QuickLinks 169 - 16 September 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government


  • EU - Community audiovisual policy in the digital age (EUROPARL) On 6 September, the European Parliament adopted in plenary session a resolution on the Commission Communication "Principles and guidelines for the Community's audiovisual policy in the digital age" (COM(1999) 657) Rapporteur: Valter Veltroni, Culture, youth, education, media, sport Committee. PE Report and link to minutes (text of resolution) : A5-0209/2000.


  • USA - AOL rivals put instant messaging wars on FCC radar (CNET News.com) Instant messaging has vaulted to the front burner of the Federal Communications Commission investigation of the proposed merger between America Online and Time Warner. FCC staffers now want to loosen AOL's grip on instant messaging as a concession to passing the merger.

   Computer crime

  • Razzia gegen Pädophile in Dänemark (Heise Online) Die dänische Polizei hat am frühen Donnerstagmorgen bei einer landesweiten Razzia in 37 Privatwohnungen zahlreiche pornografische Bilder von Kindern sicher gestellt.

   Consumer protection

  • UK - Advertising watchdog bites 'free' ISPs (uk.internet.com) The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has backed outraged internet surfers using so-called free services which sting them for phone or connection charges. The UK watchdog yesterday ruled that "free must mean totally free". see adjudication NTL Group Ltd.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Australia lifts curbs on Olympic Games media coverage (RAPID) Australia's Olympic authorities have lifted their planned curbs on Olympic Games media coverage. As a result, foreign television news agencies, including the agencies Reuters and Associated Press, will be entitled to permanent passes that would not have been issued under Sydney's original plans.

  • BBC World Service hit by Olympic restrictions (Yahoo /ZDNet) The worldwide ban on streaming Olympic audio and video coverage over the Internet has forced the BBC World Service to stop broadcasting news and sports programmes over the Web. To avoid infringing copyright, nothing which might accidentally refer to the Sydney Olympics will be broadcast on the World Service Internet audio feed for the duration of the Games. See also Why the net is not invited to Sydney (Guardian).

  • Europäisches Patentamt befürwortet Software-Patente (Heise Online) Der Verwaltungsrat des Europäischen Patentamts (EPA) hat sich für die uneingeschränkte Patentierbarkeit von Software ausgesprochen. Wie das Handelsblatt berichtet, empfiehlt die Behörde die Streichung der bislang bestehenden Klausel des Europäischen Patentübereinkommens, wonach Computerprogramme "als solche" nicht patentierbar sind.

  • Napster case makes strange bedfellows (ZDNN) Dozens of interest groups, from athletes to doctors to free speech advocates, have filed briefs that seek to define the issues for the appeals court weighing the future of Napster.

  • Playboy Ruling Recognizes Limits to Online Rights of Trademark Holders (New York Times) A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Playboy against Excite and its search engine licensee, Netscape. The summary judgment ruling may safeguard an Internet advertising practice known as "keying," whereby a search engine offers advertisers the ability to display specific banner ads whenever users enter selected search terms, including trademarks.

  • USA - Student's PC seized after record industry complaint (CNET News.com) Campus police confiscated an Oklahoma State University student's computer after the Recording Industry Association of America notified the school that a person on campus was allegedly distributing copyrighted material.

   Data Protection (privacy)


   Digital divide

  • Bridges.org - Newsletter Volume 1.2 published Bridges.org was launched in December 1999 to address the growing international digital divide and to promote the application of information technology to address economic and social issues in developing countries and emerging economies.

   Domain names

   Employment and social issues

  • Company fires 24 for e-mail abuse (AP) Dow Chemical Co. has fired 24 employees and reprimanded 235 others after an investigation into the use of the company’s e-mail system to send violent or sexually explicit material.

   Information society and Internet policy


  • International Forum on Surveillance by Design (Privacy International et al) 22 September 2000, London, UK. A one day public meeting on the development of global surveillance strategies for law enforcement and national security.

   Internet access and use

  • Germany - Behörde prüft mögliche Benachteiligung von Online-Anbietern (Reuters) Die Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) hat ein Verfahren gegen die Deutsche Telekom wegen möglicher Diskriminierungen von Online-Anbietern eingeleitet. Gegenstand des Verfahrens seien die Entgelte, die von der Telekom im Zusammenhang mit Verbindungen über das Telefonnetz zu Online-Diensten gegenüber Internet-Service-Providern (ISP) und Anbietern von Online-Diensten erhoben werden.

   IT in education


  • Russia suspends mobile seizure (Total Telecom (registration required)) Russian Communications Minister Leonid Reiman has temporarily blocked the seizure of Moscow radio frequencies from two mobile phone companies.

   Protection of minors

  • USA - FTC Releases Report on the Marketing of Violent Entertainment to Children (Press Release) The Federal Trade Commission released its report "Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: A Review of Self-Regulation and Industry Practices in the Motion Picture, Music Recording & Electronic Game Industries." The report finds that while the entertainment industry has taken steps to identify content that may not be appropriate for children, the companies in those industries still routinely target children under 17 in their marketing of products their own ratings systems deem inappropriate or warrant parental caution due to violent content. see also Gore Lashes Out at Entertainment Industry (Reuters).

