QuickLinks - 28 January 1998
issue no. 41
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.
Legal and regulatory issues
- Réforme de l'audiovisuel: Catherine Trautmann propose six objectifs
Catherine Trautmann, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, a présenté mercredi devant le Conseil des ministres les orientations de la réforme de la loi sur l'audiovisuel, proposant "un cadre législatif" répondant à six objectifs.
- Germany - Bundesregierung will TV-Vermarktungsrechte des DFB sichern
- Kabinett kündigt Vorschläge für Kartellrechtsänderung an. Die Bundesregierung will durch eine Ausnahmeregelung im Kartellrecht auch weiterhin eine zentrale Vermarktung von Europapokalspielen durch den Deutschen Fußballbund (DFB) ermöglichen. Die Regierung werde hierzu "nach eingehender Prüfung aller Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten" einen Vorschlag vorlegen, kündigte das Bundeswirtschaftsministerium am Mittwoch im Anschluß an die Kabinettssitzung in Bonn an. Damit reagiert die Bundesregierung auf ein Urteil des Bundesgerichtshofes (BGH), der im Dezember die zentrale Vermarktung der TV-Übertragungsrechte von Europapokalheimspielen deutscher Fußballclubs als Verstoß gegen das Kartellrecht eingestuft hatte.
- USA - Software packaging OK'd by judge
In the first court decision of its kind, a California judge has ruled that software makers may use large boxes to package smaller computer disks without running afoul of a state law that prohibits misleading marketing practices, an attorney involved in the case said.
Data Protection (privacy)
- New Pamela Lee video in court
An ex-boyfriend of Pamela Anderson Lee is launching a legal battle to prevent the online distribution of a sexually explicit home video of himself and the former Baywatch star. On Friday, Bret Michaels, lead singer of the band Poison, filed a complaint and was granted a temporary restraining order against the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), derailing the company's plan to post the 45-minute video on its Web site today.
- USA - Clinton Administration Turns Up Heat On Privacy
In the race between the private sector and the government to establish privacy guidelines for the Internet, corporate stakeholders had better act now or risk legislation, Clinton administration officials said Tuesday morning. The officials gathered on Wall Street Tuesday in the second of three roundtable discussions between government and industry leaders. President Bill Clinton has set a July 1 deadline -- the anniversary of his Framework for Global Economic Commerce, which advocates industry self-regulation -- for the Commerce Department to report back with a plan for addressing the issue.
- USA - Judge bars Navy discharge in privacy case
A judge temporarily blocked the U.S. Navy on Monday from discharging a sailor accused of homosexuality and said the service had violated its own rules in its investigation of the matter. Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy McVeigh, 36, may remain on the job pending the outcome of his lawsuit accusing the Navy of breaching his online privacy rights, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin ruled.
- Challenge to NSF Infrastructure Fund
A class action lawsuit filed by the Association of Internet Registrants of America (AIRA) has led Judge Thomas Hogan to ask Network Solutions Inc (NSI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to "freeze" the funds in the Intellectual Infrastructure Fund in until it is decided whether the fund was lawfully created. Judge Hogan is now to decide whether the $100 registration and $50 annual renewal fee that applies to internet domain names constitutes an unconstitutional tax. His decision on this matter is expected by the end of the month.
- Net Marketers Capitalize On Clinton Scandal
What sells better than sex? Presidential sex scandals. A few Net entrepreneurs are betting on it. The ink was barely dry on the headlines before a handful of quick-thinking business people had snapped up the scandal's most obvious names as domain names to use as gateways to their company's sites or as potentially profitable commodities in themselves.
- British watchdog group warns against Internet sperm sales
(Nando.net - Reuters)
A British government health watchdog issued a warning Wednesday about the dangers of buying human sperm via the Internet. The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority says on its Internet site there can be no guarantees that the sperm will have undergone the rigorous screening that all donated sperm receives in Britain. see also BBC story.
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam)
- Hotmail gives spammers the hotfoot
Hotmail, Microsoft Corp.'s free E-mail provider, Monday became the latest company to file suit against unsolicited, bulk E-mailers, claiming the marketers are damaging its reputation.
