Analysis of The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

In "Close Reading: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009," Public Knowledge Policy Analyst Mehan Jayasuriya analyzes the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

Here's an excerpt:

All in all, the Internet Freedom Protection Act of 2009 seems like a great first step toward the goal of enshrining net neutrality in U.S. law. It finally extends Carterfone rules to broadband providers, addresses the long-standing questions surrounding reasonable network management and ensures a number of much-needed protections for consumers. What remains to be seen is how the language of the bill will change as it works its way through Congress, how the FCC will choose to implement and enforce the provisions of the bill and whether or not the bill will be taken up by Congress at all. Only one thing is certain: those few, powerful opponents of net neutrality are not going to let this bill through without a fight.

Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) have introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"The Internet is a success today because it was open to everyone with an idea," said Rep. Markey. "That openness and freedom has been at risk since the Supreme Court decision in Brand X. This bill will protect consumers and content providers because it will restore the guarantee that one does not have to ask permission to innovate."

"The Internet has thrived and revolutionized business and the economy precisely because it started as an open technology," Rep. Eshoo said. "This bill will ensure that the non-discriminatory framework that allows the Internet to thrive and competition on the Web to flourish is preserved at a time when our economy needs it the most."

H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers. The bill will also require the FCC to examine whether carriers are blocking access to lawful content, applications, or services. The legislation calls for the FCC to conduct eight public broadband summits around the country no less than a year after the bill is enacted. These summits will be used to gather input from consumers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders on Internet freedom and U.S. broadband policies affecting consumer protection, competition, and consumer choice.

Here's an excerpt from the "Public Knowledge Hails Internet Freedom Preservation Act":

[Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge] "The requirements in the bill are very straightforward. In essence, the bill would return non-discrimination to communications law, preventing Internet service providers (ISPs), such as telephone and cable companies, from interfering in that end-to-end relationship. The requirements would curb the ability of ISPs from using the claim of network management to impose their own priorities on data traffic, based on financial arrangements or other considerations."

Alliance for Taxpayer Access Call to Action about Federal Research Public Access Act

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has issued a call to action about the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S 1373).

Here's an excerpt:

On June 25, Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. S.1373 would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for long-term archiving.

The bill specifically covers unclassified research funded by agencies including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

S. 1373 reflects the growing trend among funding agencies—and college and university campuses—to leverage their investment in the conduct of research by maximizing the dissemination of results. It follows the successful path forged by the NIH’s Public Access Policy, as well as by private funders like the Wellcome Trust, and universities such as Harvard and MIT.

Detailed information about the Federal Research Public Access Act is available at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/frpaa.

All supporters of public access—universities and colleges, researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, consumers, individuals, and others—are asked to ACT NOW to support this bill. Here’s how:

  • Contact Congress now to express your organization's support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and for this bill. Act now through the ATA Legislative Action Center.
  • Contact Congress now to express your individual support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and for this bill.
  • Send thanks to the Bill's sponsors—Senators Lieberman and Cornyn.
  • Issue a public statement of support from your organization and share it widely with members, colleagues, and the media. Send a copy to sparc [at] arl [dot] org to be featured on the FRPAA Web site.
  • Share news about this bill with friends and colleagues.
  • Post the "I support taxpayer access" banner on your Web site.

Open Access: Text of Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009

The text of the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S 1373) is now available.

Here's an excerpt:

SEC. 4. FEDERAL RESEARCH PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY.

