Introduction

In February 1993, President Clinton formed the Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF) to articulate and implement the Administration's vision for the National Information Infrastructure (NII). The IITF is chaired by Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown and consists of high-level representatives of the Federal agencies that play a role in advancing the development and application of information technologies. Guided by the principles for government action described in The NII Agenda for Action,[1] the participating agencies are working with the private sector, public interest groups, Congress, and State and local governments to develop comprehensive telecommunications and information policies and programs that best meet the country's needs.

To drive these efforts, the IITF is organized into three committees: the Telecommunications Policy Committee, which formulates Administration positions on key telecommunications issues; the Committee on Applications and Technology, which coordinates Administration efforts to develop, demonstrate and promote applications of information technologies in key areas; and the Information Policy Committee, which addresses critical information policy issues that must be dealt with if the NII is to be fully deployed and utilized. In addition, the IITF recently established a Security Issues Forum to asses the security needs and concerns of users, service providers, information providers, State governments and others.

The Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, which is chaired by Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks Bruce A. Lehman, was established within the Information Policy Committee to examine the intellectual property implications of the NII.

This Report represents the Working Group's examination and analysis to date. While it addresses each of the major areas of intellectual property law, it focuses primarily on copyright law and its application and effectiveness in the context of the NII.[2]

To prepare this Report, the Working Group drew upon the expertise of its members from the Executive Branch and observers from the Legislative Branch. In addition, the Working Group received and considered views of the public.

The Working Group held a public hearing on November 18, 1993, at which 30 witnesses testified. The Working Group also solicited written comments and received some 70 statements during a public comment period which closed on December 10, 1993. Through this process, the Working Group heard from representatives of a wide variety of interested parties, including the computer software, motion picture, music, broadcasting, publishing and other information industries, as well as various electronic industries. Views of the academic, research, library and legal communities were also heard, as well as those of individual copyright owners and users.

The special intellectual property concerns and issues raised by the development and use of the NII are the subject of this Report; it does not attempt to address all existing intellectual property issues.[3] Because of the legal nature of the subject, this Report uses certain words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to some readers or that do not have their ordinary meaning when used in the context of intellectual property law. The Working Group has attempted to identify these terms of art and provide their legal definitions.

The Working Group is issuing this Preliminary Draft of its Report to solicit public comment on the Report and, particularly, its preliminary findings and recommendations. An original and four copies of written comments should be submitted on or before September 7, 1994, to:

The Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Box 4
Washington, D.C. 20231

Attention: Terri A. Southwick
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Legislative and International Affairs

Alternatively, comments may be submitted electronically to the following Internet address: nii-ip@uspto.gov.

Comments received will be available for public inspection at the Scientific and Technical Information Center of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Room 2CO1, Crystal Plaza 34, 2021 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Reply comments may be submitted electronically or in writing no later than September 28, 1994.

This Report is also available on the IITF Bulletin Board. The Bulletin Board can be accessed through the Internet by pointing the Gopher Client to iitf.doc.gov or by telnet to iitf.doc.gov (log in as gopher). The Bulletin Board is also accessible at 202-501-1920 using a personal computer and a telephone modem. The Report may be found under "Speeches, Testimony and Documents" and is listed as "Intellectual Property Working Group Draft Report."

Public hearings will be held on this Report, and will be announced in the press, on the IITF Bulletin Board and in the Federal Register.

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