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Mr. VIVIAN. For example, there could be a reproduction price, or a publication price with some significant amount of overhead added.
Dr. SEITZ. As I recall, the Bureau of Standards at present does charge a fee for its standards. If a company writes in and wants certain standards, it charges a fee. I don't know whether they attempt to recoup all of the expenses of preparing the standard, but they try to recoup some and this gives them a fund whereby they can then be in a better position to render service to other organizations which ask.
I would think some rational scheme—and I am not prepared to invent it in detail here--could be set up to allow the rendering of a service and yet not expect to receive compensation for every cent it spends in rendering the service.
In the last analysis, one expects the Bureau of Standards to render public service.
Mr. VIVIAN. At the present time the Bureau of Standards desires to be excluded from the provisions which require publication in the Gov. ernment Printing Office, which charges something like 150 percent of the cost of printing documents. Do you see any reason to dispute their desire of not being required to use the Government Printing Office?
Dr. SEITZ. I wouldn't like to see the charges get too large. I would have to see what the charges were in individual cases to see whether they are reasonable or not.
Nr. Vivian. Would you consider charges of $1,000 a compilation a reasonable charge?
Dr. Sertz. Under certain circumstances, that would be completely reasonable. If there is a special need.
Mr. VIVIAN. Would it be fair to continue a charge of $1,000 per compilation over many users?
Dr. SEITZ. You mean charging each one a thousand dollars?
Dr. Seitz. I think you would have to consider it in terms of the work that went into the given compilation and what its uses were. If there was some highly specialized industrial use, then that might be completely reasonable. If it was a set of properties of the elements for educational purposes, I think it might be unreasonable.
Mr. VIVIAN. The reason I pick that number is that I think it is less than the true cost of any reasonable compilation. It is a high cost compared to reproduction costs of a volume. I can imagine after a hundred copies are published, it would be impossible to charge the original cost and it would seem rather difficult to charge more than reproduction cost, unless there was some banking scheme by which funds were returned to the original requester. This is not an easy question to handle.
Dr. SEITZ. And in fixing the price, one always tries to guess what the ultimate market will be and how many users there are.
Mr. Vivian. I asked this question of Dr. Hollomon yesterday and he indicated they did not desire to do a market study before each effort.
Dr. SEITZ. I think someone's intuition will have to enter into the pricing
Mr. DADDARIO. There must be some such thought developed to put the information together in the first instance. Otherwise, it would not fall within that critical area of a goal to be achieved, would it?
Dr. SEITz. Yes. Although there are many compilations of data which are necessary, not because there is an enormous volume of use, but because they are an essential link.
Mr. DADDARIO. Even in those instances, you would determine who would need it and what the value of it would be.
Dr. SEITZ. That is right. Mr. DADDARIO. You would come to some judgment of this question which Mr. Vivian raises as to the potential cost return.
Dr. Sertz. Yes. Occasionally there might be surprises, as there are in any such effort.
Mr. DADDARIO. If there are surprises, then some workable arrangement would have to be worked out to meet this problem of how not to overcharge the first users and what to charge those who came in after the costs had been set. I think Mr. Vivian raises a good point. I would expect anyone who published a compilation, in or out of Government, would have to come to some similar determination.
Dr. SEITZ. Commercial publishers are doing it all the time.
Mr. VIVIAN. May I inquire of Dr. Seitz what firms are now active in the commercial market which can provide this type of service? Suppose an industrial client wished to obtain such service. Does he have to go to the National Bureau of Standards?
Dr. SEITZ. I think on the very broad front there is no commercial organization that would cover the scope of this. There are commercial firms which would give advice in many, many areas, connected, perhaps, with radioactive materials on the one hand, or special metals for various purposes.
There are also organizations, such as the American Society for Testing Materials, which will provide information to industry.
Mr. VIVIAN. Does ASTM make a charge for such information?
Dr. SEITz. I don't know. They certainly publish many things which they sell, as any society does. Whether one pays an extra fee for special advice, I don't know.
Mr. VIVIAN. Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate it if we could have the committee staff look into the question of how these charges are set.
