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Mr. WAGGONNER. Mr. Benjamin, I would like to comment that the five questions you raised with regard to the use of the symbol or mark are extremely good. They are probably the crux of this entire matter. The committee is certainly going to have to give a reasonable degree of consideration to this area.
I just have one other question and perhaps you cannot make a specific comment on this point. On page 4 of your statement, you refer to sections 7, 8, 9 and said that these sections would provide for no control over copying in foreign countries. Do you know of any way this legislation could be written whereby such control could be provided ?
Mr. BENJAMIN. Only through copyright. I do not think there is any other possible way to do it, except by bilateral treaties with some 40 industrial nations. You could pass this legislation and then have a bilateral treaty with 30 or 40 industrial nations, having them accept this.
That would be the only way. But copyright would give you international protection immediately except in the U.S.S.R. and Red China—they being the two big exceptions.
Mr. WAGGONNER. I have no further questions.
Mr. VIVIAN. It seems to me that the question of what the first production or the first tabulation of data should cost is a fairly important one. The funds, which are being considered for the National Bureau of Standards, are already being expended by the National Bureau of Standards in many areas and have produced research reports by the hundreds over a period of time. This information then becomes assimilated into reports on certain topic areas, and these are normally Government reports which are not copyrighted.
Mr. BENJAMIN. If they are done in-house and not done by contract.
Mr. VIVIAN. Yes. Many are done by contract.
Mr. VIVIAN. It is also done by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Department and other agencies. So there are many contract reports produced.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes.
Mr. VIVIAN. There again the Government does not have a copyright in the report normally.
Mr. BENJAMIN. No.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes, many reports done under contract are copy-
Mr. BENJAMIN. For the contractor. In some cases the publisher does the copyrighting. In some cases the publisher will take what is commonly called raw data from a government project of some sort and will put this into publishable manuscript form and publish it and under the terms of the contract may copyright it. We have done this in many cases.
Mr. VIVIAN. I think the question remains, then, that at some point U.S. commercial publishers are free to go over a large volume or large quantities of raw data and decide what type of volume you believe is salable and to then reproduce this material as you see fit, which then produces a copyrightable document on your part.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes. But publishers do not usually do this. This is usually done by an author or a group of authors working together who will extract from large bodies a publishable document.
Mr. VIVIAN. Then they contract with you for its publication.
Mr. Vivian. Nothing which is involved here would prohibit that except for some of the restrictions in sections 5, 6, and 7 of this bill?
Mr. BENJAMIN. That is right. Under the present bill.
any reproduction of this material?
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. VIVIAN. I think it is impossible to turn over to the National Academy of Sciences the volume of money being considered here for the National Bureau of Standards simply because the National Academy of Sciences does not want a large operational program. On the other hand, it would be possible to turn over to the National Academy of Sciences certain editorial and document preparatory duties under contract which would then put the information back in the same channels as were followed many years ago in the publication of the National Critical Tables. Would that be a wise procedure from your point of view?
Mr. BENJAMIN. I will say this, and this follows Mr. Wiley's statement. With our concern over this whole problem of Government monopoly of scientific and technical information, we technical publishers would prefer to have everything possible done outside of Government agencies. The prospect of in-house programs of scientific and technical information-publishing programs that would be directly in competition with publishers, gives us nightmares. Mr. Wiley and I have served on the Science Information Council, in San Francisco, and a number of other Government committees, and we know how often this sort of thing is proposed, and it is knocked down usually one way or another.
In general we say from out point of view everything possible should be done out of the Government agency. We would much prefer to see this done in a professional society than in a Government agency, because a professional society obviously has much more flexibility than a Government agency. It has flexibility in arranging publication and distribution, getting royalties, and this sort of thing.
In general, we would much prefer to see this done, the editorial effort, in the Academy. If the Academy does not want to undertake this and thinks it should not, we are in no position to urge it or recommend it. This is just a general position of preference in the private sector of publishing.
Mr. VIVIAN. I think it is nearly impossible to have this done outside of the Government agencies because of the volume of work.
Mr. BENJAMIN. I would agree thoroughly in this case with Dr. Seitz statement that it is necessary to have this done in the Government or right next door to the Government, in a quasi-governmental agency such as the Smithsonian or the Academy.
There are certainly no private professional societies and certainly there is no one in industry or the publishing business that would have anything like the necessary competence, and naturally they would not get the cooperation of the total scientific community that would be given to this.
It is regrettable, but it is true.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Benjamin, your prepared statement indicates your general support for the bill.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes. Mr. DADDARIO. You are concerned about the mechanics. Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes. Mr. DADDARIO. And how through it certain trends might develop which would be harmful to the country generally and involve the Government in activities in which it ought not to be involved.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. I have taken the trouble to read an article of yours appearing in the Library Journal of February 15, 1966, which has an intriguing title “Copyright and Government-A Sea of Troublesome Questions."
(The article referred to, together with two other articles of Mr. Benjamin's, entitled “Copyright or Public Domain” and “Computers and Copyrights,” are contained in app. B.)
Mr. BENJAMIN. I am flattered, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DADDARIO. It involves copyright in Government. In it you had one paragraph which I would like to read and would like your comment on it. In that statement you say:
One serious concern involves the large mechanized information systems which the Government will surely spend millions of dollars to develop in the next decade. It now seems probable that federally financed information centers will widely replace conventional information media including several kinds of technical and reference books. One does not have to be especially bright to foresee how this can devastate important areas of commercial printing. This threat is not remote-to many of us it seems to be just around the corner.
