Telecommunications headlines week of 20 Oct

Gary Handman (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 14:22:33 -0700 (PDT)

Title: Bleak Study On the Arts Stirs Outcry
Source: New York Times (B1)
Author: Judith Miller
Issue: Arts
Description: American Canvas, a 193-page Federal report on the state of the
arts in the U.S., has created quite a reaction across the nation. Most of
the outcries have been in response to coverage by newspapers and television
stations that decided to focus on the report's conclusion that "artists and
art groups are partially responsible for the growing alienation between the
public and the arts, a gap that made recent cuts in government arts spending
possible." While some were outraged by these conclusions, like Randall
Bourscheidt, president of the New York city-based Alliance for the Arts, an
arts advocacy group, and chief of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's cultural advisory
committee, who commented, "Talk about blaming the victim!" Others were less
reactionary, like Armando Duran, a lawyer, social activist and participant
in one of the forums from which the report was based, who said, "I stand by
that criticism. And I think the N.E.A.'s constant struggle reflects that
insularity and the fact that the vast majority of people don't understand
what the arts are supposed to do."

Source: New York Times (D6)
Author: Reuters
Issue: Copyright
Description: The European Commission is in the process of drafting a text on
"copyright protection for material carried on the Internet and other
electronic networks." This move, pushed forward in an effort to deter
pirates from using technology to make and distribute illegal copies of
recordings, films or texts, is causing quite a debate between the publishing
and entertainment industry, and equipment manufacturers, telecommunications
companies and on-line service providers. Members of the entertainment
industry are concerned that they could be severely damaged if they are not
allowed to control all commercial uses of their products. "There's a very
big danger that the entire financial stability or underpinnings of our
companies is not only threatened, but could collapse if we in fact don't
control the means to exploit our product," said Rick Dobbis, an executive at
the Phillips Electronics N.V. unit at Polygram International. On the other
hand, European equipment, telecommunications and on-line companies, which
have joined together to form the Ad Hoc Alliance for a Digital Future, are
concerned that the EU will go overboard in their efforts to protect
copyrights, making virtually all copyrighting illegal, even that by
consumers for their personal use. "We're afraid that, you could maybe call
it greed, the content owners could ruin their and our markets," said Gerry
Wirtz, an executive at Phillips who head the associations copyright

*Digital Television**

*Digital Television**

Title: PBS Makes Digital Plans
Source: New York Times (D11)
Author: Joel Brinkley
Issue: Digital TV
Description: While the more commercial television networks contemplate how
to make their transition into digital broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting
System (PBS) is plunging forward with a clearly articulated plan and lots of
enthusiasm. The intention of the PBS strategy, according to Gary P. Poon,
executive director of PBS's Digital Television Strategic Planning Office, is
"to do it all," taking advantage of all of the possibilities offered through
digital tv. According to Robert Coonrod, President of the Corporation of
Public Broadcasting, "technology is finally catching up with our mission."
The one problem PBS is facing is how they are going to pay for the
transition. Early this month, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gave
the Clinton Administration a proposal outlining what their 349 stations
intend to do with the new, digital channels, along with a request for
$771 million to help pay for it. This request, designed to be paid out
over a
three year period, represents just a portion of PBS's needs with the total
transition costs coming in at $1.7 billion. PBS officials are hoping to
raise the additional $1 billion from foundations, state governments and

Title: Panel to Consider New Rules For Digital TV Broadcasters
Source: New York Times (D8)
Author: Joel Brinkley
Issue: Digital Television
Description: Yesterday, Vice-President Al Gore convened an advisory
committee chartered with determining what public-interest obligations
broadcasters must fulfill in order to borrow a second channel for digital
broadcasts. The panel, called the Advisory Committee on Public Interest
obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, consists of 21 members
representing American Indians, Spanish-language television, Asian-Americans,
Internet companies, labor unions, people with visual and hearing problems,
children's television, and the national Parent-Teacher Association. The
committee plans to produce a report by next October.

Author: David Nakamura and Jacqueline L. Salmon
Issue: First Amendment/Freedom of Speech
Description: Earlier this week, the Library Board for Loudoun County,
Virginia, adopted one of the most restrictive Internet policies in the
country. Under the new rules, library patrons who use the Internet will not
have access to sexually explicit material, e-mail or chat rooms under any
circumstances. To enforce the policy, library computers will be equipped
with software designed to block access to web sites containing offensive
sexual material. The revised policy also requires that children under the
age of 18 must receive written permission from a parent or guardian before
they can use the Internet. The board's decision is being criticized as
"infringing upon the free-speech rights of adults in the name of protecting
children." Loudoun County's policy "is an invitation to a lawsuit," said
Kent Willis, director of Virginia's American Civil Liberties Union. "They
simply cannot do that... That's an outright violation of your First
Amendment rights under the Constitution." But a majority of the Loudoun
Library Board continue to stand by their decision. "The potential detriment
and harm of obscene material to the community outweighs...the potential for
some protected speech not to get through," said Spencer D. Ault (Catoctin),
a Library Board Member.

Title: U.S. Commission Finds That Nation Is Vulnerable to Cyber-Terrorism
Source: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: Peter Wayner
Issue: Technological Terrorism
Description: A commission formed by the White House last year to study the
nation's vulnerability to terrorist attacks on digital systems released a
summary of their report yesterday. In the report, they concluded that the
United States is "currently unprepared to defend crucial parts of its
computer infrastructure." The commission, called the President's Commission
on Critical Infrastructure Protection, recommended a wide variety of
proposals, including "more comprehensive background checks on people who
hold sensitive positions, strengthening government computer systems and
spending more on research to improve network security."


Title: Steady Diet of Spam on Online Services
Source: New York Times (D4)
Author: Peter H. Lewis
Issue: Internet
Description: "Spam," unsolicited commercial e-mail and automated bulk
mailings, is growing at an incredibly fast rate. Internet service providers
confirm that the problem is getting worse. "Aside from annoying many
people, the real problems with spam, some Internet experts say, involve the
traffic jams and computer crashes it can cause." In an effort to address
this problem, in the past six months, four bills have been introduced in
Congress intended to ban or regulate junk e-mail, more than a dozen bills
have been offered among the states and the Federal Trade Commission has
commissioned a study of possible solutions. Some Internet service providers
also are working to cut down on the amount of spam they relay. However,
there is concern that these new tactics threaten to disrupt the very nature
of the Internet, which "grew into a powerful communications medium on the
fundamental premise of computers on the network freely handling and
forwarding one another's messages."

Title: Who Knows Why but They Don't Say When
Source: Washington Post (WashTech, 19)
Author: Margot Williams
Issue: Internet: General Info
Description: Quality standards for information from the Web or online
commercial databases ought to be no different from standards that apply to
print. Finding the dates on documents and files has been a question of many
a researcher. But search engines treat dates differently. Only HotBot and
AltaVista display the file date, the date the file was placed on its Web
server. Many other search engines, like Excite, Infoseek, and Webcrawler,
display no date at all. Danny Sullivan, editor of "Search Engine Watch",
said, "I think it would be beneficial to all search engine users if it was
standard for search engines to report the date a Web page was
this way, they could instantly know how out-of-date the search engine was."

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000