Commentary on "New Copyright and Database Regulations"

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 10:01:52 -0500 (EST)
From: Paul Jones 
Subject: Re: intellectual property

Whilst John's paper is a good overview, the world of copyright and IP has
moved very quickly. In the past three weeks, WIPO treaties on databases
were withdrawn entirely and a US decision on NBA vs Motorola and Stats
Inc seems to have upheld the Feist opinion rather than to curtail it. In
fact most of the odious treaties concerning fair use at WIPO were
withdrawn. Even as Bruce Lehman called for a Global Patent Authority, he
announced a backing off by the Clinton administration from pursuing the
transmission right. Gates, Mr. Bill, even argued for retaining our current
understanding of copyright (from the US viewpoint) rather than changing
things or adding new rights. Still one should not rest easy thinking that
all is well. Lehman has advocated the extension of rights holders'
monopolies at every turn and I think that transmission right like the
clipper chip will resurface again in a new suit of clothes. 
One interesting event is the return of John Podesta to the White House. 
His brother and partner on Podesta associates runs the Creative Incentive 
Coalition (see a lobbying organization that represents many 
rights holders, but who also opposed the database treaty. They also have 
a number of interesting links (when you consider the source) including the 
multimedia in education guidelines, worked on by Rick Provine but 
rejected by ALA and other library groups.
On hte other end of the spectrum, Jamie Love of Nader's organization runs 
the Consumers Project on Technology at and the 
Union fo the Public Domain at They did excellent 
and radical reports from WIPO on a daily basis. While their discussion 
gets a bit wild, Richard Stallman is a vocal participant, it is well 
worth the noise level. They also run a special list on the database 
treaties which has become silent lately.
Good paper by  John just some updates.

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