly and heavy-handedly. Now, I've been accused of having rocks in my head before but I've never been compared to a giant rock which will carelessly wipe out society. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. What the author did not inform the reader was that he represented a client with a position on the bill, that he himself had testified at one of our two hearings we held on the legislation, and that we had considered and adopted some of the amendments he had suggested to us.
I point this out not to provoke a fight but to clarify our work. The way we do business, I have said many times: you don't need a visa to see us. Democrats on the one hand, Republicans on the
other; you all can get through our doors on these intellectual property issues.
Again, I want to reiterate my staff and I, along with other members of the subcommittee, have met with dozens of parties on all sides of these issues and will continue to do so in the future. We have worked arduously to this end: to meet, gather and incorporate as many suggestions in the bill as we feel appropriate. I am committed to doing everything in our power to see that we complete this legislation this year and it is always better when we can do it together.
Now, before I recognize my friend from California let me get something off of my mind. Folks, I am an easy dog to hunt with. With my man of letters over there, I am an easy dog with whom to hunt. (Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. Mitch Glazier, our chief counsel, met with Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly's executive director regarding Mrs. Schlafly's concern about this bill encouraging the dissemination of private medical records. It is my belief that the bill does not so encourage such dissemination but Mr. Glazier agreed with Mrs. Schlafly's executive director that we would engage in dialogue and try to work this matter out prior to fighting our fights publicly.
Yesterday when I picked up the Washington Times I needed asbestos gloves to handle that radioactive article. Mrs. Schlafly's name appeared thereon and much of that article, my friends, was laced very generously with misinformation, with deception.
I guess what I resent most vividly is the fact that she accused me or she implied that I'm in the pocket of various special interests up here. That's an insult to me and it's an insult to the special interests she mentioned and she owes me an apology. For the record, I am not holding my breath until I get that apology. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. But folks, having said all that, I don't expect everybody to agree with every piece of legislation that surfaces here but we proved last session of Congress that we could work these things out and I'm willing to do this now. But I felt obliged to mention that in case you all read that article yesterday, to know from where I'm coming. And if you didn't read it you may want to forget about it. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. Having said that, I'm pleased to recognize the ranking member, Representative Berman, from California.
Mr. BERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Given the choice of siding with you or Phyllis Schlafly--[Laughter.]
Mr. Coble. Would the gentleman yield just a minute? What makes this so ironic is I probably vote identically with the way Ms. Schlafly wants me to vote a hundred percent of the time.
Mr. DELAHUNT. You should reconsider that, Mr. Chairman. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from California.
This truly is a momentous day. Not only are we having a hearing on one of the most exciting pieces of legislation ever to have been introduced in Congress but we are celebrating the anniversary of the birth of our chairman. I just wanted to have everybody know.
Mr. BERMAN. I would sing Happy Birthday except I wouldn't want to be accused of being public funding of the arts. (Laughter.]
Mr. BERMAN. Well, enough of that.
I want to express my appreciation for your leadership in addressing the database protection issue. There is widespread agreement in Congress that this issue deserves our prompt attention. Last year we passed this legislation twice in the House. Since then discussions with those who create databases and those who use databases have led to some significant improvements in the legislation. Most notably, as you mentioned, there is a new provision clarifying what constitutes a permitted act by users of databases for purposes of illustration, explanation, example, comment, criticism, teaching, research or analysis in an amount appropriate and customary for that purpose.
Taking the copyright analogy, the analogy here would be the fair use of protected materials. I support the legislation because I don't like the idea that simply because databases can not be copyrighted creators of databases should live without assurance that as a general matter they will be compensated for their efforts.
That's not to say that I don't have some questions about all the provisions of this bill, or that I don't agree that there remain serious concerns that we need to address. I've heard some of the concerns of the scientific and research communities and believe those concerns merit further discussion. Our hearing will be a major step toward that, I trust.
I understand the administration continues to have concerns which also I think have a great deal of merit to them. However, I recognize that there may be some here today that maintain strongly held views opposing any legislation in this area. They will pick at this provision and that provision and perhaps theoretically acknowledge a need to do something but there is nothing that they are for, and I have to disagree with that position.
I think there are just and good reasons to provide protection from misappropriation to those who make substantial investments in the development of databases. Others have no right to a "free ride" simply because there is a gap in the law. It's not simply that I'm against "free rides," it's that if we just continue to allow "free riding," then the creators of databases won't have the incentive to continue developing these really incredibly important, new and valuable tools for our own societal advancement. And disincentivizing that kind of work is not in our country's interest.
So the concerns that are most meaningful to me, in terms of people's concerns about this bill, are those expressed with an appreciation of the need for Congress to act to protect databases from the inappropriate exploitation.
