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Copyright Alliance Urges Congress to Throw Out Proposal Eliminating Researchersí Copyright Protections

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Washington, DC -- The Copyright Alliance today urged Congress to eliminate a provision that would dramatically reduce the copyright protection from scientific research papers.

The provision, included in one of the annual spending bills, would have a far-reaching and precedent-setting impact on copyright law without the benefit of any study or input by committees with expertise and oversight on copyright issues.

A provision included in the FY 2008 Labor HHS appropriations bill requires authors of scientific articles who have received grants from the National Institutes of Health to submit any subsequent papers they write for free access on the National Institutes of Health web site after the papers have been accepted for publication and undergone a peer review sponsored by that publication.

"It is reasonable and appropriate that Congress would wish to widely disseminate results of research partially funded by one of its agencies. However, the provision would require any researcher receiving NIH funds to surrender a manuscript – after acceptance by a publisher and after a full peer review – to the government to be posted for free to the world, no more than one year after publication. This has never been an obligation connected with NIH grants.

"This mandate might be understandable if the works of scientific researchers were unavailable to science. But these works can be found in any serious library. Publishers are developing new and innovative ways to increase exposure, and scientists themselves state very firmly that they have more than sufficient access to the latest research.

"The unintended consequence of this measure is the chilling effect it could have on the ability of would-be publishers to conduct peer review and publish and disseminate their works.

"Further, this change clearly would undermine the ability of the U.S. Trade Representative to argue with credibility for strong intellectual property rights in negotiations abroad. It is difficult to ask other nations to show more respect for the rights of creators when we are singling out a class of creators in our own country and all but eliminating its rights.

"This provision has moved its way through the congressional appropriations process, but the intellectual property experts in the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have been excluded from the debate. The members of these committees understand well the role of copyright in promoting science, and the provision mandating deposits of copyrighted articles should be withdrawn from the appropriations bill to allow time for the committees with jurisdiction over these matters to review and develop an evidentiary record on the relevant issues."

About the Copyright Alliance

The Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to the value of copyright as an agent for creativity, jobs and growth. For more information, please visit

Members of the Copyright Alliance include: American Federation of Television & Radio Artists; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; American Society of Media Photographers; Association of American Publishers; Association of Independent Music Publishers; Attributor; Broadcast Music, Inc.; Business Software Alliance; CBS Corporation; Directors Guild of America; Discovery Communications; Entertainment Software Association; Graphic Artists Guild; Imageline Inc.; Imagery Alliance; Langley Productions; Magazine Publishers of America; Major League Baseball; Microsoft; Motion Picture Association of America; National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR); National Association of Broadcasters; National Collegiate Athletic Association; National Football League; National Music Publishers' Association; National Basketball Association Properties, Inc.; NBC Universal; Newspaper Association of America; News Corporation; PPL and VPL; Professional Photographers of America; Recording Artists' Coalition; Recording Industry Association of America; Reed Elsevier; SESAC; Software & Information Industry Association; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Time Warner; Viacom; Vin Di Bona Productions; and The Walt Disney Company.

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