PublishedDecember 20, 1996


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – – Ed Black, President of CCIA, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, issued the following statement at the conclusion of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference, in Geneva, Switzerland:


“There was a tremendous amount at stake for the computer and communications industry as the delegates convened to consider extending copyright protections to the digital age. The very future of the Internet, the Global Information Infrastructure and the prospects for expanded global electronic commerce were all dependent on the decisions reached at this conference. Given the complexity of the issues and the varied interests at the table, we are very pleased that the delegates tempered or eliminated some of the more offensive language in the original draft treaties and retained the many aspects of balance between copyright owners and users which currently exists in U.S. copyright law.


“We congratulate WIPO delegates for removing language in Article 7 which would have imposed direct and contributory liability upon network service providers for infringing works which are carried over their networks. The delegates also realized that temporary copies or ephemeral RAM copies of copyrighted works on a computer should not be a violation of copyright law. Furthermore, we believe it is appropriate that the Database Treaty has been delayed pending further study next year.


“This has been an uphill battle all year. We were successful in outlining the disastrous consequences of similar proposals before the U.S. Congress and now many of our concerns regarding the original treaty language have been justified by an international body. More detailed comment awaits further analysis of the final treaty language. But clearly, we’ve dodged a bullet. There are still dangers ahead if the U.S. and other governments do not follow through with balanced legislation.”


As an accredited Non-Governmental Organization at WIPO and a founding member of three active coalitions (the Digital Future Coalition, the Ad Hoc Copyright Coalition and the European Ad Hoc Alliance), CCIA is an association of computer and communications industry firms, as represented by their chairmen, presidents, chief executive officers, chief operating officers and other senior executives. Small, medium and large in size, these companies represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including equipment manufacturers, software developers, telecommunications and online service providers, resellers, systems integrators, third-party vendors and other related business ventures.


CCIA’s mission is to further its members’ business interests by being the leading industry advocate in promoting open, barrier-free competition in the offering of computer and communications products and services worldwide. CCIA’s motto is “Open Markets, Open Systems, Open Networks, and Full, Fair and Open Competition.”


CCIA member companies employ well over a half-million workers and generate annual revenues of nearly 200 billion dollars.



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