Subject: Aslib and WIPO
From: Oliver Bond (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: ke 11 joulu 1996 - 16:49:42 EET
I attach a letter from Michael Bloomberg to the US Patent Office, which
is representing the US at the WIPO convention currently being held in
This letter is the first objection to the WIPO proposals by a database
provider, and illustrates the range of opposition to the proposals.
Further details are available from the URL given.
Aslib, The Association for Information Management
>From: James Love[SMTP:email@example.com]
>Sent: 10 December 1996 21:32
>To: Multiple recipients of list
>Subject: Michael Bloomberg on WIPO database treaty
>The following letter by Michael R. Bloomberg, on behalf of Bloomberg
>expresses opposition to the WIPO database treaty. Bloomberg is a major
>publisher of financial and business information, and one of the few
>news organizations which has taken an official corporate position on
>WIPO database treaty. (for a list of other comments on the treaty, see
>Among the more interesting points by Mr. Bloomberg:
>- Bloomberg is aware of no commercially significant piracy
> of US-owned databases that would be meaningfully reduced by
> early adoption of the proposed treaty.
>- Bloomberg perceives a real danger that the legislation
> contemplated by the proposed treaty would unreasonably
> curtail access to basic factual data.
>- Bloomberg is unaware of any evidence that existing
> economic incentives have proven inadequate.
>The letter follows:
> Bloomberg L.P.
> 499 Park Avenue
> New York, New York 10022
> Tel (212) 318-2000
> Fax (212) 980-4585
>November 22, 1996
>Ms. Carmen Guzman Lowrey
>Associate Commissioner for Governmental and International Affairs
>United States Patent and Trademark Office
>Crystal Park Two
>2121 Crystal Drive
>Arlington, Virginia 20231
>Re: Comments of Bloomberg L.P. on the Proposed Treaty for the Sui
>Protection of Databases
>Dear Ms. Lowrey
>This letter is submitted by Bloomberg L.P. ("Bloomberg") in response to
>the October 10, 1996 Request for Comments on the Chairman's Text of the
>Proposed Treaty for the Sui Generis Protection of Databases, which is
>currently scheduled for consideration at a Diplomatic Conference of the
>World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO") in Geneva December
>20-20, 1996 (the "December Conference").
>Bloomberg appreciates this opportunity to express its views on a matter
>great importance to the United States and all the people of the world .
>Being in the business of data collection and dissemination makes
>particularly sensitive to the law as it relates to information and
>I. THE INTEREST OF BLOOMBERG
>Bloomberg collects news and information concerning business, finance,
>current events, entertainment, sports, human interest stories,
>and securities markets from a wide variety of sources and supplies this
>information to customers in various ways, including over the BLOOMBERG
>network, by television and radio broadcast, through books and
>through seminars and conferences, and through electronic data transfer.
>so doing, Bloomberg acts both as a creator/supplier of databases and as
>consumer/user of databases maintained by others.
>Bloomberg supports WIPO's efforts to focus attention on the issue of
>database protection but does not favor the call for immedieate adoption
>the proposed database protection treaty.
>II. US SUPPORT FOR ADOPTION OF THE PROPOSED TREATY WOULD BE PREMATURE
>BEFORE THERE IS ADEQUATE OPPORTUNITY TO DEBATE AND FORM A CONCENSUS ON
>The November 14, 1996 issue of BNA's Patent, Trademark, & Copyright
>Journal reports there was considerable debate about the value and
>consequences of database protection at the November 12, 1996 public
>briefing on the three proposed treaties to be considered at the
>Conference. The contentiousness of this issue is not surprising, given
>novelty of the concept of database protection to concerned parties in
>Bloomberg respectfully submits that the newness of the database
>and the evident uncertainty about the form an substance of the rights
>obligations it would create counsel that the database proposal should
>discussed, but not voted upon, at the December Conference.
>At the November 12 briefing, Chairman Liedes reportedly noted that
>in Europe have been considering sui generis database protection for a
>number of years and that the European model had its origin in domestic
>laws of the Nordic countries. These issues have received dramatically
>less, if any, attention in the US, where such distinctive factors as
>Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution require particular and
>careful public evaluation.
>III. THERE IS NO APPARENT REASON TO RUSH TO A VOTE ON THE DATABASE
>Bloomberg is unaware of any commercial or technological threat
>the current rush to adopt the proposed treaty.
>The treaty's proponents apparently argue that the European community's
>"Database Directive" contemplates national legislation in the EC that
>would discriminate against database proprietors in countries without
>comparable domestic legislation. This would not seem to threaten
>rights of US database proprietors and, in any event, only adoption of
>domestic US legislation would address this issue. Although such
>legislation was recently introduced into the House, no comparable bill
>been introduced in the Senate and the subject seems to have attracted
>little public attention, suggesting there is no urgency to enactment of
>The treaty's proponents also point to the threat of international
>However, Bloomberg is aware of no commercially significant piracy of
>US-owned databases that would be meaningfully reduced by early adoption
>the proposed treaty.
>Bloomberg finds the existing combination of copyright law, contractual
>limitations, administrative practices and technological security to be
>adequate at present to protect its commercial interests. Bloomberg
>believes these existing protections also are likely to suffice during
>time needed for careful evaluation and public debate of the need for
>generis database protection.
>IV. PRECIPITOUS ACTION COULD UPSET THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE RIGHTS OF
>DATABASE PROPRIETORS AND BROADER SOCIETAL INTERESTS IN THE FREE FLOW OF
>Bloomberg perceives a real danger that the legislation contemplated by
>proposed treaty would unreasonably curtail access to basic factual
>Such concerns clearly have been expressed by the scientific and
>communities. Scientific, political and cultural progress all depend on
>access to information, increasingly on a global scale. Given the
>absence of evidence that the flow of such information is inhibited by
>absence of the proposed treaty, care should be taken to ensure the
>proposal will help rather than hinder the advancement of science and
>important societal interests.
>Around the world, intellectual property protection generally embodies
>notion of a limited monopoly on creative expression or novel inventions
>order to create an economic incentive to create useful works that will
>eventually be dedicated to the public. Sound public policy should
>that the monopoly conferred is no greater than is necessary to create
>desired incentives. However, Bloomberg is unaware of any evidence that
>existing economic incentives have proven inadequate.
>For the foregoing reasons, Bloomberg respectfully submits that the US
>should support discussion of the proposed database treaty at the
>Conference but oppose any effort to bring the treaty to a vote and, if
>vote is nonetheless taken, the US should oppose adoption of the treaty
>Michael R. Bloomberg
>James Love / firstname.lastname@example.org / P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
>Voice: 202/387-8030; Fax 202/234-5176
>Center for Study of Responsive Law
> Consumer Project on Technology; http://www.essential.org/cpt
> Taxpayer Assets Project; http://www.tap.org
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