QuickLinks 108 - 16 February 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
- Germany - Study on the Future of Public Broadcasting
Die Bertelsmann Stiftung stellt das Gutachten des Freiburger Medienrechtlers Martin Bullinger mit Vorschlägen zur Entwicklung eines "Funktionsauftrages" für den öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk in Deutschland vor. Bullinger will die besondere gesellschaftliche Funktion des öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks stärken. Der Gesetzgeber soll einen Funktionsrahmen vorgeben, den ARD und ZDF durch eine jährliche Selbstverpflichtung nach Vorbild der englischen BBC ausfüllen. Die Programmautonomie soll dabei unangetastet bleiben.
- Experts Call For Laws To Curb Internet Child Abuse
Tens of thousands of pornographic sites have led to a sharp increase in sexual exploitation of children on the Internet and countries need to quickly tighten or introduce new laws to stop the spread, said Pierre Dionne, director-general of the Montreal-based International Bureau for Children's Rights (IBCR) who was in Sri Lanka for the third hearing by the International Tribunal for Children's Rights.
- USA - Arrest after Net meeting with teenager
A British man has been arrested after flying to Cincinnati in the USA to meet a 15-year-old girl he befriended on the Internet. He has been charged with interfering with the custody of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a child. He could face two years in jail if he is convicted.
- USA - Virginia cracks down on sexual content
State employees in Virginia do not have a First Amendment right to access "sexually explicit communication" on the Net, even if the research is job-related. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law that prohibits any state employee from using Virginia-owned computer equipment to access or store sexually explicit content, unless a person gets written permission from a supervisor to obtain the prohibited material. ACLU Press Release Court's Decision see also New York Times
- Internet Action Plan decision published in Official Journal
Decision No 276/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 January 1999 adopting a multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks. OJ L 33 6 February 1999 p.1
Copyright, trademarks and patents
- EU - MEPs backs artists' digital copyright
The European Parliament voted to significantly strengthen legislation on online piracy and gave its full backing to artists concerned by the spread of digital media such as the Internet. The assembly adopted almost all of the controversial amendments proposed by its legal affairs committee, including tougher measures on copies made for personal use, teaching and scientific research, and on "incidental" copies made during Internet transactions.
- Playboy fights for trademark protection
Playboy Enterprises has sued two of the Net's most popular sites, aiming to prohibit them from generating hard-core porn advertisements when visitors search for the term "playboy." Playboy alleges in its federal lawsuit that Excite and Netscape are violating its trademark by serving up other companies' banner ads when surfers seek out the magazine's Web site.
- USA - Database bill raises constitutional flags
Congress will tackle one of the most important issues of the Information Age this session - whether database owners should get historic new protections for the public facts they compile and resell.
- USA - Ticketmaster and Microsoft Settle Linking Dispute
(New York Times (registration required))
Ticketmaster has settled its closely-watched lawsuit against Microsoft with the ticketing giant prevailing in the dispute over whether one Web site can freely link to pages deep within another site. Microsoft agreed not to link from its Sidewalk city guides to pages deep within the Ticketmaster site. Instead, the guides will point visitors interested in purchasing tickets to the ticketing service's home page.
Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law
Security and encryption
- China - New body to guard security
China has announced that it is setting up a new body to guard security on the Internet. China's official news agency said the newly-established committee would protect confidential government and commercial files as well as individual users and would have the ability to identify any Net user. It said the aim was to keep national secrets from being stolen.
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- Cisco, Motorola ink Internet pact
Cisco Systems the world's No. 1 computer-networking company, and U.S. wireless giant Motorola agreed to work together to provide Internet-based services over wireless phones and other wireless devices.
Internet access and use
- UK - Off-the-peg ISPs for all
With Britain leading the world in offering free Net access which promises to bring millions of people online, UUNET is now offering UUDial VIP to help organisations exploit their customer base and offer free or discounted e-mail, Net access, Web space and special content including retail pages.
- Slate goes from fee to free
Microsoft's Slate Magazine has stepped back from its aggressive move to make its online content available only to paying subscribers, and will make most content free in order to boost traffic and advertising revenues.
- New events page
A new page lists major seminars and conferences dealing with legal and policy issues covered by QuickLinks. Past events (such as the Bonn and Ottawa Conferences) are also listed.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributor: TKRNews
http://www.qlinks.net/ * Now with subject index *