And, no, they don’t mean making copies of Oracle. Putting a Stop to Database Piracy.
Now, here’s where a critique of “old Europe”makes some sense, unlike most of those emanating from Washington, DC. Whether this proposed bill actually is targeted at “database piracy” as defined in the text remains to be seen.
At issue is the theft and misuse of data published online. One such case involved the online auction site eBay and Bidder’s Edge, a shopping bot that collected information on what was being auctioned anywhere online, along with the prices auctioned items were fetching. Bidder’s Edge would then publish the data in one central location. eBay filed suit in 1999 to stop Bidder’s Edge from ransacking its auction listings, but the bot shop went out of business before an injunction could take effect.
The current version of the bill to stop such pilfering differs from previous bills in that it steers clear of the intellectual property issues that have mired those past bills. Past bills would have allowed database producers to prevent people from using information in a database or from extracting information from a database. Such an approach riled opponents such as research institutions, who saw it as an attempt to grab the property rights for naked facts.
In contrast, the current bill concerns itself with data misappropriation and doesn’t cover the use or extraction of information, according to Keith Kupferschmid, vice president for Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement at the Software and Information Industry Association, in Washington. Kupferschmid testified in favor of the bill at Tuesday’s hearing.
“We’re hoping we can use it to prevent database piracy, where somebody takes somebody else’s database, slaps their name on it and then goes into competition with the original database producer,” Kupferschmid told eWEEK in an interview. “We’re not trying to pursue libraries or research institutions. That was one of the concerns of the opponents—[previous bills] would have covered use of database data. If you can prevent somebody from extracting or using information, I can see where that would raise concerns.”
Here’s the announcement from the House Judiciary Committee’s WWW page, with links to the testimony:
September 23, 2003 - Joint Legislative hearing on H.R. ____, the “Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003.”
Witness List, David Carson, Thomas Donohue, Keith Kupferschmid, William Wulf
The Bill’s not on Thomas yet.