QuickLinks 130 - 23 October 1999
Forthcomings events | Background items
Legal and regulatory issues
- Australia - Time to break the media ties (News.com Australia) Foreign ownership restrictions on media should be dropped, and cross-media ownership rules made redundant by welcoming foreign companies and new free-to-air TV stations, according to a major review delivered to the Federal Government yesterday. The Productivity Commission also criticised the Federal Government's plans to introduce high-definition television as a mistake that would cost consumers and the industry dearly. see also Call to lift bans, free up media and Call to delay dumping media rules (Sydney Morning Herald).
- EU - Mme Reding va observer à la lettre la directive TV sans frontières (AFP) La commissaire européenne chargée de la culture et de l'audiovisuel, Mme Viviane Reding, a assuré qu'elle allait "observer à la lettre" la directive européenne "télévision sans frontières". Paris avait demandé à la Commission européenne de faire une mise au point clarifiant qu'il n'était pas question de mettre en cause les quotas audiovisuels européens.
- EU - European Council, Tampere (RAPID) [Extract from Presidency Conclusions] Without prejudice to the broader areas envisaged in the Treaty of Amsterdam and in the Vienna Action Plan, the European Council considers that, with regard to national criminal law, efforts to agree on common definitions, incriminations and sanctions should be focused in the first instance on a limited number of sectors of particular relevance, such as financial crime (money laundering, corruption, Euro counterfeiting), drugs trafficking, trafficking in human beings, particularly exploitation of women, sexual exploitation of children, high tech crime and environmental crime.
- Switzerland - Swisscom ferme un site internet raciste (AFP) Swisscom, l'opérateur public suisse des télécommunications, a fermé un site internet raciste, qui donnait accès à d'autres sites proposant de la littérature d'extrême droite.
- France - Le CSA brûle de faire la police sur le Net (Libération) Hervé Bourges, président du Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), veut un morceau du gâteau de la régulation de l'Internet. Le CSA a joué le rôle de «puissance invitante» pour une journée de réflexion consacrée à la «Communication audiovisuelle et Internet». Une journée entière pour discuter des règles applicables sur le réseau, et, surtout, de la répartition des rôles entre les différents organismes.
- Amazon Sues Barnesandnoble.com (Industry Standard) Amazon.com files suit against rival Barnesandnoble.com, claiming the bookseller copied Amazon's 1-Click shopping feature. see also Priceline.com Sues Microsoft Over Patents (Reuters).
- Denmark - Danish action against Norwegian e-patent (Europemedia) Danish eCommerce Association (FDIH) supports Norwegian sister organisation in their battle against a Norwegian patent on ecommerce.
- European pop stars to enjoy copyright protection in Russia (RAPID) Russia has agreed to extend copyright protection to European sound recordings produced before 1995, following an agreement with the EU. As a result, pop classics like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Johnny Halliday will enjoy effective protection for illegal copying, as will Deutsche Gramaphon and other classical producers.
- France - La mise en ligne d'un journal (Le Monde) Les journalistes ayant collaboré à un journal peuvent-ils s'opposer à une nouvelle exploitation de leurs articles par la mise en ligne de ce journal sur un site Internet ? Le conflit semble aujourd'hui définitivement tranché par deux décisions récentes.
- USA - ACM, legal experts send letter on internet trademark legislation (ACM) Members of the ACM and legal experts have urged the Speaker of the House to postpone the "Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act" (H.R.3028). H.R. 3028 would create liability for registering or using a trademark as a domain name, regardless of whether any actual damages have occurred. H.R. 3028 also expands the jurisdiction of U.S. courts by creating "in rem" actions over all foreign and U.S. citizens who register a domain name with a U.S. registrar or registry.
- USA - Universities Warn Sites Posting Class Notes (New York Times (registration required)) As Internet ventures have hired students on campuses across the country to take class notes and post them on free Web sites, in the last two weeks at least two universities have sent warning letters to representatives of the online companies, claiming that note-takers are violating campus policy and infringing upon the intellectual property rights of the faculty.
