QuickLinks 160 - 17 June 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government


  • France - Pub sites internet: demande d'annulation de la décision du CSA (AFP) Le commissaire du gouvernement Frédéric Salat-Baroux a invité le conseil d'Etat à annuler la décision du CSA, ouvrant la publicité télévisée aux sites internet de la presse, du cinéma, de l'édition et de la distribution, secteurs interdits de petit écran.

  • UK - Digital radio - does it have a future? (Times) Following cold on the heels of digital television, digital radio is struggling to raise its profile. On June 14 Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, leads a "summit" on the matter in an attempt to kick start the nascent industry into action and raise the public's awareness of it.


   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • Australia - Digital TV in doubt as News pulls out of trials (Australian) The future of interactive digital television is in doubt after another big media group yesterday pulled out of datacasting trials. News Limited wanted to use the digital TV spectrum to offer new services, but confirmed the company would not take part in the trials because the federal Government's proposed datacasting rules meant the new service did not make commercial sense. see also Digital TV plans under a cloud (The Age).

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Call for help on music piracy (FT) Leading record industry executives have called on international governments to match their efforts to beat the proliferation of illegal music sales, after IFPI's Music Piracy Report 2000 revealed that one in three recordings sold worldwide was pirated. The showed there was growing evidence of a link between CD piracy and organised crime.

  • Sweden - Musikindustrie verliert Pilotklage wegen MP3-Piraterie (dpa) [Top Swedish court says links do not infringe copyright] Das Oberste Gericht in Schweden hat in Stockholm die erste Klage der europäischen Musikindustrie wegen Verbreitung illegaler Musikkopien im Internet abgewiesen. Der IFPI («International Federation of the Phonographic Industry») hatte 1999 einen 18-jährigen Schweden aus Falköping angezeigt, weil dieser auf seiner Homepage zahlreiche Links zum Herunterladen von Musik im MP3-Format angegeben hatte.

  • USA - Hollywood cracks down on Web VCR site (CNET News.com) The motion picture industry and a dozen TV and movie studios sued start-up RecordTV.com, charging that the Web VCR service has violated their copyrights.

  • USA - Internet Copyright Laws Debated (AP) Major content providers - and the director of the federal copyright office - argued that Internet companies should not be eligible for the special licenses that satellite and cable companies have to carry broadcast programming. But Web businesses, testifying at a congressional hearing, said this puts them on an uneven playing field and singles out their technology as different from others.

  • USA - Napster closure threat (BBC) The recording industry has asked a US federal court judge for a preliminary injunction to shut down Napster, the popular internet music-sharing service.

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital signatures

   Domain names

   Electronic commerce



   Junk mail (spam)

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law


  • Base price for Italy UMTS looks cheap (Reuters) Italy set the base price for each of the five new generation UMTS licenses being offered this year at four trillion lire ($1.97 billion) - but analysts expected the final cost to go much higher.

  • UK - BT faces net access probe (Financial Times) British Telecommunications, the former state utility, is facing a probe by the government phones watchdog for preventing customers from choosing rival internet portals as their home page when accessing the net with a mobile phone.

   Multilingual content and software

   Multimedia content and tools

   Protection of minors

  • Internet Game Teaches Kids to Avoid Sex Predators (Reuters) Canada's national police turned to a small Vancouver-based multimedia company called LiveWires Design, asking it to develop a computer game to teach children how not to fall prey to sexual exploitation on the internet.

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Commission promotes Safer Internet (RAPID) Ten projects are being financed under the European Commission's Action Plan on promoting safer use of the Internet. This Action Plan runs for four years (1999 - 2002) and provides 25 million euro funding for measures to deal with illegal and harmful content on the global network. A new call for proposals for awareness actions and hotlines is also under way.

   Taxation and tariffs

  • EU/USA - Brussels taxes US patience on e-business (FT) The US has condemned the European Commission proposal for a new value-added tax regime for electronically delivered consumer services and subscription television as a rash unilateral move that jeopardises hopes of refining the OECD agreement by early next year and threatens global development of e-commerce.


Market & Technology

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • AOL strikes set-top box deal (FT) The war of the set-top boxes is about to break out in earnest in the US. America Online struck a deal that could leave it with as much as 30 per cent of TiVo, a US company whose technology makes it possible to freeze, pause or replay images while watching live TV broadcasts.

   Electronic commerce

  • Reel.com Closes Net Video Store (The Industry Standard) Online retailing pioneer Reel.com is shutting down its e-commerce operations and laying off about 200 employees, marking one of the first high-profile failures of the once-highly touted click-and-mortar model of internet retailing.

  • U.K. Supermarket Abandons Online Shopping (The Industry Standard) U.K. supermarket chain Somerfield will cease operation of 24-7, its internet home shopping business.


   Portals, browsers and search engines

   Quality of service



Useful addresses


Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.

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QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham richard.swetenham@cec.eu.int - Contributors: NewsNow UK, MediaGrok, UNESCO, TKRNews, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Gordon Lennox, Paula Telo Alves, Günter Wilms