I believe, without any question, we are headed in that direction.
Mr. DADDARIO. And relate it to some of your fears in the matter before us.
Mr. BENJAMIN. We are concerned primarily by what I would call a preemption of basic scientific and technical data. We all know that this started in the basic sciences. We know about the National Chemical Information System that is being established under the American Chemical Society, the chemical abstracts operation, out in Columbus, Ohio. This is a very important development from the national point of view. It will be a basic system in chemical engineering information that will be financed, if present plans are carried through, by the Government. The latest estimate on this is a $45 million cost. The plan was to finance only the R. & D. phase of this.
But now I understand that there is an informal commitment to see it through the operational stage. This is a complete system of chemical information that will practically preempt this field. As a part of this mechanized system there will be print-outs of all sorts of manuals and handbooks not only of basic data on properties and compounds, et cetera, but also on technology and industrial practice. This will obviously practically wipe out many kinds of handbooks that we have been publishing every year, because this will be completely updated information. You will have a new edition every time you have a print-out. It is something that the commercial publishers cannot possibly compete with. We know that the physicists are planning to come in with a similar system. The biologists are working on a system. The psychologists are working on a system.
The engineering committee of the EJC has been invited and even urged to come in with systems of information in the engineering field. The National Science Foundation is becoming increasingly concerned with the social sciences. We will find mechanized systems of information in the social sciences, even what they now refer to as social engineering, which is air pollution, transportation and these areas. So I sort of foresee the possibility of development of national systems here which could practically preempt all of these areas, and we are concerned that the private sector be kept in this picture.
I might add, when I say the private sector, I would qualify that by saying the “information profit sector” because the concept of these systems is that they will be financed and operated by nonprofit organizations, largely professional societies, which I suppose is necessary. But nevertheless it is not a pleasing prospect to the commercial publisher unless somehow, he, the commercial publisher, can be kept in this picture and be able to contract for the production and distribution of some of this material that is produced with Government funds by the nonprofit societies. This gives us deep concern.
Mr. DADDARIO. Even though you support the general purpose of the bill, you are concerned.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. In the article you also included this language, which I believe to be fundamental insofar as your point of view is concerned:
If the system is to survive, the U.S. taxpayers will have to support indefinitely a project that certainly could and should be self-supporting beyond the initial research and development stage.
Mr. BENJAMIN. That is right.
Mr. DADDARIO. This is something that the committee should keep in mind.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes. This grew out of some objection I raised in the National Science Foundation to the Government putting any more than research and development money into this National Chemical System. That is, the National Chemical Information System. It seems to me that the Government should be responsible, since neither the professional society or the private enterprise can get this sort of thing going, for seeing it through the Research and Development stage; having done that and gotten it operational they certainly ought to charge enough to make it self-supporting. First, it should be the test of the marketplace. If this system is as good as it is supposed to be, then the users should pay for it. The people who use this system, the large corporation, the pharmaceutical houses, and many other
users, certainly should pay the price for this after it has got through the Research and Development stage to keep it going. Or else it will be in the Government's lap forever. The other thing here is that as long as the Government subsidizes a good part of the cost of this kind of system information and sells it at an abnormally low price industry is not going to be willing to pay any more for it. The other point here is that there is an inclination in the Government, and there was a little bit of this in the testimony here, to price the service within the range of the least able user to pay for it. There is an inclination to say, the scholar and maybe the libraries cannot afford to pay for this, so we have to price it low. Maybe they will be 5 or 10 percent of the market. What you are doing is subsidizing the 90 percent of the market to get it down to the level of the lower 10 percent of the market. This goes on all the time.
My theory on this is that rather than subsidize firms like General Electric, IBM, McGraw-Hill, et cetera, you should subsidize the lowability consumer. The scholar should be subsidized so he can
for it. The library should be subsidized so it can pay for it, and make the others pay the true cost of this. This is indeed going on. We used to put the price low because the libraries could not afford to buy it, but the libraries, with all of the Federal and State support they are getting now, can afford to buy. There are very few-in my experience I would say no more than 5 percent of the purchasers of this Data System we are talking about today—who would be individual purchasers; the rest would be institutional purchasers, libraries, and industry and a good part would be operating under government funds anyway.
Mr. DADDARIO. If we take Dr. Seitz' testimony this morning, he referred to the young students as a least common denominator which we are to look at from the other end as well as from his point of view.
Mr. BENJAMIN. I do not think he is very realistic in this case. I do say if there are a few scholars who cannot afford to do this the Government would much better subsidize those few scholars to allow them to pay for it than to subsidize the rest of the 90 percent of the market which is largely industrial libraries and people who can afford
Mr. DADDARIO. You had one other item in that same statement which you might feel applies here. You distinguished between publishing and printing.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Yes.
Mr. BENJAMIN. This is a distinction that I think is not often enough made, particularly in some executive departments of the Government who are used to dealing with the Government Printing Office and think of a publisher as being merely a printer. Printing is only the beginning of the publishing operation. The publisher contributes a great deal usually to the quality and content of the work editorially before it is printed. Then he is responsible for getting the information about the publication in the proper channels through advertising, abstracts, index, and that sort of thing. Then, of course, he is responsible for distribution. This is particularly so abroad, as Mr. Wiley said. While a printer might produce one of these volumes and make some sort of announcement such as the Superintendent of Documents Office can make, and maybe sell a thousand copies, a