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Group to Offer Up Net Copyright Changes

May 22, 2000|P.J. HUFFSTUTTER

Amid the legal wranglings between Napster and the recording industry over digital music swapping, the Progressive Policy Institute is expected to meet with Congress on Wednesday to propose changes to federal copyright laws and give judges more power to punish music pirates.

The institute, a Washington think tank for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, said it will present a paper to the House's Small Business subcommittee that recommends three key changes to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The changes include requiring Internet companies to collect personally identifiable and verifiable information from their users, instead of allowing people to sign onto a service anonymously; to set a specific time frame for the "notice and take down" process for removing infringing material off the Net; and to let judges grant injunctions against companies such as Napster whose services are substantially used for exchanging pirated material.

Since the mid-1980s, the think tank has been a key player driving the centrist New Democrat movement. From welfare reform to cyberspace issues, their ideas have shaped President Clinton's agenda more than any other source, say insiders, and are also molding Vice President Al Gore's position in his bid for the presidency.

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