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Federal Bar Association




The Clinton Administration in 1993 announced its intention to develop a National ; Information Infrastructure (NII), an "information superhighway" designed to make electronic digital information more widely available and accessible to the public. This announcement has . ~ stimulated a national debate over how best to define and enforce an appropriate set of proprietary rights in digital information. That debate should begin with an analysis and assessment of the current state of the law of digital data. While that law resembles a moving target, general trends may be identified. The current framework provides the background against which NIL may be tailored to realize its objective of disseminating a broad range of information to all at affordable prices while still maintaining the protection of intellectual property rights in that information. This article summarizes the current state of copyright protection for data flowing on networks and in on-line fact-based computer databases and proceeds to identify those issues which need to be addressed before NII's fullscale implementation.

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