Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - Monday, November 2, 1998 Volume 34, Issue 44; ISSN: 0511-4187 Statement on signing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Monday, November 2, 1998


Volume 34, Issue 44; ISSN: 0511-4187


Statement on signing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

William J Clinton



� October 28, 1998



� Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 2281, the "Digital

Millennium Copyright Act." This Act implements two landmark treaties

that were successfully negotiated by my Administration in 1996 and

to which the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on

October 21, 1998. The Act also limits the liability of online

service providers for copyright infringement under certain




� The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright

Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty mark the most

extensive revision of international copyright law in over 25 years.

The treaties will grant writers, artists, and other creators of

copyrighted material global protection from piracy in the digital




� These treaties will become effective at a time when technological

innovations present us with great opportunities for the global

distribution of copyrighted works. These same technologies, however,

make it possible to pirate copyrighted works on a global scale with

a single keystroke. The WIPO treaties set clear and firm

standards-obligating signatory countries to provide "adequate legal

protection" and "effective legal remedies" against circumvention of

certain technologies that copyright owners use to protect their

works, and against violation of the integrity of copyright

management information. This Act implements those standards,

carefully balancing the interests of both copyright owners and




� I am advised by the Department of Justice that certain provisions

of H.R. 2281 and the accompanying Conference Report regarding the

Register of Copyrights raise serious constitutional concerns.

Contrary to assertions in the Conference Report, the Copyright

Office is, for constitutional purposes, an executive branch entity.

Accordingly, the Congress may exercise its constitutionally

legitimate oversight powers to require the Copyright Office to

provide information relevant to the legislative process. However, to

direct that Office's operations, the Congress must act in accord

with the requirements of bicameralism and presentment prescribed in

Article I of the Constitution. Further, the Congress may not require

the Register to act in a manner that would impinge upon or undermine

the President's discretion under Article II, section 3 of the

Constitution to determine which, if any, executive branch

recommendations to the Congress would be "necessary and expedient."

Accordingly, I will construe sections 103(a), 104(b), 401(b), and

403(a) of H.R. 2281 to require the Register to perform duties only

insofar as such requirements are consistent with these

constitutional principles.



� From the efforts of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and

Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks who acted as the lead

negotiator for these treaties, to the agreement reached by interests

affected by online service provider liability, to the improvements

added by two House Committees and one Senate Committee, this Act

reflects the diligence and talents of a great many people. Through

enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have done our

best to protect from digital piracy the copyright industries that

comprise the leading export of the United States.



� William J. Clinton



� The White House,



� October 28, 1998.



� NOTE: H.R. 2281, approved October 28, was assigned Public Law No.

10-04. An original was not available for verification of the content

of this statement.



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