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Washington Wiki War

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By David Perera May 9, 2007

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A new Washington-based wiki premised on libertarian principles sparked a Library of Congress response when founder Jim Harper boasted it would be better than the Library’s online legislation tracker THOMAS, says ars technica.

WashingtonWatch.com, launched last month by Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, seeks to track the “net present value” of government spending, taxation and regulation. In a statement sent to reporters, Harper said the wiki would be a “more user-friendly and interactive way for the public to learn about legislation” than THOMAS.

“After the announcement, he was contacted by Matt Raymond, the Director of Communications at the Library (and the author of the Library of Congress' blog)," says ars technica writer Nate Anderson. "Raymond said that he possessed ‘statutory and regulatory authority governing unauthorized use of the Library's name and logo and those of Library subunits and programs,' and he asked that Harper stop using the names ‘Library of Congress’ and ‘THOMAS’ in his marketing materials.”

Anderson says he contacted Raymond, who said the use of THOMAS’s name was made “‘in the context of marketing and endorsement,’” and therefore verboten.

As for WashingtonWatch.com, it now attributes the “more user-friendly” remark to an article in Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.

Hat tip: Slashdot

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