Employment and social issues
- USA - Supreme Court Denies Microsoft Appeal in Freelance Case
Microsoft's intent to protect policies that treat freelancers as second-class workers fell on deaf ears Monday, as the US Supreme Court denied Redmond's appeal of a ruling that its contract workers were entitled to participate in the company's employee stock purchase plan.
- AOL should be held responsible for Drudge's comments, Clinton adviser claims
(Nando.net - The Associated Press)
America Online should bear responsibility for comments made by Matt Drudge because it paid the columnist for his reports, an attorney for one of President Clinton's advisers said in court documents released Tuesday. AOL paid Drudge $3,000 each month to disseminate the "Drudge Report" to its 8.6 million subscribers worldwide. It also touted the report in press releases to help attract potential subscribers.
- Congress To Take Hard Look At Telecom Act
Telecommunications issues, particularly competition, will dominate the technology agenda in the 105th Congress' upcoming session, which begins Wednesday. Of particular concern to lawmakers is the effectiveness of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The law has been engulfed in so much legal wrangling that Congress will review it to decide if the act is delivering on its promise of increased competition in the phone industry and lower prices for consumers.
- Germany - Deutsche Telekom propose des taxes d'infidélité réduites à 42,24 DM
Deutsche Telekom a demandé l'autorisation mardi d'exiger une taxe réduite à 42,24 marks (23,80 dollars) hors TVA à chaque résiliation d'abonnement, lorsque le client veut conserver son numéro de téléphone ou dérouter uniquement ses appels longue distance sur un concurrent.
- USA - Bell Atlantic opposes regulation of Internet connection services
(Nando.net - The Associated Press)
The nation's largest regional Bell telephone company Tuesday asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop states from regulating services that let people tap into the Internet. While the FCC has no role in regulating the price of these high-speed communications services offered by telephone companies, Bell Atlantic wants the FCC to step in to pre-empt state rules.
see related story
- USA - Bell Atlantic Seeks FCC Stamp on Backbone Proposal
New York-based Bell Atlantic has asked the Federal Communications Commission for clearance to build a high-speed network for Internet traffic that would not be subject to the regulatory restrictions of voice networks. The long-distance carrier is using a provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act - Section 706 - to request that market regulations not be extended to high-speed broadband networks. The law gives the FCC leeway to promote the development of advanced technologies with such concessions. So far, though, the agency hasn't applied it to Internet backbone networks.
see related story
- USA - Supreme Court To Hear Telecom Act Appeal
The Supreme Court today agreed to hear arguments against a lower court ruling that overturned a key provision of a law to introduce competition to local phone markets. By agreeing to the request for appeal by the Federal Communications Commission and the nation's largest long-distance companies, the high court has temporarily slowed a rush of suits designed to overturn key provisions of a 1996 law that would have let local and long-distance phone companies and cable operators all compete for each other's business.
- USA - AOL: Hands off ISPs
America Online today urged the Federal Communications Commission to maintain a hands-off regulatory approach when it comes to Net service providers. AOL filed the comments in response to the FCC's pending report to Congress about universal service. As previously reported, the FCC has been mandated to review its implementation of the federal program, which traditionally subsidized phone service for rural and low-income residents but was revised last year to include up to $2.25 billion in annual funding for hooking public schools and libraries up to the Net.
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- Cisco to reveal voice, video, data integration strategy
Cisco will unveil this week a five-phase strategy for the integration of voice, video, and data that will culminate by the year 2001 in policy-based, end-to-end call management via the Internet. The road map will be unveiled at ComNet in Washington, along with a router that can consolidate voice, fax, video, and data traffic onto a single T1/E1 WAN connection.
Employment and social issues
- L'emploi en Allemagne sur internet à l'ANPE à Metz
L'espace cadres de l'Agence nationale pour l'emploi de Metz (Moselle) a annoncé mercredi avoir mis en place dans ses locaux en libre service des postes informatiques qui permettent aux chercheurs d'emploi d'avoir accès aux offres allemandes et françaises via internet.
- Netscape to cut 300 jobs
Netscape Communications (NSCP) announced today that it would eliminate 300 jobs, the first layoffs in the company's history. The Internet software company plans to complete the reductions, which represent 9.4 percent of its workforce, by the end of March. The staff cuts--in telemarketing, research, and other areas--come as the company posted a fourth-quarter loss today that was much larger than expected.
