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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: New copyright laws regulate Web content
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- Subject: [FYI] (Fwd) FC: New copyright laws regulate Web content
- From: Horns@t-online.de (Axel H. Horns)
- Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 09:01:04 +0100
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Man darf die _langfristige_ Bedeutung der hintier dieser Meldung
stehenden Problematik nicht unterschaetzen. Die Diskussion der
anstehenden Aenderung des UrhG im Hinblick auf die WIPO-Copyright-
Vertraege vom Dezember 1996 findet noch viel zu wenig in der
Axel H. Horns
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 15:26:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Declan McCullagh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: FC: New copyright laws regulate Web content
[Establishing intellectual property boundaries for the Net is
something best left to courts, not special-interest lobbyists cutting
these sorts of sleazy, anti-consumer backroom deals. But neither the
left nor the right is saying this, or will admit to it. --Declan]
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 16:12:20 -0500
From: Adam Powell <email@example.com>
Subject: yikes: new copyright laws regulate Web content
Interesting how so many provisions are trickling out *after* it has
become law... Cheers Adam
New U.S. copyright laws ban Webcasts of many TV, radio programs
By Adam Clayton Powell III
The two-day-old U.S. copyright law, originally presented as an
anti-piracy measure, is imposing unanticipated new restrictions
on journalists, broadcasters and librarians. President Clinton signed
the new Copyright Act into law Wednesday. It was the culmination of
months of hard lobbying by the major Hollywood studios to increase
charges for use of copyrighted material online. But the true price of
the new law, both in new mandatory financial payments and in
restrictions on the free flow of news and information, is only now
The burgeoning use of audio and video over the Internet will be hit
hard by new mandatory fees far higher than those paid by cable or
over-the-air broadcasters. Some content now routine on all-news radio
stations and such television services as CNN and MSNBC could now be
illegal on the Internet.
Currently, television and radio stations voluntarily license music
for a small fee from ASCAP or BMI, organizations that represent
musicians and composers. But the new law hits anyone transmitting
audio or video over the Internet by providing for a mandatory tax on
all gross revenues. The tax rate has not yet been set, but figures of
from 5% to 7% are being discussed -- and the recording industry,
which would administer the new fund, wants the rate set even higher.
Hidden among the provisions of the law are content controls that were
little reported or discussed before Congress approved this bill.
For example, the recording industry can now restrict the choice of
music anyone can play over the Internet, by setting ceilings on
the number of times certain songs can be played. No such controls now
exist on broadcast or cable television or radio.
This could have a clear impact on journalists. When a musician is in
the news _ the death of Frank Sinatra and Elton John's tribute to
Princess Diana are examples _ CNN, MSNBC and other news operations
schedule frequent broadcasts of their music. The Web sites of major
newspapers and magazines may also feature clips of the artists'
music. But according to some analysts, the new law will prohibit
those newscasts _ including Internet simulcasts of legal broadcast
and cable television and radio programs.
The new law is having a chilling effect on the free flow of printed
information: Educational Web sites can now be prosecuted for
distributing information online that has until now been freely
available at public libraries and on library Web sites.
One Web site devoted to classic literature, Eldritch Press, notified
readers on its home page that the new law would force it to close
"This site will be shut November 11, 1998, as a direct result of the
chilling effect of the series of laws regarding copyright and the
Internet passed by the U.S. Congress," read the notice. "We no longer
see a future for us as individuals to construct a free public library
for the world on the Internet."
The American Library Association months ago predicted that the new
law would threaten the American tradition of free flow of
information, and librarians now face new expanded federal
"What we are worried about here is that we have for the first time a
prohibition on simply accessing information," Adam Eisgrau of the
American Library Association told The New York Times. "In the past,
the law has punished you on how you used that information."
One Web site operator vowed to defy the spirit of the law while
observing its letter.
"I'm going to post 72 books today, just to say, 'Take that!' " said
Michael Hart, a visiting scientist at Carnegie Mellon University and
director of Project Gutenberg free book site, in an interview with
The New York Times.
Hart's site features 1,700 books, all in the public domain and posted
by volunteers, and he said he was worried about the future
availability even of old texts. According to Hart, books that
"squeaked by" just before the new law took effect include Ulysses, by
James Joyce, and Samuel Butler's translation of Homer's The Odyssey.
And a group of leading U.S. computer scientists and researchers sent
a letter to the White House warning the new law "has the potential
to imperil computer systems and networks throughout the United
States, criminalize many current university courses and research in
information security, and severely disrupt a growing American
industry in information security technology."
The Clinton administration maintained that the more-onerous
provisions of the bill were changed before it was passed by Congress.
And in Hollywood, major movie studios uncorked the champagne to
celebrate the new law, the result of months of high pressure by movie
makers and record companies, most now owned by those same studios.
"This gives us enough confidence that our ability to use the digital
domain to encrypt, encode and scramble our works can truly protect
our properties," Time Warner Senior Vice President Tim Boggs, the
company's chief lobbyist, told the Los Angeles Times in a story
headlined "Company Town: Congress Puts Power Behind Hollywood's
Boggs was echoing the original stated purpose of the law, which was
to protect Hollywood movies and U.S. music from being pirated by
China and other countries, where perfect digital copies of CDs and
movies are sold without any royalties being paid to the producers.
But opponents termed the new law too broad, representing a reversal
of the centuries-old tradition of copyright dating back to the
writing of the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution
enumerated the powers of Congress, including copyright.
"The Congress shall have power to ... promote the progress of science
and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and
inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and
Eisgrau noted the purpose of this provision was primarily the
advancement of science and the arts.
"The whole premise of copyright law is not and was not intended to
provide a revenue stream. It was intended to provide a sufficient
incentive to have information created. Information was intended to be
a public good, not a private commodity," Eisgrau told the Times.
New York Times: Free Book Sites Hurt by
Copyright Law CNET: Copyright law will cost Net
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