(a) In General- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, each Federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100,000,000 shall develop a Federal research public access policy that is consistent with and advances purposes of the Federal agency.
(b) Content- Each Federal research public access policy shall provide for—
(1) submission to the Federal agency of an electronic version of the author's final manuscript of original research papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and result from research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;
(2) the incorporation of all changes resulting from the peer review publication process in the manuscript described under paragraph (1);
(3) the replacement of the final manuscript with the final published version if—
(A) the publisher consents to the replacement; and
(B) the goals of the Federal agency for functionality and interoperability are retained;
(4) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable, but not later than 6 months after publication in peer-reviewed journals;
(5) production of an online bibliography of all research papers that are publicly accessible under the policy, with each entry linking to the corresponding free online full text; and
(6) long-term preservation of, and free public access to, published research findings—
(A) in a stable digital repository maintained by the Federal agency; or
(B) if consistent with the purposes of the Federal agency, in any repository meeting conditions determined favorable by the Federal agency, including free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.
(c) Application of Policy- Each Federal research public access policy shall—
(1) apply to—
(A) researchers employed by the Federal agency whose works remain in the public domain; and
(B) researchers funded by the Federal agency;
(2) provide that works described under paragraph (1)(A) shall be—
(A) marked as being public domain material when published; and
(B) made immediately available under subsection (b)(4); and
(3) make effective use of any law or guidance relating to the creation and reservation of a Government license that provides for the reproduction, publication, release, or other uses of a final manuscript for Federal purposes.
(d) Exclusions- Each Federal research public access policy shall not apply to—
(1) research progress reports presented at professional meetings or conferences;
(2) laboratory notes, preliminary data analyses, notes of the author, phone logs, or other information used to produce final manuscripts;
(3) classified research, research resulting in works that generate revenue or royalties for authors (such as books) or patentable discoveries, to the extent necessary to protect a copyright or patent; or
(4) authors who do not submit their work to a journal or works that are rejected by journals.
(e) Patent or Copyright Law- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect any right under the provisions of title 17 or 35, United States Code.
(f) Report-
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than October 1, of each year, the head of each Federal agency shall submit a report on the Federal research public access policy of that agency to—
(A) the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;
(B) the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives;
(C) the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives;
(D) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;
(E) the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate; and
(F) any other committee of Congress of appropriate jurisdiction.
(2) CONTENT- Each report under this subsection shall include—
(A) a statement of the effectiveness of the Federal research public access policy in providing the public with free online access to papers on research funded by the Federal agency;
(B) a list of papers published in peer-reviewed journals that report on research funded by the Federal agency;
(C) a corresponding list of papers made available by the Federal agency as a result of the Federal research public access policy; and
(D) a summary of the periods of time between public availability of each paper in a journal and in the online repository of the Federal agency.
(3) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The Federal agency shall make the statement under paragraph (2)(A) and the lists of papers under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) available to the public by posting such statement and lists on the website of the Federal agency.

Open Access Bill: Senators Cornyn and Lieberman Re-Introduce Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA)

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) re-introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) today. (Thanks to Open Access News.)

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Their legislation, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), would require every federal department and agency with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more to make their research available to the public within six months of publication.

"Our legislation would give the American people greater access to the important scientific research they help fund, which will accelerate scientific discovery and innovation, while also making sure that funding is being spent appropriately to ensure taxpayers are receiving a return on their research investments and they are not having to pay twice for the same research – once to conduct it, and a second time to read it. I will continue to advocate for greater transparency measures across all of our governmental departments and agencies, and I urge our Senate colleagues to support this legislation," said Sen. Cornyn.

"The United States has some of the best and brightest researchers," said Lieberman. "I continue to be impressed by their ideas and feel strongly that the American public should have access to what they discover. The internet makes it possible to provide public access to federally funded research and I am pleased to lead the effort to make this information more accessible."

Background:

Sens. Cornyn and Lieberman first introduced this legislation in the 109th Congress. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented their public access policy. It is estimated that approximately 80,000 papers are published each year from NIH funds.

  • Require every researcher with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more, whether funded totally or partially by a government department or agency, to submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript that has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Ensure that the manuscript is preserved in a stable digital repository maintained by that agency or in another suitable repository that permits free public access, interoperability, and long-term preservation.
  • Require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

See also "Taxpayer Alliance Applauds Bill to Broaden Access to Federal Research Results."

France Passes “Three-Strikes” Copyright Bill

The French National Assembly has passed the Création et Internet bill, a "three-strikes" copyright bill intended to curb illegal file sharing on the Internet by disconnecting offenders from the network on their third offense. The bill conflicts with a recently passed European Parliament law that prohibits EU member counties from disconnecting Internet users without judicial oversight.

Read more about it at "France Ignores EU and Passes Antipiracy Law" and "France Set for Showdown with EU after Passing 3 Strikes Law."

Informed P2P User Act Hearing

On 3/5/2009, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) introduced the Informed P2P User Act. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on the bill today.

Here's an excerpt from Marc Rotenberg's testimony (Rotenberg is the Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center):

In the consideration of this bill, it is important to understand that P2P programs are used for a wide variety of function from the sharing of music to Internet-based telephony as well as scientific research. Even the military makes use of P2P networks. The technique is also important in countries where Internet censorship is a threat.