- USA - AT&T posts strong profits, to cut 15,000 jobs
AT&T Corp. Monday posted surprisingly strong fourth-quarter profits and announced plans, as expected, to cut 15,000 to 18,000 jobs by the end of next year in a bid to become leaner and more competitive. In a meeting with Wall Street analysts, AT&T Chairman C. Michael Armstrong said most of the cuts will come through early retirement and attrition, with some layoffs. AT&T will take a pretax charge of $800 million to $1.2 billion from the restructuring in the second quarter, he said.
Internet access and use
- IBM Drops Unlimited Access
IBM Internet Connection Services has informed its customers it will drop unlimited $19.95-per-month pricing as of April 1. The company will move all its customers to a new "Comprehensive Plan" costing $19.95 for 100 hours of service per month and $1.95 per hour thereafter for U.S. users.
- Net sites host Clinton speech
During his State of the Union address tonight, President Clinton did not discuss allegations that he had sexual relations with a White House intern and later told her to lie about it. But he did talk about the Internet. Starting at 6 p.m. PST, sites featuring live audio or video coverage of the speech included: Fox News, FedNet, ABCNews.com, C-SPAN hosted by AudioNet, and BBC News of the United Kingdom.
- Now You See It, Now You Don't
It was a short-lived scoop by any standards. The Dallas Morning News posted a breaking story to its Web site last night alleging that a Secret Service agent was prepared to testify that he had witnessed a liaison between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Three hours later, the story was gone. But not before ABC's Nightline and several other television programs ran with it.
- Compaq to buy Digital for $9.6 billion
Compaq (CPQ) took a major step toward its stated goal of becoming the No. 1 computer power in the world by announcing it would acquire Digital Equipment (DEC) for $9.6 billion. The acquisition, which has been the subject of high-level, on-again, off-again negotiations for at least two years, essentially will provide Compaq with the high-end hardware technology and the worldwide corps of consulting engineers it has needed to act as a global technology provider.
- Prodigy throws in the content towel
see related story
- Kooperation: Web.de, Nomade und Virgilio
Die Webkataloge Web.de (Deutschland), Nomade (Frankreich) und Virgilio (Italien) haben eine Allianz geschlossen. Ziel der Kooperation ist es, den Bekanntheitsgrad der Verzeichnisse europaweit auszubauen. Die Allianz richtet sich gegen die Bemühungen US-amerikanischer Suchdienste, in Europa Fuß zu fassen. Michael Greve, Geschäftsführer von Cinetic, die Web.de betreibt: "Die Kooperation ermöglicht beispielsweise auch eine gesamteuropäische Planung bei Internet-Kampagnen." Im Januar hatte die US-Suchmaschine Lycos eine "paneuropäische Werbeplattform" gelauncht.
Security and encryption
- Web site alarms boost security
Moving beyond firewalls, intrusion detection tools that monitor corporate networks for hacker attacks are emerging as a hot new category in the Internet security market. Evidence is mounting that intrusion detection--pegged by market analysis firm Aberdeen Group as a $100 million market in 1998, again doubling in size over last year--is becoming the next booming security market, after firewalls.
- Cellphones: End sought to standards dispute
A dispute over standards for the next generation of cellular phones, which is dividing Europe's telecommunications manufacturers, could be resolved in Paris this week. The 2,000 members of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (Etsi), the standards-setting body, are expected to vote on proposals put forward by groups led by the Scandinavian companies Ericsson and Nokia on one side and Siemens of Germany on the other.
- Cracks showing in effort to create ADSL standard
(Inter@ctive Week Online)
Only a few short hours after three personal computing giants joined the seven largest local telephone companies in backing an effort to create a single approach to faster Internet access over copper phone lines, there were visible cracks in the picture of unity.
- Euro Vote Likely To Shape Mobile Communications Future
The future of the world's mobile communications industry could be decided in Paris on Thursday and Friday by a subcommittee of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). A vote to select the air interface for Europe's approach to the next generation of mobile terminals will, in effect, decide if there is to be a dominant world standard based on harmonized Japanese and European technologies, or whether Europe will use a different radio protocol.
