More bad news for those hoping that politicians were finally waking up to how backwards our intellectual property system currently is. In a step further backwards, the House Judiciary committee approved a bill granting intellectual property protection to databases - even if the info in the database is publicly available. The bill was supported by big database companies who are afraid that people will come along and copy their databases and resell them. Of course, such things are already covered by intellectual property law - but the firms wanted additional protections that seem to go against the Supreme Court's rulings that say you can't copyright facts. This law will have a tremendous number of unintended consequences - similar to the DMCA. All you need to do, now, to provide extra protection to public facts is put them in a database of some sort. The bill still has a ways to go before it becomes a law, but the fact that it's gotten this far isn't a good sign.
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