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fyi- NII Advisory Council Letter on GII (12/15/94)
From: David Farber <farber () central cis upenn edu>
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 16:26:00 -0500
clearly a committee letter (not complaining just observing) djf
December 6, 1994
The Honorable Ronald H. Brown
Secretary of Commerce
14th and Constitution, N.W.
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Secretary Brown:
We understand that you will be heading the U.S.
Delegation to the upcoming G-7 Conference in Brussels, which
will address the emerging Global Information Infrastructure
("GII"). On behalf of the National Information
Infrastructure Advisory Council, we are writing to provide
you with the recommendations of the Advisory Council
concerning the issues to be addressed at the G-7 Conference.
We believe that the Administration has laid an
important foundation in articulating its basic vision of the
GII and challenging the world community to join in the
development of the GII. Of course, the process of
developing an international consensus on the GII will
require resolution of a number of significant issues, and
the G-7 Conference represents only an early phase of that
process. In addition, we believe that the successful
development of the GII will depend on the active
participation of U.S. private industry and closer
consultation between private industry and the
Administration. We are confident, however, that the
collaborative efforts of industry and government will
ultimately prove successful.
As you know, the Advisory Council has been actively
engaged in assessing a range of legal, technological, and
social issues associated with the development of the
National Information Infrastructure ("NII"). After
considerable deliberation and debate, the Advisory Council
has adopted fundamental principles concerning intellectual
property, electronic commerce, and life long learning. We
will provide you with these principles shortly, and we will
forward principles addressing access, privacy and security,
and overall issues once the Council completes them. While
some of these principles may be most applicable in the
context of the NII, we believe that the objective and spirit of
the principles may also be applied in the GII
The Advisory Council recognizes that many countries have
distinct legal, cultural, and social traditions that
affect how the GII may be implemented. The preservation of
distinct cultures and national sovereignty are important for all
nations; and the GII must accommodate these
considerations. However, while there is unlikely to be a
common approach to implementing the GII, the Council
believes that it is appropriate for the Administration to
pursue a consensus among the G-7 nations on GII goals and to work
toward agreement and measurable progress in achieving
The Advisory Council commends the Administration's
leadership in identifying five basic principles for the GII. The
Advisory Council agrees that the keys to the successful
development of the GII are private investment and
competition. Complementing these two building block
principles is the need for a flexible regulatory environment that
permits private enterprise to flourish while protecting the
public interest. Open access for information providers is also
essential to the development of the GII. Finally,
while we recognize that universal service may be a desirable
long-term goal, its attainment must remain subject to the
resources and priorities of each country.
In your discussions with the leaders of the other
G-7 member countries, the Advisory Council also believes
that the following specific matters warrant special
* National markets should be internally
competitive and open to foreign competition. This is a
"First Principle" which all global markets should honor.
* Intellectual property rights on the GII
must be ensured.
* The United States should pursue technology
trials that are jointly supported by the participating
nations and that explore pre-competitive GII technologies.
* The harmonization of laws and regulations
consistent with the United States' national interest is
essential to the successful development of the GII.
* The United States should promote the goal of
interoperability among national information
* The United States should seek to promote
the development of the GII through every means possible,
including multilateral, bilateral, and, in certain
instances, unilateral means. National markets should be
internally competitive and open to foreign competition.
This is a "First Principle" which all global markets should
honor. The building block principles of private investment and
competition should apply to national markets as well as to
international markets. The telecommunications and
computer revolution in the United States over the past
twenty-five years is traceable to the adoption of policies
aimed at promoting competition and private investment.
The Advisory Council believes that other countries will
realize similar benefits by taking steps to promote
competition and private investment within their domestic
markets. Moreover, progress in the development of the GII
will depend on the extent to which markets are open to
competition. We also believe that procurement decisions
should be open, transparent, pro-competitive, non-
discriminatory, and based solely on reasonable business decisions
and sound commercial principles.
To the extent there are limitations on market
access derived from cultural or other domestic public
interest considerations, the G-7 member countries should
pursue ways to accommodate their concerns without merely
denying foreign access to national markets. Because of the
substantial transmission capacity that the GII is expected
to offer, a country might reserve a reasonable portion of
its overall total capacity for indigenous or other public
interest programming, without effectively denying access to their
market to foreign program producers and providers by, for
instance, applying these restrictions to individual
Intellectual property rights on the GII must be
ensured. In an electronic environment offering instant,
worldwide communication, the rights of those who own,
create, or contribute to intellectual property must be
respected and preserved. It is essential to provide
meaningful incentives for the creation and dissemination of works
in the GII, while ensuring adequate access to and
appropriate privileges of use of those works.
Complementing the legal recognition of intellectual
property rights in the GII is the practical need for
technical mechanisms to control the use ofprotected works.
Enforcement of intellectual property interests will continue to
occur primarily through private means, and the GII will
need to offer rights owners the technical means of
controlling the exploitation of their works.
The United States should pursue technology trials
that are jointly supported by the participating nations and that
explore pre-competitive GII technologies. While public policy is
important to the development of the GII, the
adoption of technology will ultimately determine
how the GII actually develops. Just as domestic U.S.
technology trials have offered invaluable experience with
basic NII technologies, the United States should pursue
cooperative test-bed ventures with its trading partners.
The Council believes that such joint technology trials
should focus on innovative applications, such as
environmental, educational, library, and electronic commerce
applications, should be supported by the participating nations,
and should explore pre-competitive technologies.
The harmonization of laws and regulations
consistent with the United States' national interest is
essential to the successful development of the GII. Part of the
promise of the GII is its potential capability to enable
individuals to share in the diversity of cultures, traditions,
and viewpoints around the world. To realize this potential,
however, the GII will have to accommodate a variety of legal and
social structures. Part of the process will involve efforts to
develop common approaches to legal and technological issues.
Where agreement on specific approaches to implementing the GII is
not achievable, however, the United States should
work towards agreement on approaches that are consistent with
the national interests of the United States.
The United States should promote the goal of
interoperability among national information infrastructures.
Because of the unique legal, cultural, and social traditions of
individual G-7 members, it is essential for the United States to
stress the goal of achieving interoperability among national
information infrastructures. This goal will be accomplished
through a variety of means, including primarily through
voluntary industry-led standard setting processes. While the
United States and its G-7 partners should support those
efforts, the interests of key contributors to the development of
the GII must not be sacrificed. Thus, for instance, the
goal of interoperability should not be achieved
through means that denigrate U.S. intellectual property rights.
The United States should seek to promote the
development of the GII through every means possible, including
multilateral, bilateral, and, in certain instances, unilateral
means. The United States currently seeks to promote its
legitimate interests through multilateral,
bilateral, and, in certain instances, unilateral means. While
agreement on fundamental objectives and approaches to developing
the GII will depend on multilateral initiatives, such as the G-7
Conference, there will remain a need to utilize bilateral and, in
appropriate circumstances, unilateral measures to achieve
specific objectives. * *
* On behalf of the Advisory Council, we applaud the
efforts of you and the Administration in promoting the
development of the NII and the GII, and we appreciate the
opportunity to offer the Council's views on those matters.
The National Information
Edward McCracken Co-Chair
Delano E.Lewis Co-Chair
- fyi- NII Advisory Council Letter on GII (12/15/94) David Farber (Jan 03)