- Standards Group Joins Alliance For High-Speed Internet
Digital Subscriber Line technology got a surge of support on Monday when a major industry group gave its blessing to the consortium formed last week by Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq. The three technology giants announced on Tuesday they were joining with GTE, Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, and U S West to establish standards for DSL technology. DSL allows Internet access over normal phone lines at speeds up to 30 times faster than present modems.
- W3C posts threading proposal
With email use thriving among business and personal Net users, three email software makers are teaming up in an attempt to give Web-based email a new look. The World Wide Web Consortium has posted for public review a proposal by Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Lotus Development to add threading to HTML-based email applications, the companies said today.
- AOL steams ahead
(Internet World Daily)
America Online is continuing its stunning growth unabated -- a fact confirmed by new figures from Media Metrix, The PC Meter Company. Numbers compiled from December research show that AOL has captured 58 percent of the total online minutes spent from home, and that AOL drives 39 percent of all traffic to the Web. Member traffic to key AOL content areas also propelled the online service to the top of categories such as shopping, entertainment, sports, personal finance, and travel. Prodigy, unable to keep pace, has announced it will discontinue its proprietary content and instead offer its members material from Excite.
- Europe's growing PC market
Europeans will buy more personal computers than ever in 1998, said British technology research
company Context. And the biggest four companies in the European market - all American - will consolidate their lead in 1998 and fatten profit margins, said Emmanuel Lalloz, senior personal computer research analyst at Context, which published a report on the sector last week.
- Readers split on browser choice
Last week, as Microsoft agreed to remove its Internet Explorer from the Windows 95 operating system and Netscape Communications announced it would begin giving Navigator away free, a NEWS.COM Poll asked readers what difference these developments would make in the increasingly bloody browser wars. Respondents were split almost exactly down the middle when asked whether these developments will result in more browser software choices in the marketplace.
- Survey says 21 percent of U.S. adults are online
The latest attempt to gauge the size of the Internet population claims that in the U.S., at least, the online community is growing by leaps and bounds. The twice-yearly American Internet User Survey, from Cyber Dialogue Inc. and Find/SVP's Emerging Technologies Research Group (purchased by Cyber Dialogue in November) released Tuesday, puts the number at 41.5 million adults, an increase of one-third from a year ago. Of that number, 85 percent use the Web and 75 percent use E-mail, according to the survey. However, the study showed a significant amount of churn, estimating that 15.9 million American adults had tried the Internet within the past 12 months "and for whatever reason are no longer users."
- USA: Werbeausgaben im Web steigen um 150 Prozent
Im vergangenen Jahr wurden in den USA 597,1 Millionen Dollar in die Internet-Werbung investiert. Gegenüber 1996 bedeutet das einen Zuwachs von 152,6 Prozent. Das ist das Ergebnis einer aktuellen Studie des US-Marktforschers Cowles/Simba Information. Der größte Anteil der Werbeausgaben entfiel auf Internet-Suchdienste. An der Spitze steht damit Yahoo mit geschätzten 53,2 Millionen Dollar an Werbeeinnahmen, gefolgt von Excite mit einem Umsatz von 40,2 Millionen Dollar.
- France - Les Français se sont mis à la micro : 18,5% des foyers sont maintenant équipés
Les Français se sont mis pour de bon à la micro-informatique l'an dernier, et désormais 18,5% des foyers possèdent un ordinateur, selon une étude publiée mardi par l'institut d'études spécialisé Gfk. Cette étude, réalisée pour le magasine Sciences et Vie Micro, prédit même que d'ici à la fin de 1998, le pourcentage de foyers français possédant un ordinateur devrait atteindre 23%.
- Letter From America
The full texts of the weekly broadcasts by Alastair Cooke.
c'est quoi ? 1- Avant tout l'actualité française multimédia; Audio, Vidéo et Ecrite disponible sur une page et des 4 coins du monde. 2- Ensuite, l'essentiel de l'actualité française 3- Une sélection des sites web francophones incontournables 4- Une recherche organisée sur une page 5- Un guide du shopping
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