News 2000

October 13 | October 4 | September 27 | August 31 | August 18 | February 25


October 13, 2000

  • U.S. food firms hail biofood label ruling

U.S. foodmakers on October 4 praised a court ruling upholding the Food and Drug Administration's eight-year-old policy that biofoods are not materially different from conventional foods and do not need special labels. See:

October 4, 2000

  • The Case for Gene Patents

By William A. Haseltine, MIT’s TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

The controversy over genes and patents has exposed widespread public confusion over the relative meaning of both. Apparently, some people mistake patents as ownership rights and see genes only in their broadest possible context as instruments of heredity.

September 27, 2000


  • Regulatory Interest in Internet Telephony Continuing at Home and Abroad

The classification of Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) or Internet Protocol (“IP”) telephony IP telephony as regulated or unregulated has become increasingly important as IP telephony offerings proliferate around the world. Under current U.S. regulations, “telecommunications services,” such as basic, long-distance and international calls, have been regulated, while “information services,” such as e-mail and Internet access have not. VoIP competes with traditional, regulated voice services offered over the telephone nwork – except that, as a relatively unregulated service, it can be offered at a significant discount to traditional voice services. The regulatory arbitrage opportunities for IP telephony providers are especially ripe in international telecommunications markets because of the artificially high costs for traditional international voice services in many countries. This has made IP telephony a catalyst in the drop in telecommunications rates worldwide. It has also spurred recent activities in Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the international arena that could affect the economics of VoIP.

August 31, 2000

  • The Cato Institute is holding it Technology & Society conference from November 9-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia. The conference brings together CEOs of the nation's leading high tech entertainment companies to explore the challenges the industry is facing with regard to intellectual property, free speech, and free trade. For more details and to register, visit:

August 18, 2000

  • A U.S. District Court has ruled that posting the DVD encryption code on the internet is a violation of federal copyright law. Individuals can use the DeCSS software code, posted on Eric Corley's Web site, to make illegal copies of digital movies. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected the argument that Corley's software was a form of protected speech. For more information:

February 25, 2000


  • Effective January 14, 2000, there were changes in the export restrictions on encryption technology. The new rule amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to allow the export and reexport of any encryption commodity or software to individuals, commercial firms, and other non-government end-users in all destinations. It also allows exports and reexports of "retail" encryption commodities and software to all end-users in all destinations. Post-export reporting requirements are streamlined, and changes are made to reflect amendments to the Wassenaar Arrangement. These changes will allow export of encryption software if classified as "retail" and if submitted for a one time review by the manufacturer. What qualifies for retail is a little open ended, but is supposed to cover software: (1) generally available to the public; (2) the crypographic function is not readily changeable by the user; and (3) the end user does not require substantial support for installation and use. The rule implements the encryption policy announced by the White House on September 16 and will simplify U.S. encryption export rules. Restrictions on terrorist supporting states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria), their nationals and other sanctioned entities are not changed by this rule.
    For more information:


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