The DFC Update
No.#1, August 28, 2020
The Clinton Administration remains committed to the international adoption of the Digital Agenda outlined in its September 1995 White Paper and submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by the European Union earlier this year. WIPO will hold a formal Diplomatic Conference in Geneva in December of 1996 to discuss these and other matters over a three week period intended to culminate with the adoption of a new Protocol to the Berne Convention and of similar modifications to other existing international copyright treaties.
On Capitol Hill, Chairman Carlos Moorhead (R-CA) and Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), both of the House Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, have written to the senior WIPO official charged with drafting the proposed new treaty text. Chairman Moorhead urged that any text drafted be broad enough to allow individual countries to adopt exceptions and exemptions to rights protected [by the new agreements], including any transmission right.
Mr. Boucher underscored a request also made by the DFC, stating: "I urge you in the strongest terms to separate the so-called Digital Agenda . . . from the other issues under consideration [by WIPO]. Indeed, given the deep division of interests over the issues raised by the Digital Agenda in the United States", Rep. Boucher wrote: "I believe that more time is needed both domestically and internationally to assess their effect and to formulate changes in copyright law that properly balance the needs of content owners, users and electronic service providers."
It still looks as if the NII Copyright Protection Act is off the table for this Congress. Though Chairman Moorhead has suggested possible action on the legislation in September and PTO Commissioner Lehman remains optimistic, House sources continue to say it is unlikely that there will be action on the bill this year. No further Senate hearing has been scheduled or is anticipated.
The Washington Post had an interesting editorial on 8/12/96 entitled: Staking Copyright Claims. You can find it at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1996-08/12/028L-081296-idx.htm l.
The Recorder, a San Francisco Bay Area paper affiliated with Washington's Legal Times, also ran a comprehensive assessment of the NII bill's stalled status. "IP Impasse: How the Tables Turned Against a Pair of High-Stakes Copyright and Patent Bills" by Mark Walsh appeared in the weekly paper's August 19 edition. A sidebar, also by Walsh, headlined "Administration Pushes Its Digital Agenda Abroad" accompanies the lead story.
Find information on WIPO and the text of the Berne Convention by linking through the DFC International Archives or directly at the following addresses:
Berne Convention: gopher://gopher.law.cornell.edu:70/00/foreign/fletcher/BH006-1971.txt