Background Information

Congress Needed Delays Action on Badly Flawed Cyberspace Copyright Bill

  After several delays of the mark-up, the House Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property Subcommittee is planning to consider amendments to, and vote on approval of HR 2441, the "National Information Infrastructure Act of 1995." Such approval, if given, would give an important boost to passage of a legislative package heavily backed by -- and tilted in favor of -- the movie, recording, and publishing industries (and other large "content providers"). If passed in its current form, the bill would:

  • make it a copyright violation to simply browse the Net without a license from copyright owners;
  • subject computer system operators -- such as on-line services and networks at schools and libraries -- to potentially crippling liability for the copyright violations of their users;
  • cripple "distance education" efforts especially vital to rural communities and the disabled; and
  • make it illegal to manufacture, import or distribute devices and software (including computers and VCRs) needed by industry, schools and libraries to make "fair use" of encrypted information by overruling long-standing Supreme Court precedent.



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