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Re: H.R. 6845

October 9th, 2008 by eric

Dear Eric:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, HR 6845. I appreciate the time you took to write. This legislation would prevent the Federal Government from requiring the transfer of intellectual property rights from researchers expressly in cases where there are non-federal financial or other contributions made toward the advancement or dissemination of science.

I appreciate your comments, and you make a good argument concerning this piece of legislation. As you may know, HR 6845 was introduced on September 9, 2008, which is very late in the Congressional session. It is highly unlikely that this piece of legislation will be acted upon this year. If it is not brought to the floor for a vote, the bill would have to be reintroduced when the House reconvenes for the 111th Congress in 2009.

Normally, before a bill comes to the floor, the Committee it is assigned to – in this case, the House Judiciary Committee — would first hold hearings and a mark up of the legislation. (A mark up is a session where Committee members offer amendments to the bill.) The hearings are intended to provide an opportunity for the Committee to hear testimony from experts, including testimony on the possible impacts of this legislation.

Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor of H.R. 6845 outlined in his opening remarks that the intent of this legislation is not to harm the peer review system which is “a system that has been in place for over a hundred years and is the gatekeeper winnowing out great science from careless science or even fraudulent ‘research’ results.” Rather, he said, the bill was brought about in response to a policy change which was instituted in April at the National Institutes of Health, which according to Chairman Conyers was adopted “without adequate Congressional consideration of the impacts of those changes on the intellectual property system, innovation, or the peer review system.”

Please be assured that should this legislation come before the House before the close of the 110th or a similar provision be brought before the House when we reconvene in 2009 I will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind.

Again thank you for contacting me.

Jim McDermott
Member of Congress

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