House subcommittee rejects digital domain proposals

WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee handed a preliminary victory Thursday to the copyright-rich recording and movie industries when it rejected proposals by telephone companies to weaken intellectual property law in the digital domain.

The legislation approved by the House subcommittee would bring U.S. law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty. It is the first step towards ratification of the treaty, which would strengthen digital copyright law globally.

Telephone companies and Internet service providers such as America Online had hoped the subcommittee would give them a limited indemnity for copyright piracy conducted over their networks.

“The message is clear: it is critical that the creative works of millions of Americans are protected and essential that copyright protection that will help strengthen and expand the Internet is secured,” said Recording Industry Assn. of America’s Jennifer Bendall.

“We are just pleased that it is moving its way through Congress and we are looking forward to the next step in the process,” said Motion Picture Assn. of America spokesman Richard Taylor. The House Judiciary Committee is the next stop for the legislation, where the creative industries will face a much tougher fight.

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