Opening Statement of Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA).
Re: House Telecom Subcommittee Markup of
HR 1858 (database protection).
Date: July 29, 1999.
Source: House Commerce Committee.
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House Commerce Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA) today is scheduled to deliver the following statement as the Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protections Subcommittee considers H.R. 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act of 1999:

Let me begin by thanking you, along with Mr. Markey and Mr. Dingell, for your hard work and support in bringing this bill forward for consideration.

This legislation is important to this Committee's agenda on electronic commerce. Databases are critical to a robust marketplace. These databases house information that is the currency of the Internet.

Consumers use the Internet to price shop, to compare mortgage rates, to buy stocks, and for a variety of other commercial activities. The underlying ingredient to all of these transactions is information. Without it, electronic commerce would be a highway with no cars.

The intent of this bill is to ensure that consumers will continue to have that critical access to information, while at the same time ensuring that database publishers have adequate protection against pirates in the digital environment.

I agree with those who say that the digital highway poses a unique threat to database publishers. That's why this bill would -- for the first time ever -- create a federal 'stop sign' to database piracy.

But just as important, the bill will continue to protect consumers' access to information, and also promote competition in the database market.

In the end, this bill is a balanced proposal to an important issue, and I urge my colleagues to support it.