In the most generic sense, a P2P network is a technical description, much like saying a telephone network or the Internet. It is no intrinsic application, other than architecture that allows nodes to exchange information equally with other nodes in the network. Some Internet scholars have observed that this architecture reflects the collaboration among individuals that has helped spur the growth of the Internet. Professor Yochai Benkler refers to this as "Commons Based Peer Production."

No doubt part of the bill aims to discourage the use of file sharing techniques that may infringe copyright as well as making users vulnerable to certain types of inadvertent file sharing. But there is some risk that the bill would also discourage the use of file sharing techniques that do not raise such concerns. More generally, it appears to be posting a warning sign on a very wide variety of applications that most likely have little to do with the sponsor’s concern.

Read more about it at "H.R. 1319 Wants You to Know When You're Sharing Files, but Will Drown You in Pop-Ups" and "P2P Bill Could Regulate Web Browsers, FTP Clients."

DigitalKoans

Lawrence Lessig Replies to Rep. John Conyers about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Lawrence Lessig has replied to Rep. John Conyers' "A Reply to Larry Lessig," which was written in response to "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen.

Here's an excerpt:

Supporting citizens' funding of the nation's elections—as Mr. Conyers has—is an important first step. That one change, I believe, would do more than any other to restore trustworthiness in Congress.

But that's not all you could do, Mr. Conyers. You have it within your power to remove any doubt about the reasons you have for sponsoring the legislation you sponsor: Stop accepting contributions from the interests your committee regulates. This was the principle of at least some committee chairmen in the past. It is practically unheard of today. But you could set an important example for others, and for America, about how an uncorrupted system of government might work. And you could do so without any risk to your own position—because the product of your forty years of extraordinary work for the citizens of Michigan means that they'll return you to office whether or not you spend one dime on a reelection. Indeed, if you did this, I'd promise to come to Michigan and hand out leaflets for your campaign.

Until you do this, Mr. Conyers, don't lecture me about "crossing a line." For I intend to cross this line as often as I can, the outrage and scorn of Members of Congress notwithstanding. This is no time to play nice. And yours is just the first in a series of many such stories to follow—targeting Republicans as well as Democrats, people who we agree with on substance as well as those we don't, always focusing on bad bills that make sense only if you follow the money.

New York Action Alert: Rep. Carolyn Maloney Sponsors Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) has become the first sponsor of the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act who is not a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

If you are in her district and oppose the bill, you can contact her to express your opposition in the following ways:

  • DC Office: Phone: (202) 225-7944; Fax: (202) 225-4709
  • New York Office: Phone: (212) 860-0606, Fax: (212) 860-0704
  • Web Form: The Hill form; Maloney's form

The ALA call to action and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access call to action have example text and talking points that you can use. (Note that the ALA call Web form cannot be used to contact Maloney.)

Peter Suber offers this advice:

As usual, you will be more persuasive if you can explain why the NIH policy matters to you, your work, or your organization. Be specific and be personal. Speak for yourself, but if you can, get your institution to send a letter as well. Save your message; you may need to adapt and reuse it later. And please spread the word to your NY colleagues.

For further information about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, see Suber's article "Re-introduction of the Bill to Kill the NIH Policy" and his post "Aiming Criticism at the Right Target."

Rep. John Conyers Replies to Lessig and Eisen about Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Rep. John Conyers has replied to Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen's "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" article about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act.

Here's an excerpt:

The policy Professor Lessig supports, they [opponents] argue, would limit publishers' ability to charge for subscriptions since the same articles will soon be publicly available for free. If journals begin closing their doors or curtailing peer review, or foist peer review costs on academic authors (who are already pay from their limited budgets printing costs in some cases), the ultimate harm will be to open inquiry and scientific progress may be severe. And the journals most likely to be affected may be non-profit, scientific society based journals. Once again, a policy change slipped through the appropriations process in the dark of night may enhance open access to information, but it may have unintended consequences that are severe. This only emphasizes the need for proper consideration of these issues in open session.

New Zealand Delays Law That Would Terminate Internet Accounts of Repeat Copyright Infringers

New Zealand's prime minister is delaying the implementation of a controversial new copyright law that will force ISP's to terminate the accounts of repeat copyright infringers until March 27th in order to study whether implementing the law is feasible.

