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From: The White House <Publications-Ad...@Pub.Pub.WhiteHouse.Gov>
Subject: 1998-10-28 Statement By The President on Digital Millennium Copyright
Date: 1998/10/29
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Organization: Executive Office of The President
Keywords: Bill-Signing, Business, Communications, Computers, Economy, Fiscal-Policy, 
Foreign, Government, Infrastructure, International-Economy, Legislation, President, 
Principal-Statement, Technology, Topical-Remarks
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                            THE WHITE HOUSE

                     Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                   October 28, 1998

                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

   Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 2281, the "Digital
Millennium Copyright Act."  This Act implements two landmark treaties
that were successfully negotiated by my Administration in 1996 and to
which the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on October
21, 1998.  The Act also limits the liability of online service providers
for copyright infringement under certain conditions.

   The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty
and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty mark the most extensive
revision of international copyright law in over 25 years.  The treaties
will grant writers, artists, and other creators of copyrighted material
global protection from piracy in the digital age.

   These treaties will become effective at a time when technological
innovations present us with great opportunities for the global
distribution of copyrighted works.  These same technologies, however,
make it possible to pirate copyrighted works on a global scale with a
single keystroke.  The WIPO treaties set clear and firm standards --
obligating signatory countries to provide "adequate legal protection"
and "effective legal remedies" against circumvention of certain
technologies that copyright owners use to protect their works, and
against violation of the integrity of copyright management information.
This Act implements those standards, carefully balancing the interests
of both copyright owners and users.

   I am advised by the Department of Justice that certain provisions of
H.R. 2281 and the accompanying Conference Report regarding the Register
of Copyrights raise serious constitutional concerns.  Contrary to
assertions in the Conference Report, the Copyright Office is, for
constitutional purposes, an executive branch entity.  Accordingly, the
Congress may exercise its constitutionally legitimate oversight powers
to require the Copyright Office to provide information relevant to the
legislative process.  However, to direct that Office's operations, the
Congress must act in accord with the requirements of bicameralism and
presentment prescribed in Article I of the Constitution.  Further, the
Congress may not require the Register to act in a manner that would
impinge upon or undermine the President's discretion under Article II,
section 3 of the Constitution to determine which, if any, executive
branch recommendations to the Congress would be "necessary and
expedient."  Accordingly, I will construe sections 103(a), 104(b),
401(b), and 403(a) of H.R. 2281 to require the Register to perform
duties only insofar as such requirements are consistent with these
constitutional principles.

   From the efforts of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and
Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks who acted as the lead negotiator
for these treaties, to the agreement reached by interests affected by
online service provider liability, to the improvements added by two
House Committees and one Senate Committee, this Act reflects the
diligence and talents of a great many people.  Through enactment of the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have done our best to protect from
digital piracy the copyright industries that comprise the leading export
of the United States.

                            WILLIAM J. CLINTON

                            THE WHITE HOUSE,
                            October 28, 1998.


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