  • USA - FCC Seeks Comments on Digital TV Broadcasters' Obligations to Serve Children (Press Release) In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC has asked for comments on the obligation of DTV broadcasters to provide educational and informational programming for children and the requirement that DTV broadcasters limit the amount of advertising in children's programs.


  • USA - Adult Industry Leaders Gather to Battle Child Pornographers (Entertainment Wire) Adult industry leaders will gather in New Orleans September 22nd-24th for the IA2000 conference, the world's largest adult internet/audiotext trade show, to try to refine current and develop new methods to battle child pornographers. The panel of experts for "the fight against child pornography" seminar (10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 22nd) includes attorney Parry Aftab of Cyberangels and Andrew Edmond, the head of the chief adult website traffic monitoring firm, Sextracker.

   Racism and xenophobia

  • European Network Against Racism (ENAR) ENAR, a network of European NGOs working to combat racism in all the EU member states, is a major outcome of the 1997 European Year Against Racism. ENAR is determined to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals, and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European initiatives.

  • Germany - L'industrie informatique contre l'extrême-droite allemande (Reuters) Dans une lettre ouverte au chancelier Gerhard Schröder, 300 sociétés informatiques basées en Allemagne demandent au gouvernement d'intensifier la lutte contre l'extrême-droite.

   Rating and filtering

  • Der zlash-Index (Fireball ZLASH) Der zlash-Index basiert inhaltlich auf dem Fireball-Index und besteht aus mehr als 100000 deutschsprachigen Seiten. Dabei wurde besonders darauf geachtet, dass jugendgefährdende Inhalte nicht zu finden sind. Jugendthemen und Schulmaterialien bilden den Inhalts-Schwerpunkt. Das zlash-Team besteht nur aus Schülern. siehe auch Aids statt Sex (Heise Online).

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • France - Recrutement en ligne: lancement d'une charte déontologique (AFP) Trois sites de recrutement en ligne se sont associés pour créer une charte qui établit des règles de fonctionnement et d'éthique pour les recruteurs comme pour les candidats. Pour promouvoir cette charte, ces trois sites - Jobpilot.fr, Monster.fr et Newmonday.fr - se sont regroupés au sein de l'Association des professionnels pour la promotion de l'emploi sur internet (APPEI).


  • Russia expected to approve telecoms restructure (Total Telecom (registration required)) The Russian government will probably approve a reorganisation plan for the national telecoms system by December.

  • UK - Rivals wary of BT unbundling (FT) The UK's Electoral Reform Society is set to play a unusual role in the efforts to create more competition in the UK telecommunications system. The society, which usually helps advise on electoral processes, has been called in by telecoms operators to help provide a neutral channel for their applications to access British Telecommunications local exchanges


  • Regulation and Liberalisation of European Telecoms (Access Conferences International Ltd) 30th November & 1st December 2000, The Conrad International, Brussels. EU Commissioners Mario Monti and Erkki Liikanen will address representatives from Europe's leading telecommunications companies and engage in direct dialogue with them on the present and future regulatory regime. Fees: £1199.00.

Market & Technology


  • French distributors join "movie-pass" battle (AFP) The Gaumont circuit and the independent MK2 chain of cinemas joined battle with the giant UGC over a subscription system that allows film-goers to see as many films as they want, whenever they want, for just 98 francs (13 dollars) a month. Having appealed in vain to the government to outlaw the UGC scheme, Gaumont and MK2 have announced they will issue their own joint pass.

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • Microsoft's blank screen (Economist) Despite $10 billion-worth of investments in cable systems in America and Europe, Microsoft’s television strategy is in trouble

  • PCs vs TVs (FT) The number of people who use the Internet while watching television - whether on the same device or not - is certainly growing fast, a fact that has implications for news providers and how they present their information to an audience that might be increasingly capable of dealing with more than one visual stimulus at a time.

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Electronic commerce

  • Bertelsmann sets sights on e-commerce leadership (Reuters) Europe's biggest media company Bertelsmann AG set its sights firmly on becoming a world leader in e-commerce as it announced its expansion war chest now held 30 billion marks ($13.3 billion).



  • Negroponte: "3G will not see the light of day" (ZDNN) Nicholas Negroponte pricked a few bubbles at the European IT Forum in Monte Carlo describing Europe's lead in mobiles as illusory and that 3G will not see the light of day

  • Operators and vendors extend mobile data initiative (Total Telecom (registration required)) A group of mobile operators, handset vendors and computing hardware companies have teamed up to work on the interoperability of mobile services using general packet radio service (GPRS) and third-generation technologies. The mobile data initiative next generation (MDI-NG) is an extension of the MDI, which worked for mobile computing standards over GSM networks.

  • WAP, Europe's Wireless Dud? (Washington Post)

   Portals, browsers and search engines


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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, Internet Law News, MediaGrok, UNESCO, TKRNews, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie