QuickLinks 185 - 27 January 2001

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • UK - One TV watchdog? We'll ITC to it (Observer) The Independent Television Commission has published the biggest consultation exercise on public service broadcasting (PSB) ever undertaken. The ITC's initiative was an impressive contribution to the debate on the Government's communications White Paper. The vast majority of respondents, including those with pay-TV, believed strongly in the key principles of PSB and felt they were still valid in the multi-channel age. see also One regulator in broadcasting


  • Formula One case settled (FT) The dispute between the European Union and world motorsport's governing body over the million dollar broadcasting and commercial rights to Formula One racing was settled after a five-year battle.

  • EU to investigate CD prices (Financial Times) The European Commission is to launch a cartel investigation into the world's leading music companies, which it suspects are fixing artificially high prices for CDs in the European Union. see also CD probe to focus on contracts

   Computer crime

   Content regulation

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Musikverleger fordern globale Lizenzierung von Musik im Web (Heise) Die internationalen Musikverleger fordern die weltweite Lizenzierung und Verwertung von Musik im Internet. "Dies darf nicht mehr national organisiert werden, sondern muss international geschehen", sagte der Präsident von BMG Music Publishing im Bertelsmann-Konzern, Nicholas Firth, auf der Musikmesse Midem in Cannes.

  • EU - Kopieren verboten (Telepolis) Musik- und Filmindustrie erhöhen den Druck auf das Europäische Parlament, um den Kompromiss zur Urheberrechtsrichtlinie der EU kurz vor der Zweiten Lesung der Direktive im Europaparlament noch in ihrem Interesse zu verschieben.

  • USA - Broadcasters Sue Over Web Royalties (Industry Standard) The National Association of Broadcasters wants to overturn a ruling by the U.S. Copyright Office that could force radio stations to pay millions to rebroadcast programs online. see also Battle lines harden over Net copyright (CNET News.com).

  • USA - Copyright Ruling Assailed (Wired) A federal court decision that restricted a DVD-descrambling program ignores free speech rights and should be overturned, eight different coalitions claim. The groups, representing everyone from cryptographers to journalists, have ganged up to attack the ruling in separate amicus briefs.

  • USA - Web war rages over DVD-cracking site (ZDNN) Internet service provider Verio is standing up to the movie industry by refusing to remove a Web site the Motion Picture Association of America says is illegal.

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Domain names


  • Germany - Bundesgerichtshof veröffentlicht Urteile im Internet (Hiese) Nach dem Bundesverfassungsgericht wird nun auch der Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) seine Urteile im Internet veröffentlichen. Wie der BGH-Präsident Günter Hirsch mitteilte, sollen die Entscheidungen voraussichtlich ab Mitte dieses Jahres im Volltext online abrufbar sein.


   Information society and Internet policy

  • Internet Governance Conference: Who controls the Internet? (Press Release) 6 April 2001, Berlin. The international conference organsised by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation will discuss expert analyses and recommendations on future-viable regulatory models concerning structure and content of the Internet.

   IT in education

  • New York School Web Site (New York Times) The New York City Board of Education has authorized what could be the Internet's largest education site and to supply teachers and every student above the fourth grade with an Internet device or computer for use at school and at home.

   Junk mail (spam)

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • UK - ISPs caught up in Internet babies furore (Yahoo UK) ISPs have become the latest victims of the Internet adoption row, with the government telling providers they must get rid of illegal adoption adverts. Health minister John Hutton has written to ISPs stating that if someone informs them about illegal adoption adverts they must take the content down. ISPA (Internet Service Providers' Association) calls for clarification on who should be allowed to tell ISPs to take content down and points out that only a court of law has the authority to decide what is legal and illegal. see also Conflicting Rulings in Net Adoption Case (AP).

  • Webliography on the Yahoo case (Lapres et associes) A comprehensive set of links

  • Germany - Gericht: Fremde Links auf eigene Seiten kann man verbieten (Heise) Das Landgericht Hamburg hat einer Firma in einem kürzlich verkündeten Urteil, zu dem nun die schriftliche Begründung vorliegt, beim Setzen unerwünschter Weblinks einen Unterlassungsanspruch gegenüber einem Mitbewerber zugestanden - und zwar auf Basis des Wettbewerbsrechts.

  • Germany - Recruiter bans rival's links (FT) StepStone, the online recruitment company, has obtained an injunction preventing a rival from linking to its website pages. The move is one of the few cases to test the law on "deep linking" - links between sites that bypass home pages and hence banner advertising. see also Euro copyright law used to block link to Web site (IT Week).

   Mobile and wireless

  • US spectrum auction raises record $16.8bn (Financial Times) US mobile telecoms companies are set to pay a record $16.86bn for new wireless licences following a scramble for spectrum in the country's first big auction since the mid-1990s.

   Protection of minors

  • Germany - SPD-Fraktion will mehr Jugendschutz im Internet (Heise) Die brandenburgische SPD-Landtagsfraktion will den Jugendschutz im Internet deutlich verstärken. Da die Computer in den Schulen inzwischen fester Bestandteil des Unterrichts seien, trage die Politik jetzt die Verantwortung für die zahlreichen Risiken. Um Jugendschutz im Internet durchzusetzen, bereitet die Fraktion eine parlamentarische Initiative vor.

  • UK - Minister tells industry to protect children using chat rooms (Guardian) New ways to stop internet chat rooms being used by child sex abusers to meet and "groom" children are being considered, the Home Office minister, Lord Bassam, said. Measures include the improved supervision of chat rooms and "hotlines" so that children could make an official report when they felt they had been the target of an "inappropriate" approach.

  • UK - Vorderman attacks Net industry for porn apathy (Yahoo UK) In an unprecedented attack on the apathy of the government and the Internet industry, TV broadcaster Carol Vorderman lambasted both for failing to protect children from paedophiles operating online. At a heated debate of the Internet Watch Foundation's (IWF) first parliamentary meeting in the House of Lords, Vorderman stunned the audience with her comments.

   Rating and filtering

  • USA - 5th Annual Video and Computer Game Report Card (National Institute on Media and the Family) The report provides a snapshot of the interactive gaming industry on issues related to child welfare. Our research shows that media ratings continue to be confusing to parents. We renew our recommendation that the game, film, and television industries adopt a universal rating system that is administered independently.

  • USA - Kathleen R. v. City of Livermore (Techlaw Journal) A parent of a child who uses Internet access computers at a public library seeks to compel the library to install blocking software on children's computers within the library.

  • USA - School and Library Internet Blocking Technologies (Online Policy Group) Joint Statement Opposing Legislative Requirements for School and Library Internet Blocking Technologies.

   Safer Internet awareness

   Security and encryption

  • Satellite broadcasters zap pirate smartcards (BBC) Satellite TV companies are fighting back against hackers. In the last week two companies have broadcast codes that have zapped the hacked smartcards people have been using to get access to TV channels without paying for them.

   Who' s who

  • ICANN Elects New President (Newsbytes) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has a new president, retired University of California Chief Information Officer Stuart Lynn.

Market & Technology


  • Television takes a tumble (Economist) The retreat of new-media upstarts has brought no joy in television land. The Internet was supposed to kill television. Instead it saved it, at least for a while

   Electronic commerce

   Internet access and use


   Mobile and wireless

  • Ericsson Concedes to Nokia (Reuters) Ericsson, the Swedish telecoms equipment manufacturer, is pulling out of making its own mobile phones and cutting thousands of jobs in the handset business after reporting a worse-than-expected fourth-quarter group operating loss.

   Multimedia content and tools

  • EU - What’s Next in the Information Market? (IST Diffuse Project) 7 March 2001, Brussels. The Diffuse Project is pleased to invite you to the first annual Diffuse conference. The title for this year's conference is "From Convergence to Consolidation: What's Next in the Information Market?" The conference will explore developments, and debate issues, relating to the harmonization of digital content, with specific reference to the Diffuse classification framework. Attendance is free of charge.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Mining the 'Deep Web' With Specialized Drills (New York Times) Traditional search engines have access to only a fraction of 1 percent of what exists on the Web. To dig deeper into the Web, a new breed of search engine has cropped up that takes a different approach to Web page retrieval.

   Security and encryption


  • Britons grasp net and mobile phones (Guardian) Britain is enthusiastically embracing the "techno" revolution at an astonishing pace with the rapid spread of the internet outstripped only by the explosion in the use of mobile phones.

   Voice over IP

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: Benton Foundation, UNDP, NewsNow UK, Internet Law News, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie