Fun_People Archive
3 Oct
SEC Edgar Database May Not Last

Date: Tue, 3 Oct 95 16:21:56 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: SEC Edgar Database May Not Last

Forwarded-by: (Keith Bostic)

TAP-INFO Information Policy Note
Crown Jewels - EDGAR
October 3, 1995

The SEC's EDGAR database is now online from the SEC at
The following note was provided by Carl Malamud, the person who runs the
Internet Multicasting Service (IMS), the non-profit organization that
(with NYU) provide Internet access to the EDGAR databased for two years.

Carl is concerned that Disclosure, Inc. and other vendors are mounting
an effort to end or change the SEC's new EDGAR dissemination project,
which began last week.  I've been talking with persons from the industry
and the Congress.  One thing the vendors want to do is to prohibit
the SEC from providing bulk access to its filings for free,
thereby increasing the cost of entry into the value added market.
I hope to provide additional details at the end of the week.
Here is Carl's note, which he sent to me on friday of last week (but
didn't go out due to network problems).
jamie  (


From: Carl Malamud <>

Please Redistribute:

Yesterday, September 28, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began
providing Internet access to the EDGAR database:

Lobbyists for the Information Industry Association (IIA) have actively opposed
this project and are working actively to have it killed.  If you have opinions
on the issue, it is crucial that you make your views known by writing to
Chairman Levitt of the SEC in care of:

EDGAR on the Internet began two years ago as a trial project with New York
University and the non-profit Internet Multicasting Service.  Over 3 million
documents were distributed and the current rate of access is over 17,000
documents per day.  The Internet database makes key financial information
available to people who did not have it before: students, public interest
groups, senior citizen investment clubs, and many others.

Lobbyists contend that free access to simple keyword searches and unprocessed
bulk databases threatens the retail information industry.  We believe that the
opposite is true: free access to raw data expands the market of potential
users.  Evidence of this is that Moody's, RR Donnelley, and Disclosure all
signed contracts offering to help the Internet Multicasting Service.

There is still a crucial role for the Information Industries.  They provide
value added in the form of real-time access, extensive historical databases,
consulting, re-formatted documents, and extracts of key portions of documents.
However, putting raw data on the Internet 24 hours after publication is *not*
value added and the companies that will thrive in the information age do not
view this as a threat.

This issue is a key test of the Contract With America.  The Paperwork  
Act, which takes effect on October 1, was a key part of the Contract and
stated that government data should not be made available at inflated prices to
a few special interests.  The SEC EDGAR project carries out the provisions of
that law that state that data *must* be available through a "diversity of
public and private sources" and the public must get access to key government
databases in a "timely and equitable manner."

There are two purposes of the Securities and Exchange Commission: enforcement
and disclosure.  Disclosure means that the investing public has the
information they need so that the capital flows to the best firms in the
market. The EDGAR database is not a product to be auctioned off to the
highest bidder: it is fuel for the information economy.

If you feel strongly for or against this project, you should let your
views be known now.

Carl Malamud
Internet Multicasting Service

 Write to the SEC in care of

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[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []