QuickLinks 164 - 15 July 2000
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Legal and regulatory issues
- UK - International Benchmarking Report (Press Release) Report prepared by the Central IT Unit of the Cabinet Office with the findings of an International benchmarking study on the development of e-government services.
- European audiovisual policy in the digital age (Press Release) The European audiovisual industry in the digital age must be able to compete at international level while also guaranteeing pluralism, cultural diversity and consumer access to networks and content, said the European Parliament Culture Committee.
- WorldCom, Sprint officially call off merger (ZDnet) Long-distance telephone powerhouses WorldCom and Sprint canceled their $120 billion merger plan following regulatory complaints.
- EU - Commission approves e-commerce joint venture between Deutsche Bank and SAP (Rapid) The European Commission has given the go-ahead to the joint venture between Deutsche Bank and the software company SAP for emaro, an electronic trading platform where suppliers of office equipment can do on-line business with customers.
- EU - Commission approves rules on separation of accounts for public service providers (RAPID) The European Commission approved an amendment of the Transparency Directive which introduces separation of accounts for companies which operate services of general economic interest and receive compensation in form of payments or special or exclusive rights and which are also active in normal commercial operations. The public broadcasting sector is in principle covered by the Directive. However, the Directive only applies if a company has also activities outside the scope of its public service obligation.
- EU - Commission clears Belgian joint venture between Planet Internet and Fortis Bank (RAPID) The Commission has authorised the creation of a joint venture in the Internet sector in Belgium between Planet Internet, a subsidiary of Dutch telecom operator KPN, and Fortis Bank. The proposed venture will set up a web site which will contain general information addressed to young people.
- EU - Commission clears Telefónica buy of Endemol (RAPID) The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of Endemol Entertaining Holding, the Dutch producer of TV programmes, by Telefónica, the incumbent Spanish telecommunications operator which is also active as a television broadcaster.
- EU - Independents demand limits on music mergers (FT) The EU's leading independent music companies have called on the European Commission to impose strict conditions on current mergers in the entertainment and internet business such as the AOL-Time Warner tie up, in order to ensure the digital delivery market for music is not controlled by a small number of big players
- UK - Commission to make way for ITV consolidation (netimperative) Granada has received the blessing of the Competition Commission to merge with ITV rivals Carlton or UN&M. But the commission found that the merger of Carlton and UN&M may "work against the public interest". The secretary of state for trade and industry stipulated that the companies agree to dispose of the Meridian licence to avoid having "adverse effects" on the advertising market.
- USA - TV Networks Face Competition Suit (New York Law Journal) In an antitrust lawsuit, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that satellite company PrimeTime 24 had sufficiently alleged that the major broadcast networks made baseless and harmful challenges to PrimeTime's right to send signals to households throughout the country.
- USA - FTC clamps down on Web pharmacies (Associated Press) In a crackdown on Web sites offering Viagra and similar drugs, the Federal Trade Commission has reached settlements with a group of Web pharmacies over accusations that they overcharged customers and made false claims about their medical staff. The pharmacies have agreed to stop their current business practices. see Online Pharmacies Settle FTC Charges (Press Release).
- Australian Govt Grilled Over Streaming Net Content Review (Newsbytes) Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA) has called on the Australian Government to publicly explain and clear up the reasons for a mandatory review of streamed Internet audio and video content as contained in the country's recently passed digital television legislation.
- Conférence internationale - Strasbourg (Rapid) Conférence internationale sur la gestion et l'utilisation légitime de la propriété intellectuelle - Discours de Frits Bolkestein, Membre de la Commission européenne en charge du Marché Intérieur et de la Fiscalité - Strasbourg, 10 juillet 2000
- France - Accord sur les droits d'auteur des journalistes au Figaro (AFP) La direction du Figaro et le Syndicat national des Journalistes (SNJ) ont conclu un accord sur les droits d'auteur des journalistes, notamment sur l'internet, mettant ainsi fin à un long conflit, accompagné d'une procédure judiciaire.
- Germany - Urheberrechtsabgabe auf PCs gefordert (Heise Online) Die Zentralstelle für private Überspielungsrechte (ZPÜ), ein Inkasso-Unternehmen von Urheberrechts-Verwertungsgesellschaften wie der Gema oder der VG Wort, hat in einem Schreiben 15 deutsche PC-Hersteller, Importeure und Händler aufgefordert, die Anzahl aller verkauften PCs seit dem 1. Januar 2000 zu nennen.
- USA - Musicians launch national anti-Napster campaign (CNET News.com) An industry-backed group of musicians has launched a high-profile ad campaign against online music piracy, hoping to persuade fans not to use Napster and other similar Net tools. Dubbed Artists Against Piracy, the group kicked off its efforts with full-page ads in USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other national newspapers.