- Legally speaking, they're drug dealers (New York Times (registration required)) Illinois has filed suit against four online pharmacy firms, saying they aren't licensed to practice in the state and therefore can't send drugs here. The lawsuit seeks to block the Internet pharmacies from doing business with Illinois residents.
- Zukunft von Online-Auktionen fraglich! (IT/LEGAL GROUP der Rechtsanwälte Heuking Kühn Lüer Heussen Wojtek, München) [Online auctions may not be legal in Germany] LG Hamburg, Urteil vom 14. April 1999 - 315 O 144/99; rechtskräftig see also Germany - What is an auction? German auction association BDK wants to stop online auctions (europemedia).
- USA - Wiretapping abuses alarm EFF, EPIC (ZDNN) The Los Angeles Police Department and district attorney's office are covering up widespread and illegal wiretapping, the Los Angeles public defender's office charged, in the latest round of a growing legal battle that's piqued the interest of electronic privacy advocates.
- Europe Prepares for E-commerce Law Review (Total Telecom (registration required)) The European Commission is holding a public hearing next month, where more than 400 business organizations will debate its proposals to update the 1968 Brussels Convention on civil law, to take account of the growth in electronic commerce. The hearing will address two key questions: Which court will have jurisdiction to hear the dispute? And which law will that court apply to determine the rules applicable to that dispute?
- France - Qui est responsable du contenu des sites Web ? (Le Monde) Lorsqu'un site reproduit des éléments (textes, photos, etc.) illicites, à qui incombe la responsabilité d'une telle diffusion? Quelques décisions judiciaires apportent des premiers éléments de réponse parfois contradictoires. voir aussi analyse et l'intégralité du jugement inédit du Tribunal d'Instance de Puteaux du 28 septembre 1999, qui a décidé qu'un fournisseur d'hébergement n'était pas un directeur de publication (AFA).
- USA - Teacher sues over 'racist' Web review (ZDNN) Lawyers for a California college professor filed suit seeking to block a student-run "review" Web site that they say has turned into an open forum for personal attack and vicious slander.
- FTC releases media rating cards (Reuters) The U.S. government unveiled wallet-sized cards for parents that explain ratings systems for films, music, CDs and video games, to help them avoid depictions of violence. The FTC, Justice Department and National Association of Attorneys general developed the card, which the FTC said "should be considered a minimum set of content standards and an important first step in helping families determine appropriate viewing or purchases."
- Memo Analyzing Controversial Bertelsmann Proposal (CDT) Analysis of the Bertelsmann Memorandum, in which they outline the risks to free speech posed in CDT's view by a comprehensive, global rating system and by government involvement in self-regulatory codes that target speech.
- USA - Filtered Internet Services Reach More Religious Groups (New York Times (registration required)) Evangelical Christian groups were quick to embrace filtered Internet service providers, which block access to pornography and other troublesome online material for their subscribers. Now two companies are launching filtered ISPs aimed at Roman Catholics.
- Germany - Mehr verschlüsseln! (heise online c't) Die Bundesregierung will Kryptographie nicht nur tolerieren, sondern aktiv fördern. Wie das konkret aussehen soll, erläutert Bundeswirtschaftsminister Dr. Werner Müller in einem Gespräch mit c't.
- Australian approach to co-regulation (IIA) Interview of Peter Coroneos with Laure Dumont, journalist with French magazine SVM (Science et Vie Micro)
- Germany - Virtuelles Schiedsgericht soll Streitfälle schlichten (Heise Online) [Online arbitration in Germany] Mit einem privaten, virtuellen Schiedsgericht will die IT/LEGAL GROUP, München, die Zivilgerichte entlasten. Cybercourt ist auf Streitfälle in der EDV-Branche spezialisiert und soll innerhalb von ein bis zwei Wochen Entscheidungen fällen, während die überlasteten Zivilgerichte häufig mehrere Monate brauchen.
