Revising the Copyright Law for Electronic Publishing


David A. Loundy


VOL. XIV • Fall 1995 • NO. 1 (table of contents)

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14 John Marshall J. of Comp. & Info. Law 1


The Copyright Act has historically been amended to address technological changes. The Act has been shaped to apply to new situations not previously considered by the original authors. Rather than pass a new Copyright Act to address computer programs and technology, the current Act should be repaired.

The changes made to the Copyright Act as a result of the CONTU report provide some necessary updating to the Act, but the increasing use of computer technology is demanding additional refinements to the Copyright Act. In order to amend the Copyright Act with the least amount of disruption, the definition of a computer program could be changed. A computer program definition could include any work of authorship in digitized form which is used in conjunction with a computer or other computer program. This "transmission of a public display" limitation would also apply to a display of an electronic work over a computer network. The secondary transmission is made by a computer system whose operator has no direct or indirect control over the content of the primary transmission, and whose activities with respect to the primary transmission consists solely of providing a conduit and facilities necessary for the content's dissemination.

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