Mr. DADDARIO. That will be done, Mr. Vivian. Have you further questions?
Mr. VIVIAN. No further questions.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Seitz, thank you very much. We appreciate your coming
Our next witnesses are Mr. Curtis G. Benjamin, chairman of the board, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., and Mr. W. Bradford Wiley, president, John Wiley & Sons, Publishers.
Gentlemen, I understand you will be appearing together, although Mr. Benjamin will make the formal statement.
STATEMENT OF CURTIS G. BENJAMIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD,
MCGRAW-HILL BOOK CO., INC., AND W. BRADFORD WILEY, PRESIDENT, JOHN WILEY & SONS, PUBLISHERS
Mr. BENJAMIN. Mr. Chairman, we are delighted to appear before this committee. I might say members of the technical publishing industry have covered the diligent work of your subcommittee with a great deal of admiration and we are delighted to be here today.
Mr. Wiley and I represent the main two organizations for book publishing. I am representing the American Book Publishers Council and Mr. Wiley is representing the American Textbook Publishers Institute, and these two organizations together have memberships which represent about 95 percent of the commercially published books in the country.
We also represent a special group in the American Book Publishers Council. This is the technical, scientific and medical publishers group who have naturally a special interest in this legislation.
Now, before I get into my statement, I would like to say Mr. Wiley and I have had the privilege of conferring with Dr. Astin of the Bureau of Standards and with a member of Dr. Hollomon's legal staff, Mr. Christianson. A number of questions were clarified to our satisfaction and as a result of this conference we understand that the department will propose some changes and amendments in the bill as it now stands.
With your permission, I would like to start on page 2 now and read my formal statement with a few marginal comments.
I would like to begin by saying that we support the general purpose of the bill. It is appropriate for the Federal Government to sponsor and finance gathering, evaluation and editing of basic data in accordance with agreed national standards. We are also in accord with the general philosophy of the bill that those who make use of these special services for standard reference data should in some way contribute to the cost of disseminating this information.
I would say this should be a substantial contribution rather than a token contribution.
Although we support the general purposes of the bill, it seems to us that some of the specific provisions designed to carry out these purposes are open to question and should be examined further. Thus, the bulk of the rest of our statement will consist of raising questions which we believe the committee and the sponsors of the bill should carefully consider before placing any such program into operation. This was clarified in our conference last night and I think it was clarified somewhat in the testimony yesterday, so this misgiving is certainly on the way to being solved to our satisfaction.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well, I am pleased to hear that, Mr. Benjamin, because during the course of the testimony it seemed to me there was some definite indication as to private participation and dissemination of the material. What the process to bring it about would be was not clear, which gave us concern here in the committee. You have recognized, I think, that this was the case. I am pleased that you have had this discussion. We will also, as a committee, look at this matter very carefully. I have indicated time and time again that we are not bound to the language of this bill.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes. Mr. Wiley will have a little more to say to this point specifically:
Mr. WAGGONNER. Mr. Chairman, I don't believe the testimony of yesterday does any more than show that it would be possible to contract with private industry. It doesn't state any real intention of so doing.
Mr. DADDARIO. If you will recall, Mr. Waggonner, during the first day of testimony Dr. Hornig made some remarks about the participation by private publishers in the dissemination of the information.
Mr. BENJAMIN. I was not able to attend the hearings yesterday, but we were assured last night that it was the intention of the Department of Commerce to bring in the private sector as much as possible in this, and we think it is possible to bring it in quite heavily.
Mr. DADDARIO. In any case, this matter which concerns you also has bothered the committee. It is something which we will direct our attention to as we discuss the bill and its terminology, in view of the testimony we have received.
Mr. BENJAMIN. We are delighted with this, Mr. Chairman, because we think not only does this prevent freezeouts that Mr. Wiley will talk about later, but also I think it would assure wider dissemination of this material, particularly abroad. Mr. Wiley will talk about that a little later. Now I would like to turn to page 3.