Here's an excerpt from the law:

92A Internet service provider must have policy for terminating accounts of repeat infringer

  1. An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer.
  2. In subsection (1), repeat infringer means a person who repeatedly infringes the copyright in a work by using 1 or more of the Internet services of the Internet service provider to do a restricted act without the consent of the copyright owner.

Read more about it at "New Zealand P2P Disconnection Plan Delayed after Outcry"; "New Zealand Three Strikes Mandate Delayed"; and "Three Strikes Encounters Political, Netroots Opposition Down Under."

In 2007-2008, Reed Elsevier Inc. Made Contributions to Eight House Judiciary Committee Members

According to data from OpenSecrets.org, Reed Elsevier Inc. made contributions to eight House Judiciary Committee members during 2007-2008.

  1. John Conyers, Jr., (D) Michigan, 14th, Chair: $4,000
  2. Howard Berman, (D) California, 28th: $3,000
  3. Howard Coble, (R) North Carolina, 6th: $4,000
  4. Darrell Issa, (R) California, 49th: $1,000
  5. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) Texas, 18th: $1,000
  6. Jerrold Nadler, (D) New York, 8th: $1,000
  7. Lamar Smith, (R) Texas, 21st: $2,000
  8. Robert Wexler, (D) Florida, 19th: $2,000

It also made 2007-2008 contributions to two Senate Judiciary Committee members:

  1. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania: $2,000
  2. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama: $1,000

ALA Issues Call to Action about Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

ALA has issued a call to action about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801). The alert includes a link to a Web form that will allow you to e-mail a House Judiciary Committee Member from your district about the bill (will not work if your Representative does not serve on the Judiciary Committee).

Support Open Access: Contact House Judiciary Committee Members to Save the NIH Public Access Policy

As indicated in recent postings ("Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Ten Associations and Advocacy Groups Send Letter to Judiciary Committee Members Opposing Act" and "Urgent Call to Action: Conyers Bill Opposing NIH Open Access Policy May Soon Come to House Vote"), the fight over the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801) is heating up.

If you want to oppose the bill and support the NIH Public Access policy and open access, you should contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and your Representative immediately by letter, e-mail, fax, or phone. If a Judiciary Committee member is in your district, your opposition will have considerably more impact. If you are uncertain, about who your House member is, you can use the The Hill's search form to find out. The "Contact" tab for the House member's The Hill record, includes a "Contact [Congressional representative] via Web Form" function that can be used to send e-mail messages.

Below is a list of Judiciary Committee members and a draft letter from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access’ call to action.

Draft letter text:

Dear Representative;

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving 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 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

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

The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.

Postscript: ALA has issued a call to action about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801). The alert includes a link to a Web form that will allow you to e-mail a House Judiciary Committee Member from your district about the bill (will not work if your Representative does not serve on the Judiciary Committee).

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has a Web form (with letter text) that you can use to e-mail your Congressional representatives.

The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy.

Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Ten Associations and Advocacy Groups Send Letter to Judiciary Committee Members Opposing Act

Ten associations and advocacy groups, including AALL, ACRL, ALA, ARL, and GWLA, have sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee members opposing the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801).

Here's an excerpt:

The U.S. government funds research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries from the research will propel science, stimulate the economy, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans. Public support for science is enhanced when the public directly sees the benefits from our nation's investment in scientific research. Yet H.R. 801 would reverse the only U.S. policy for public access to research, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and make it impossible for other agencies to enact similar policies.

Scientific research is advanced by broad dissemination of knowledge, and the subsequent building upon the work of others. To this end, the NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the results of our nation's $29 billion annual investment in research reach the broadest possible audience. The Policy requires that, in exchange for receiving federal research dollars, grantees deposit the final electronic manuscript of their peer-reviewed research results into PubMed Central, NIH’s digital archive, to be made publicly available within 12 months—and was specifically implemented in full compliance with current U.S. copyright law.

The NIH Policy achieves several notable goals: First, it ensures broad public access to the results of NIH's funded research, allowing scientists and researchers to collaborate and engage in cutting-edge research. Such access allows for greater sharing of information, speeding discovery, medical advances, and innovations.

Second, the NIH Policy ensures that the U.S. government has a permanent archive of these critical, publicly funded biomedical research results, ensuring that results can be built upon by not only this generation, but also future generations, of researchers.

Finally, the Policy creates a welcome degree of accountability and transparency, which enable us to better manage our collective investments in the NIH research portfolio and ensure the maximum possible benefits to the public in return.

