EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:30 A.M. ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 5
Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown, chairman of the White House Information Infrastructure Task Force, today released the final report on Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure (NII). The report explains how current copyright law applies in cyberspace and makes legislative recommendations to fine tune intellectual property law for the digital age.
"The mission of the department is to make our economy grow, to promote science and technology, and to increase our international trade," Brown said. "This report will help ensure that the NII is a favorable environment for the development of an electronic marketplace for commerce," he said. Brown cautioned, however, that "Unless we provide legal protection of IP on the NII, people won't be able to reap the benefits of these new technologies."
"Without enforceable laws in place, intellectual property owners will be unwilling to put their works at risk in this rapidly expanding digital environment," said Bruce A. Lehman, chairman of the Working Group on Intellectual Property. "The Working Group has," Lehman continued, "examined existing copyright law and are recommending changes that will allow owners and users of all types of materials, from movies to software, to realize the full potential of the information superhighway as a commercial marketplace."
Last summer, a preliminary draft of the report-the Green Paper-was released for public comment. This final report incorporates changes that resulted from the hearings conducted with interested groups around the nation and the public comments received.
The report includes recommendations to Congress regarding some limited, but important, changes to the copyright law, including clarification of the copyright owner's distribution right and amendment of the library privileges to bring them into the digital age.