SIIA’s Statement of Opposition to Hawaii HB 1412

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) respectfully submits the following statement in opposition to HB 1412.

The legislation imposes price and use controls on licenses of copyrighted works to any educational institution or publicly accessible library in Hawaii, requiring out-of-state copyright owners to impose “reasonable” terms on the use of electronic works.

Enactment of this legislation is ill-advised for both legal and policy reasons. From a legal perspective, the law is unenforceable. The federal copyright laws give the copyright owner a series of exclusive rights—among them, the rights to make and distribute copies. See 17 U.S.C. 106. In enacting it, Congress expressly intended to create a uniform series of rules governing the licensing of copyrighted works.

From a policy perspective, the legislation also will not work. Our members compete in a vibrant, competitive, and adaptive market for their intellectual property. During the pandemic, our members have bent over backwards to be sure that schools have had access to the instructional tools that they needed to keep their virtual and literal doors open. In other cases, these agreements can be handled via form contracts as the content is sold nationwide as a service. Rather than allow these agreements to form to particular needs, the legislation forces the inclusion of terms that neither the publisher nor the institution needs or wants. The result will be higher prices for Hawaiian consumers.

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