[Taxacom] Access to US Federally funded data?

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Fri Sep 19 20:10:17 CDT 2008

received this bit of unsolicited spam this morning but it seems to be legit.

is the issue real?

one of the more enlightened things to come out of the US legislature
was the principle that if the government of the people paid for data,
information and the tools to manage it then the people owned these
assets and the people must have free and open access to them.

is this about to change?


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PLoS <news at lists.plos.org>
Date: Sat, Sep 20, 2008 at 3:35 AM
Subject: Tell Senate and Congress you oppose HR6845 by 9/24 [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
To: jrc at anbg.gov.au

Dear Open Access Supporter,

Please contact your Representative and Senators by Wednesday,
September 24, 2008 to express your support for public access to
taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose HR6845.

On September 11, 2008, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
(Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) introduced a bill that would effectively
reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible
for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. The
legislation is HR6845: "Fair Copyright in Research Works Act".

Especially important are members of the House Judiciary Committee and
Senate Judiciary Committee. (Draft text and contact details are
included below).

HR6845 is designed to do the following:

Amend current copyright law (Title 17).
Prohibit all U.S. federal agencies from conditioning funding
agreements to require that works resulting from federal support be
made publicly available if those works meet either of two conditions:
a. They are funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency; or b.
The results from "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity
that is not party to the agreement.
Prohibit U.S. federal agencies being able to obtain a license to
publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by—for
example—putting it on the Internet.
Makes broad policy by stifling public access to a wide range of
federally funded works, and effectively overturns the crucially
important current NIH Public Access Policy.
Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an
overhaul of well-established procurement rules in effect for all
federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices
across the federal government, including in critical areas such as
research to support national defense and homeland security.
In particular, the bill would repeal the longstanding "federal
purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the
creation of a copyrighted work must reserve a "royalty-free,
nonexclusive right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work"
for any federal purpose. This will severely limit the ability of U.S.
federal agencies to use works that they have funded to support and
fulfill agency missions and to communicate with and educate the
The bill is a blunt instrument that uses extremely broad language to
override existing procurement law, and as such has serious
implications for the entire U.S. federal government far beyond
articles resulting from research funding.
Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now
have access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed
Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 4,000 new crucial
biomedical articles were deposited in the last month alone. This
proposed bill would prohibit the deposit of these articles, and as a
result, researchers, physicians, health care professionals, families
and individuals will find it much harder to get access to this
critical health-related information.

Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) 202-224-3479 (Chairman)
Senator Arlen Specter (PA) 202-228-1229 (Ranking Member)
Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) 202-224-3149
Senator Jon Kyl (AZ) 202-224-2207
Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) 202-228-3954
Senator Joseph Biden (DE) 202-224-0139
Senator Charles Grassley (IA) 202-224-6020
Senator Richard Durbin (IL) 202-228-0400
Senator Sam Brownback (KS) 202-228-1265
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (MA) 202-224-2417
Senator Benjamin Cardin (MD) 202-224-1651
Senator Charles Schumer (NY) 202-228-3027
Senator Tom Coburn (OK) 202-224-6008
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) 202-228-6362
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) 202-224-3808
Senator John Cornyn (TX) 202-228-2856
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) 202-224-6331
Senator Herb Kohl (WI) 202-224-9787
Senator Russell Feingold (WI) 202-224-2725

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI) 202-225-0072 (Chairman)
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX) 202-225-8628 (Ranking Member)
Rep. Artur Davis (AL) 202-226-9567
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ) 202-225-6328
Rep. Howard Berman (CA) 202-225-3196
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA) 202-225-3336
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) 202-225-7854
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (CA) 202-226-1012
Rep. Brad Sherman (CA) 202-225-5879
Rep. Adam Schiff (CA) 202-225-5828
Rep. Elton Gallegly (CA) 202-225-1100
Rep. Dan Lungren (CA) 202-226-1298
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA) 202-225-3303
Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) 202-225-5974
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) 202-226-2052
Rep. Ric Keller (FL) 202-225-0999
Rep. Tom Feeney (FL) 202-226-6299
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) 202-226-0691
Rep. Steve King (IA) 202-225-3193
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL) 202-225-7810
Rep. Mike Pence (IN) 202-225-3382
Rep. William D. Delahunt (MA) 202-225-5658
Rep. Keith Ellison (MN) 202-225-4886
Rep. Melvin Watt (NC) 202-225-1512
Rep. Howard Coble (NC) 202-225-8611
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) 202-225-6923
Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) 202-226-7253
Rep. Betty Sutton (OH) 202-225-2266
Rep. Steve Chabot (OH) 202-225-3012
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) 202-226-0577
Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) 202-225-5663
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) 202-225-3317
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX) 202-226-1230
Rep. Chris Cannon (UT) 202-225-5629
Rep. Rick Boucher (VA) 202-225-0442
Rep. Robert Scott (VA) 202-225-8354
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA) 202-225-9681
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (VA) 202-226-1170
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI) 202-225-6942
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI) 202-225-3190

*****DRAFT TEXT*****

Dear [Representative/Senator]:

As a [Scientist, Educator, etc.] I strongly urge you to oppose HR
6845, the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, introduced to the
House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual
Property and the Internet, on September 11, 2008.

This bill would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public
Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing any and all
research funded by taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements
in lifesaving research and scientific discovery.

Due to the NIH Public Access Policy, public access to research
publications will accelerate medical and scientific research by
allowing any scientist to read, use and build on the work of others.
This vastly increases the utility of the scientific literature,
enhances scientific productivity, and allows better integration of
research literature with the data that underpins research, bringing
further benefits to the research process.

Under the current policy, nearly 4,000 new crucial biomedical articles
were deposited in the last month alone. HR6845 would prohibit the
deposit of these articles so that, as a result, researchers,
physicians, health care professionals, educators, families and
individuals will be seriously impeded in their ability to access
NIH-funded, critical health and science related information.

I strongly support the NIH Public Access Policy for helping to address
this imbalance, and to create the opportunity for all communities to
access this publicly funded information in an equitable, timely and
affordable manner. The NIH policy must be allowed to continue to
ensure public access to the results of research funded by the agency
with taxpayer dollars.

Please OPPOSE HR6845.


*****END DRAFT TEXT*****

Constituents across the country are asked to contact Congress and let
them know you support public access to federally funded research and
OPPOSE HR6845. Again, the proposed resolution would effectively
reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible
for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place.

Thank you for your support and continued persistence in supporting
this policy. The voices from constituents make a difference on Capitol

Best wishes,

Donna Okubo
PLoS Institutional Relations Manager

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Jim Croft
jim.croft at gmail.com

"Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality."
- Joseph Conrad, author (1857-1924)

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