Protection for databases

A Dangerous Law
Here comes another Modernist attempt to control information. The Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003 is being considered by 2 House committees. The bill is supported by companies with a lot to gain and opposed by those who see danger in the shadows. Essentially, it grants copyright-like protection to databases, such as LexisNexis (which includes things like information on all court cases). The potential consequences of the Act, according to opponents like NetCoalition, the ACLU, and several libraries, go far beyond the its intent and include such things as liability for search engines, which routinely search databases to fulfill search requests. This is one of those cases where the age-old “law of unintended consequences” is sufficient to label it a bad idea. Technology is certainly capable of making database theft very difficult. Greed is the issue here. These companies want the legislation to give them protected status and reduce their need to protect resources on their own. Postmodernism rejects this kind of thinking as elitism. It’s a terrible idea and a dangerous law.

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