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[FYI] Net copyright clearance scheme announced


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Net copyright clearance scheme announced  

A service that lets web publishers trace pirated material will launch 
in Europe in September as the European Union moves towards a single 
copyright law.  

Brussels based Info2clear authenticates and time-stamps copyrighted 
material for journalists, publishers, translators, photographers, 
authors and research firms. It also helps track stolen copyright 

According to Forrester Research, in 1998 copyrighted print material 
worth two billion euros was cleared for reproduction, but this was 
only a tenth of the total value of original material copied.  

Info2clear claims that the lack of a simple way to clear copyright 
can be blamed for this 18 billion euro shortfall. It says publishers 
using its services will be able to obtain refunds for every copy 
made, prevent piracy and enforce their copyright without committing 
human or technical resources to chasing pirates.  

The lack of a common European copyright law has until now made pan-
European copyright, or intellectual property, protection extremely 
difficult as the fuss over the MP3 music compression system, and the 
Napster file-sharing program dedicated to it, has illustrated.  

However, a new EC directive - Information Society: Copyright and 
Related Rights - will shortly be agreed and there will be a June 2002 
deadline for member states to enact legislation based on the final 
draft. Once such legislation is on the statute books, writs are 
expected to start flying as publishers clamp down on unauthorised 
uses of their copyrighted material.  

Info2clear's system means authors can attach a copyright policy to 
their content, which can be used by Info2Clear to monitor usage of 
that content.  

Its 'get-a-seal' product electronically seals the content, issuing 
its author with a time-dated, digitally-signed certificate, and an 
electronic tag appears as an icon with the content when it is 
published online. The copyright owner can then define what charges, 
if any, should be levied on third parties wishing to publish their 

Users wishing to reproduce the content click on the icon and are 
taken to Info2clear's get-a-copy.com website where they gain 
clearance and pay for their copies. Rates are expected to be around 
12 euros per minimum 25 pages or copies. Info2clear then takes a 
percentage of generated revenues in what is essentially an 
application service provider business model.  

Info2clear says its products could mean a tougher time for casual 
copyright pirates publishing reproduced material online if copyright 
holders start filing lawsuits.  

Roland Louski, vice president of legal practices at Info2call, said: 
"It will be a help. A copyright holder can go to a court and say: 
'Look, I'm being protected by this system, this technical envelope 
under copyright law, and there has been a violation and we have 
tracked the process'."  

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