I think H.R. 354 is a very solid start toward that end and I look forward to hearing the views of each of our witnesses today. I expect that we will start thinking about how to resolve, if we can resolve, any of the differences that remain between those that have an interest in this issue, and I yield back my time.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Folks, we have a busy day today. Normally the chairman and the ranking member are the only ones who want to speak but if others have brief opening statements I will recognize them.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I won't take very long but I do want to express my best wishes for a very happy birthday for the chairman. He asked for this to happen on his birthday. (Laughter.)
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. So he has no one to blame but himself.
But I also thank you for drawing my attention to the Washington Times article, which I must have missed yesterday. So I'm going to have to take a look at it. (Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Jim.
Ms. LOFGREN. I also wish you a happy birthday and thank you for scheduling this hearing early. I think this is important and, as my colleagues know, I have a number of issues that I hope will be considered by this committee. I think we can sort through them. I look forward to hearing those issues addressed. I only hope we can find the time to collaborate and address these issues successfully. I agree that we shall build this year and that will give us enough time to strike a balance.
Thanks again, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentlelady. You're right, I think the timing is important. We have a good time frame here in which to work.
The gentleman from Indiana.
Mr. PEASE. Mr. Chairman, I'm more than willing to join in the singing of Happy Birthday, assuming Mr. Berman has paid his ASCAP fees. (Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from Massachusetts.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Let me add to those happy birthday sentiments and let me just say one thing. Mr. Chairman, any suggestion that you are beholden to any special interest - I want to make a matter of record and a public statement here because I can sense your anger and I'm sure it was justified-is absolutely absurd.
You know, your leadership in this committee during the 105th Congress resulted in legislation that we can all be proud of and you are to be commended for that.
You know, this bill is important not for its benefits to any special interest but because it benefits the American people. And I'm sure we'll hear testimony to that effect. That the maintenance and supporting of databases has led to remarkable advances in the quality of life for the American people. That's really what we are about. This subcommittee historically has been a committee that has worked in a bipartisan fashion and we will continue to do that.
I think it's important to make that statement, put it out there on the record to let everybody know. I know there are some issues here that have to be addressed. We will sort them out and we'll come up with the right conclusion.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I guess one reason why I was so annoyed about the article, it implied not only that I'm on the take, by implication it implied that
the rest of you who support this legislation are as well. And I apologize, folks, if I appeared overly angry but I can't conceal it. Thank you, Bill, for your good comments.
The gentleman from the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, Mr. Goodlatte.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I just want to apologize for not being here when we all observed the 29th anniversary of your 39th birthday. (Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. Get him out of here. (Laughter.]
And also to observe that obviously the interest in this issue and the work of this committee is not reflective just of the standing room only crowd we have today but we held hearings on encryption a couple of weeks ago and we had the same circumstance. So we may need to let the powers that be know that we need larger hearing rooms for this committee. We're where it's at.
Mr. COBLE. You weren't here when I said this, Bob: we did try to get 2141 but it was already taken.
Mr. DELAHUNT. That was bankruptcy, Mr. Chairman. I happen to serve on that subcommittee too. I chose to be with you today, though. [Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. The gentleman from East Tennessee, Mr. Jenkins.
Mr. JENKINS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Obviously I missed something. I'm sorry. I guess I'll have to ask for a copy of the printed record to catch up here.
I look forward to this hearing today and obviously there's a great deal of interest.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Jenkins.
Since the gentleman from California and the gentleman from Indiana referred to the arts and since Howard mentioned my birthday, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this-and I'm paraphrasing now, Bill - but the lyrics of the rock and roll song some years ago went thusly: "Time marches on, time marches on, the young gets old, the old gets old, time marches on'. (Laughter.]
Mr. COBLE. I'm afraid I'm in that latter category.
Folks, bear with us. It's going to be a long day. We have a full calendar of activity on the floor that will commence imminently, if it hasn't already started. I will ask you all, as I have done previously and you all have been very cooperative to this end, when you see that red light illuminate in your eyes you will know that your 5 minutes have elapsed. We're not going to keel-haul anybody for going over that but I urge you when you see that 5 minutes to try to wrap it up because our second panel consists of eight witnesses and it's going be a long time. We're probably going to be interrupted with votes on the floor, so we do need to finish this today.
I assure you your written testimony will be examined thoroughly and if you can keep your oral testimony within the 5 minute time frame we will be appreciative.
Our first witness will be the Honorable Marybeth Peters who is Register of Copyrights for the United States. She has also served as acting counsel at the Copyright Office and is chief of both the Examining and Information Reference divisions. She has served as a consultant on copyright law to the World Intellectual Property