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Digital legislation will have a profound impact on the Internet (fwd)

FYI. An update and alert about current legislation... Appologies for

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From:	Skip Lockwood [mailto:dfc@ari.net]
Sent:	Wednesday, August 26, 1998 5:28 PM
Subject:Digital legislation will have a profound impact on the Internet --
Act Now!

       Please act now!  Contact your U.S. Senators.   
     Your letters and calls can make the difference!

         Digital Millennium legislation will have 
           dramatic impacts on the Internet

  Nearly every netizen will feel the "bite" of Congressional  
        legislation aimed at the digital environment

  Over the last year, the U.S. Congress has been debating legislation that
will have a profound impact on the Internet.  This broad legislation
covers everything from works transmitted over the Internet such as books,
movies, and audio recordings, to computer software, computer hardware, and
consumer electronics such as digital VCR's.  Anyone who teaches,
researches, develops software, browses or records using the internet will
be affected by this far reaching legislation.

  The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed bills referred
to as "Digital Millennium Copyright Act."  While they have the same name,
the two pieces of legislation aim to accomplish very different things.  
The House bill (H.R. 2281) recognizes the importance of personal privacy
and the "fair use" of copyrighted works and safeguards consumer products
such as digital VCR's and personal computers.  It also permits encryption

  Unfortunately, H.R. 2281 also contains harmful and unnecessary
last-minute additions that do everything from overriding three
consumer-oriented Supreme Court decisions to creating new legal rights for
the owners of databases and other collections of information.  In
contrast, the Senate version of the legislation (S. 2037) does not protect
fair use or encryption research and includes incomplete protections for
personal privacy.

  Before H.R. 2281 and S. 2037 can become law, the two pieces of
legislation must be reconciled.  The process of reconciliation involves a
small number of Senators and Representatives meeting to discuss and debate
the legislation.  The conference process allows Senators and
Representatives to make significant changes in a bill.  However, if the
wrong changes are made the fundamental consumer protections established in
H.R. 2281 could be stripped away in favor of the less consumer friendly
provisions of S. 2037, while the harmful late "additions" to H.R. 2281,
including those that override the recent Supreme Court decisions, could be
left in the bill.

 The Digital Future Coalition is 42 non-profit and for-profit entities
that are committed to fighting for balanced intellectual property law
(copyright) in the digital era.  We are asking you to write, fax, or
e-mail your Senators to let them know that you want to protect the
fundamental consumer protections of H.R. 2281.  Your can contact your
Senators by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and
asking for your Senators or you my go to the DFC web site and use our
digital contact system to write an e-mail or letter.  Our address is

           MADE AS EARLY AS AUGUST 31, 1998.

    For more information on these pieces of legislation, 
           visit the DFC web site at www.dfc.org.

Membership of the Digital Future Coalition

Alliance for Public Technology
American Association of Law Libraries
American Association of Legal Publishers
American Association of School Administrators
American Committee for Interoperable Systems
American Council of Learned Societies
American Historical Association
American Library Association
Art Libraries Society of North America
Association for Computers and the Humanities
Association of American Geographers
Association of Research Libraries
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies
College Art Association
Committee of Concerned Intellectual Property Educators
Computer & Communications Industry Association
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Conference on College Composition and Communications
Consortium on School Networking
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Project on Technology
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Home Recording Rights Coalition
International Society for Telecommunications in Education
Medical Library Association
Modern Language Association
Music Library Association
National Association of Independent Schools
National Council of Teachers of English
National Education Association
National Humanities Alliance
National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage
National School Boards Association
National Writers Union
Society for Cinema Studies
Society of American Archivists
Special Libraries Association
United States Catholic Conference
United States Distance Learning Association
Visual Resources Association

Skip Lockwood
Digital Future Coalition
Box 7679
Washington, D.C. 20004-7679
202-628-9227 (fax)