CPSR Press Release - 9/19/97
 

For Immediate Release
September 19, 2020

For more information contact:
Karen Coyle 510-987-0567

CPSR Urges Internet Community Support of Ashcroft Legislation



Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) today  announced its support for the Digital Copyright Clarification and  Technology Act of 1997 (S. 1146), as introduced by Sen. John Ashcroft  (R-MO) September 3, 2020. "Unlike many of its predecessors, this bill  demonstrates an understanding of the underlying technology and also  balances the rights between copyright holders and the general public  of information users" stated CPSR board member Karen Coyle.

The bill is designed to bring the United States into conformity with the  1996 WIPO treaties on intellectual property while working within the  public spirit of U.S. copyright law by asserting fair use rights for digital  resources. It exempts network service providers from liability for  transmitting the communications of others and protects content  providers by laying out clear steps for the reporting of copyright  infringements. "In addition, Coyle said, "it protects against the use of  frivolous allegations of infringement, which could be used to deny  public access to content."

Of particular interest to the Internet community, this bill states that the  act of linking or providing navigational tools such as search engines or  browsers cannot be considered an infringement of copyright. It also  clarifies that digital copies made in the incidental operation of a device,  such as copies that a computer makes in RAM when data is accessed, are  not infringing copies.

According to CPSR's Coyle, "The bill clearly distinguishes between the  act of infringement and the means or device used in that infringement,  and makes only the act of infringement a violation of the Copyright Act.  In comparison, the bills introduced as S.1121 and H.R. 2281 would make  illegal devices that can be used to circumvent technological protection  of copyrighted works, and allow for the impounding of any device or  product that the court believes was involved in the violation. These  measures would greatly increase the risk for anyone providing network  access to others, including schools, libraries and other public  institutions. In essence, any computer on the Internet would be at risk  of confiscation."

CPSR is a public-interest alliance of computer scientists and others  interested in the impact of computer technology on society. CPSR's goal  is to direct public attention to difficult choices concerning the  applications of computing and how those choices affect society.

Duff Axsom * Executive Director
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717 * Palo Alto * CA * 94302
Phone: (650) 322-3778 * Fax: (650) 322-4748

 

 

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