My second question concerns the use of the symbol or mark as provided in section 6. It raises several questions in my mind :
(a) Is it a guarantee of accuracy or authority? If so, what is the Government's responsibility and liability for the dissemination of inaccurate material ?
(6) Is it a trademark? If so, is the use of a Federal trade mark legal?
(c) Does it establish a precedent for the U.S. Government “seal of approval"? If so, what implications are there with respect to other kinds and bodies of scientific information generated by or for the Government? If this is "grade A" information, is all other Government information "grade B” or ungraded!
(d) How will it psychologically affect the ranking of nonapproved data of similar or competing nature issued by private professional groups or industrial firms?
(e) Has the Bureau of Standards the best of critical evaluators in all areas of science covered by the data? In actual practice, will it not be necessary for much of the evaluation to be done for the Bureau by persons or organizations in the private sector?
While we sympathize with the implied purpose of the use of a symbol or mark, we seriously question whether it is proper for the Government to put what is in effect an official imprimatur on any kind of scientific data. Further, we question whether the use of such an imprimatur is really necessary.
This question, I must say, still remains in our mind. Hearing testimony and what I have heard about yesterday's testimony, and what Dr. Seitz said this morning, it seems to me this symbol resolves itself into a trademark. I thoroughly agree with Dr. Seitz that this is not necessary. I feel that the publication of this critical data under the auspices of the Bureau will be very well known in the scientific community, and I just do not agree that this will add or detract in the least from it. The other misgiving I have here is that this opens up the Government, and particularly the Bureau of Standards, to requests and probably valid requests for the validation of all other kinds of scientific and technical data, both from Government sources and from non-Government sources. It seems to me if the Government is ready to puts its stamp of approval on any one body of data, it has an obligation to evaluate other bodies of data and put the same stamp of approval on it. I would strongly urge that this symbol not be used, first, because I do not think it is necessary and, second, because I think it would establish some embarrassing precedents, to say the least.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Seitz this morning said that when the International Critical Tables were used, it was enough to reference the information. Because the tables were of such high quality, no symbol or trademark was necessary.
Mr. BENJAMIN. I think any user of this data, anyone who is competent to use the data, will know the source of the data and its background. If not, all he would have to do is to turn to the title page of the volume or print-out or the operator of the system to know its origin and to know its dependability.
Mr. DADDARIO. In the final analysis, that is the important point.
Mr. BENJAMIN. That is the very important criteria. If it comes from the U.S. Bureau of Standards, it ought to be pure, or as pure as we can make it.
I agree with Dr. Seitz' point of view on this completely.
Third, it is clear that sections 6 and 7 are intended to change existing law which prevents the copyrighting of official Government publications. We assume that this was the direct intention of the sponsors of the bill. While we can sympathize with the desire to protect the integrity of the data, we suggest that a circumvention of present law in this instance would invite many proposals and applications for similar circumventions in the in-house production of other kinds of scientific and technical information generated by Government departments and agencies. While the proposed system of Standard Reference Data will compete with only a few private publications, it is conceivable that this exemption from copyright would open the door to in-house production of similar systems of Government scientific and technical information that would widely and directly compete with publications in the private sector.
While sections 7, 8, and 9 would effectively control copying in the United States, there would be absolutely no control overy copying in foreign countries. This would, of course, be objectionable to many taxpayers. In addition, unlike copyright, which is limited to a term of years, the protection in the bill seemingly is perpetual.
I feel here it would be unfair for the U.S. Government to place any restrictions on domestic use of materials that could be used freely in foreign countries. I will have a little more to say about this in another connection later.
On the other hand, the present bill seems to afford no protection against the use of data in mechanized information centers. It would be most unwise to allow operators of computerized systems to use the data freely while denying others the same privilege.
Finally, we venture to suggest that the production of a federally supported Standard Reference Data System by the National Academy of Sciences would be much more palatable to private publishing industry than would in-house production by the Bureau of Standards. Further, the Academy, as a contracting agency, could copyright the data and thus this highly controversial problem would be resolved.
We hope that this explanation of our views may be helpful to the subcommittee and we stand ready to cooperate further in any way which the subcommittee may desire.