At the direction of Congress, the NIH Public Access Policy, in place as a voluntary measure since 2005, was recently strengthened to a mandatory policy. As a result, the rate of eligible manuscripts being deposited for public accessibility quickly increased from 19% to 60%. This requirement proved crucial to ensuring that the more than 80,000 articles resulting from NIH funding each year are, for the first time, available to any researcher, physician, faculty member, student, or member of the public who wants them.

H.R.801 presupposes that the NIH Public Access Policy undermines the rights of the author and conflicts with U.S. copyright law. As library organizations and allies we fully respect copyright law and the protection it affords content creators, content owners, and content users. NIH-funded research is copyrightable and copyright belongs to the author. The NIH Policy requires only the grant of a non-exclusive license to NIH, fully consistent with federal policies such as Circular A- 110 and Circular A-102. This policy leaves the author free to transfer some or all of the exclusive rights under copyright to a journal publisher or to assign these anywhere they so choose. Attached please find an issue brief detailing how the NIH Public Access Policy does not affect copyright law [see the letter for the brief].

The NIH Public Access Policy advances science, improves access by the public to federally funded research, provides for effective archiving strategies for these resources, and ensures accountability of our federal investment. Given the proven success of the revised NIH Public Access Policy and the promise of public access to federally funded research, we firmly oppose H.R.801 and ask that you do the same. Thank you for considering the stake and position of the key constituencies in this discussion.

Read more about it at "Conyers Introduces H.R. 801, "The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act."

Urgent Call to Action: Conyers Bill Opposing NIH Open Access Policy May Soon Come to House Vote

There are strong indications that Rep. John Conyers, Jr. will try to get a House vote on the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801) much more quickly than previously thought. If you want to oppose the bill and support the NIH Public Access policy, you should contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and your Representative immediately by e-mail, fax, phone, or letter. This is especially important if a Judiciary Committee member is in your district.

Here's an excerpt from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access call to action to defeat the Conyers bill:

All supporters of public access—researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others—are asked to please contact your Representative . . . to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose H.R.801. Draft letter text is included below. . . .

H.R. 801 is designed to amend current copyright law and create a new category of copyrighted works (Section 201, Title 17). In effect, it would:

  1. 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 are either: a) funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or b) the result of "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.
  2. Prohibit U.S. agencies from obtaining a license to publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by, for example, placing it on the Internet.
  3. Stifle access to a broad range of federally funded works, overturning the crucially important NIH Public Access Policy and preventing other agencies from implementing similar policies.
  4. Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an overhaul of the well-established procurement rules in effect for all federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices across the federal government.
  5. Repeal the longstanding "federal purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the creation of a copyrighted work reserve the "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.

Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information through the PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

All supporters of public access—researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others—are asked to contact their Representatives to let them know you support public access to federally funded research and oppose H.R. 801. Again, the proposed legislation would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. . . .

Draft letter text:

Dear Representative;

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.

Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving 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 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.

H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.

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

The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.

More Coverage of the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Here are some additional articles/postings about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act.

Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Bill Opposing Open Access Reintroduced in House

Rep. John Conyers has reintroduced the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (H.R. 801) in the House.

Here's an excerpt from Peter Suber's posting:

The Fair Copyright Act is to fair copyright what the Patriot Act was to patriotism.  It would repeal the OA policy at the NIH and prevent similar OA policies at any federal agency.  The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where Conyers is Chairman, and where he has consolidated his power since last year by abolishing the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.  The Judiciary Committee does not specialize in science, science policy, or science funding, but copyright. 

The premise of the bill, urged by the publishing lobby, is that the NIH policy somehow violates copyright law.  The premise is false and cynical.  If the NIH policy violated copyrights, or permitted the violation of copyrights, publishers wouldn't have to back this bill to amend US copyright law.  Instead, they'd be in court where they'd already have a remedy.  For a detailed analysis of the bill and point by point rebuttal to the publishing lobby's rhetoric, see my article from October 2008.

I'll have more soon on ways to mobilize in opposition to the bill and support the NIH and the principle of public access to publicly-funded research.  Meantime, if you're a US citizen and your representative is a member of the Judiciary Committee, it's not to early to fire off an email/fax/letter/phone call to your representative opposing the bill and defending the NIH policy.  You can find ammo here:

Also see: "Bill Banning NIH-Like Public Access is Reintroduced in Congress."