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CALL TO ACTION: Tell Congress you oppose the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (concluded)

Published Sep 18, 2008

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” (http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/HR6845.pdf).

Please contact your Representative and Senators no later than September 24, 2008 to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she OPPOSE HR6845. Especially important are members of the House Judiciary Committee (http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html) and Senate Judiciary Committee (http://judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm). (Draft text and contact details are included below).

HR6845 is designed to do the following:

1. Amend current copyright law (Title 17).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 public.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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. You know the difference constituent voices can make on Capitol Hill.

As always, please let me know what actions you’re able to take, by email to jennifer [at] arl [dot] org.

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DRAFT TEXT:

Dear [Representative/Senator];

On behalf of [your organization], 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.

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. HR6845 would prohibit the deposit of these articles so that, as a result, researchers, physicians, health care professionals, families and individuals will be seriously impeded in their ability to access NIH-funded, critical health-related information.

[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy]. 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.

Sincerely,

[end]

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CONTACT INFORMATION

SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

name state fax

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


HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

name state fax

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

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