- RecordTV.com Lawsuit Response Seeks Webcasting Rights (Newsbytes)
- USA - Coolsavings settles e-coupon patent dispute (CNET News.com)
- USA - DVD Case Will Test Reach of Digital Copyright Law (The New York Times)
- Ireland Joins E-Sig Craze (Wired) Following closely on the tail of the United States, Ireland became the second country to use a digital signature to sign its electronic commerce and digital signature act.
- Web Regulators Mull New Addresses (Associated Press) In an effort to lessen the crowding in the .com Internet domain, conferees in Japan this week are about to vote on a plan to give the Internet its first new set of addresses since the 1980s. see also Like area codes, Net needs more domains and Existing domain-name suffixes (Seattle Times), ICANN Opponents Blast Favorable GAO Report (Newsbytes) and Afternic.com Drops Lawsuit, Agrees to ICANN's Terms, ICANN & Internet Democracy, Berkmann Project, ICANN Studienkreis, ICANN Watch, unofficial site for the At-Large community and Internet Democracy Project homepage.
- Cybersquatters Face Olympic-Sized Lawsuit (The Industry Standard) In what is being billed as the single biggest crackdown on cybersquatters, three Olympic governing bodies have filed a civil suit in a Virginia federal court to shut down more than 1,800 rogue web sites that they charge are profiting from official Olympic trademarks.
- U.N. Agency Broadens Fight Against Cybersquatters (New York Times) The World Intellectual Property Organisation is launching a new offensive against people who try to hijack Internet addresses. While efforts have so far focused on the misleading use of trademarks in domain names, WIPO will start consultations on protecting other intellectual property rights such as trade and personal names and geographic regions.
- UK Firm Fails To Reclaim Domain Name Lost In Shuffle (Newsbytes) A UK company that lost a domain name during a botched transfer has failed in an attempt to win it back using an arbitration process designed to settle disputes over such addresses. see also Tacoma Web Developer Bests Giant Fuji In Domain Dispute (Newsbytes), full text of the decision (WIPO).
- USA - Report Says E-Voting Is Unsafe (Wired) Voting in your pajamas is unsafe. So says the latest study published by the Voting Integrity Project, a non-partisan group based in Arlington, Virginia that has openly attacked theArizona Democratic Party's Internet primary election in March.
- France - Valentin Lacambre ferme Altern, service d'hébergement gratuit (Libération) Le service d'hébergement Altern.org a définitivement fermé, et plus de 40 000 sites personnels se retrouvent à la rue. Créée en 1992, la structure avait pour principe d'offrir une fenêtre d'expression libre à tout un chacun, gratuitement et sans un embryon de bandeau publicitaire.
- Germany - Regulator approves 3G alliance (FT) German regulators have approved a pan-European mobile phone alliance between Hutchison Whampoa, KPN and NTT DoCoMo despite fears that it will dramatically reduce the proceeds from third generation licence auctions.
- Germany - Internet-Cafes ignorieren Jugendschutz (tecChannel.de) Die Stiftung Warentest hat neun Internet-Cafes auf technische Ausstattung und Einhaltung der Jugendschutzbestimmungen geprüft. Die Tester landeten dabei sowohl in Cafes mit neuester Technik als auch in Spelunken. Der Jugendschutz bleibt bei den meisten Betreibern außen vor.
- British Columbia Classifies Violent Computer Game as Adult Movie (New York Times) Authorities in British Columbia have classified a computer game that graphically depicts severed heads and humans burned alive as an adult movie, making it illegal to sell or rent it to anyone under 18. It is the first time in Canada that a computer game has received the adults-only rating and could trigger further efforts to limit availability of computer games with violent themes.
- Canada - Canada's Children In A Wired World: The Parents' View (Media Awareness Network) In the survey parents were asked for their opinions on their child's Internet use, the benefits and risks associated with their child's use of the Internet, effective measures for addressing Internet safety issues and inappropriate online content.
- USA - Awareness key for cybercrime prevention (IDG.net) The biggest challenges law enforcement officials face when combating child pornography and stalking is public awareness and informing citizens about how to report crimes.
- European Parliament Hears E-Commerce Tax Pitch (Newsbytes) The European Parliament in Brussels received the Internet-based value-added tax pitch from EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, who explained that - despite American IT company objections - e-commerce should be taxed within the European Union in the same fashion as traditional sales.
Market & Technology
- Net firm to auction four ".TV" domains (Reuters) The company that agreed to pay the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu $50 million for rights to Web addresses ending in ".tv," is putting four of those destinations up for bid during a live televised auction.
- EPIC Bill Track (EPIC) Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Bills in the 106th Congress
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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