- UK - Who's Really No. 1 in Europe? (The Standard) Lycos Bertelsmann, a joint venture of U.S. portal company Lycos and German media giant Bertelsmann, recently launched an ad campaign that claimed the portal was the "No. 1 e-commerce platform in Europe." Excite filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain. The ASA issued a finding against Lycos, asking the company to replace the offending language with a precise and verifiable phrase.
Market & Technology
- TIE Tackles Digital Certificate Interoperability (Total Telecom (registration required)) Trust Infrastructure for Europe (TIE), a European Commission-backed project to test the interoperability of digital certificate systems is set to begin next week with the first round of testing at DirConnect5 in Washington D.C.
- Sweden and Norway Complete Telia-Telenor Merger (Total Telecom (registration required)) Representatives from the Swedish and Norwegian governments have signed the final agreement to merge state-owned Telia and Telenor. The governments have resolved the last-minute differences over control of the company and its capital structure that delayed the planned signing.
- Babylon Ties Up with New York Times on the Web (Nikkei) Babylon Ltd., an Israeli software company, said it is collaborating with The New York Times Co. of the United States to provide its free translation software on the newspaper's home page. The software house has also tied up with Bargain America Corp., a Japanese provider of an online shopping site.
- Cybersc@n: One Fifth of Europeans Use the Internet (NUA) Oct 22 1999: A telephone survey of 2,000 consumers in 12 European countries finds that one fifth of Europeans use the Internet. This figure ranges from 5.7 percent in Portugal to 38 percent in Norway.
- Internet Performance Slowing Down (NUA) A new study finds that despite overall improvements in performance, the Internet may not be able to sustain performance-based applications in the next century. The study was compiled using data from Keynote, an Internet performance measurement company taken between October 1998 and June 1999.
- Is Web growth tapering off? (ZDNN) Weather, sports and news Web sites were the online big winners during September -- but the growth in Internet users declined, according to the latest numbers from online measurement service Media Metrix.
- Popular Portals Lose Viewers (Reuters) Internet media networks such as America Online, Yahoo and Lycos, some of the Web's most popular destinations, lost ground to other sites in September, even as overall U.S. Internet traffic grew, Media Metrix found.
- Reuters: Free Access Boosts Internet in Italy (NUA) With a reputation for one of the lowest Internet penetration levels in Europe, Italy is currently experiencing a surge. Telecom Italia launched their free service in September and have already clocked up 1 million subscribers, they expect to have 2 million by the end of the year. Tiscali currently have 415,000 subscribers and expect to reach 700,000 by the end of the year while Infostrada counted 500,000 subscribers in August after starting up their free service in July.
- Net turns 30 (BBC) Thirty years ago, a computer scientist sent the first 'e-mail' to a colleague. The message was the letters "LO". Moments after the two letter message was sent, the computer crashed. see also Hätt ich dich heut erwartet ... Heise Online.
- Slower, dearer, later: BT holds back UK plc (ZDNet UK) Just two days after AOL accused it of "ripping off" customers, BT has come under further attack from industry experts and users for its decision to extend its ADSL trial using lower bandwidth and higher prices.
- TIM Pays Users to Receive Calls (Total Telecom (registration required)) In a bid to keep the upper hand in the increasingly competitive Italian mobile market Telecom Italia Mobile said it will start paying customers for the calls they receive using their mobile phone.
- European Journal of International Law (EJIL) The entire first 9 years of the Journal are now available in full text on the Journal website. The EJIL website also provides a fully searchable database of all bookreviews published to date in the Journal as well as a forum for discussion and the table of contents as well as a full text version of the lead article in each recent issue.
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edited by Richard Swetenham (firstname.lastname@example.org). - Contributors: NewsNow UK, MediaGrok, ACM, Europemedia, David Goldstein, Alan Reekie
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