For almost two years, the non-profit Internet Multicasting Service has put the entire text of U.S. Patent and SEC documents on-line. On October 1, our two-year demonstration project ends. We are not interested in continuing the database, taking it commercial, getting additional funding from donors, or getting a government contract. We will not be submitting a bill for the $20,600 remaining on our NSF contract because we don't feel the project needs any more work.
It is time for the stakeholders in this data to step up to the plate and forge a solution. October 1 is the date that the Paperwork Reduction Act becomes law. This monumental piece of legislation was an integral part of the Contract with America, and received unqualified support from the Clinton Administration. There were no dissenting votes on this bill. The Paperwork Reduction Act obligates all government agencies to distribute their databases to all members of the public in an equitable, timely, and efficient manner.
The law doesn't say that the Patent Office or the SEC has to use the Internet. The law does make equitable and timely access an obligation and stresses that information dissemination is an integral part of the function of these agencies. It is hard to imagine how the SEC and the Patent office can meet their obligations under the new law without providing Internet access to their data.
Judge for yourself:
We sent our Vice President of Programs down to the National Press Club to see what it would cost to get documents from the commercial services. The highly experienced research librarians at the Eric Friedheim Library and News Information Center promptly accessed Microsoft's 1994 annual report. Imagine our shock when they presented us with a bill for $622! Here are your choices:
We think the SEC and the Patent office should comply with the new law on October 1 and offer Internet access to their databases. When a few mid-level bureaucrats stand in the way, sometimes it just takes a little push. We consider that little push to be part of our "Tough Love" program for the U.S. Government.
Show you care! Here are two public officials who have been leaders in getting information onto the Information Highway:
You can access our code for processing EDGAR and Patent tape feeds on an AS-IS and UNSUPPORTED basis. Good luck and have fun!