The World Wide Web, a network of electronically produced and interconnected (or “linked”) sites, called pages, that are accessible via personal computer, raises legal issues about the rights of owners of intellectual property, notably those who create documents for inclusion on Web pages. Some of these owners of intellectual property claim that unless copyright law is strengthened
, intellectual property on the Web will not be protected from copyright infringement. Web users, however, claim that if their ability to access information on Web pages is reduced, the Web cannot live up to its potential as an open, interactive medium of communication.
The debate arises from the Web’s ability to link one document to another. Links between sites are analogous to the inclusion in a printed text of references to other works, but with one difference: the cited document is instantly retrievable by a user who activates the link. This immediate accessibility creates a problem, since current copyright laws give owners of intellectual property the right to sue a distributor of unauthorized copies of their material even if that distributor did not personally make the copies. If person A, the author of a document, puts the document on a Web page, and person B, the creator of another Web page, creates a link to A’s document, is B committing copyright infringement?
To answer this question, it must first be determined who controls distribution of a document on the Web. When A places a document on a Web page, this is comparable to recording an outgoing message on one’s telephone answering machine for others to hear. When B creates a link to A’s document, this is akin to B’s giving out A’s telephone number, thereby allowing third parties to hear the outgoing message for themselves. Anyone who calls can listen to the message; that is its purpose. While B’s link may indeed facilitate access to A’s document, the crucial point is that A, simply by placing that document on the Web, is thereby offering it for distribution. Therefore, even if B leads others to the document, it is A who actually controls access to it. Hence creating a link to a document is not the same as making or distributing a copy of that document. Moreover, techniques are already available by which A can restrict access to a document. For example, A may require a password to gain entry to A’s Web page, just as a telephone owner can request an unlisted number and disclose it only to selected parties. Such a solution would compromise the openness of the Web somewhat, but not as much as the threat of copyright infringement litigation. Changing copyright law to benefit owners of intellectual property is thus ill-advised because it would impede the development of the Web as a public forum dedicated to the free exchange of ideas.
1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?
(A) Since distribution of a document placed on a Web page is controlled by the author of that page rather than by the person who creates a link to the page, creating such a link should not be considered copyright infringement.
(B) Changes in copyright law in response to the development of Web pages and links are ill-advised unless such changes amplify rather than restrict the free exchange of ideas necessary in a democracy.
(C) People who are concerned about the access others may have to the Web documents they create can easily prevent such access without inhibiting the rights of others to exchange ideas freely.
(D) Problems concerning intellectual property rights created by new forms of electronic media are not insuperably difficult to resolve if one applies basic commonsense principles to these problems.
(E) Maintaining a free exchange of ideas on the Web offers benefits that far outweigh those that might be gained by a small number of individuals if a radical alteration of copyright laws aimed at restricting the Web’s growth were allowed.
2. Which one of the following is closest in meaning to the term “strengthened” (bold-blue) as that term is used in of the passage?
(A) made more restrictive
(B) made uniform worldwide
(C) made to impose harsher penalties
(D) dutifully enforced
(E) more fully recognized as legitimate
3. With which one of the following claims about documents placed on Web pages would the author be most likely to agree?
(A) Such documents cannot receive adequate protection unless current copyright laws are strengthened.
(B) Such documents cannot be protected from unauthorized distribution without significantly diminishing the potential of the Web to be a widely used form of communication.
(C) The nearly instantaneous access afforded by the Web makes it impossible in practice to limit access to such documents.
(D) Such documents can be protected from copyright infringement with the least damage to the public interest only by altering existing legal codes.
(E) Such documents cannot fully contribute to the Web’s free exchange of ideas unless their authors allow them to be freely accessed by those who wish to do so.
4. Based on the passage, the relationship between strengthening current copyright laws and relying on passwords to restrict access to a Web document is most analogous to the relationship between
(A) allowing everyone use of a public facility and restricting its use to members of the community
(B) outlawing the use of a drug and outlawing its sale
(C) prohibiting a sport and relying on participants to employ proper safety gear
(D) passing a new law and enforcing that law
(E) allowing unrestricted entry to a building and restricting entry to those who have been issued a badge
5. The passage most strongly implies which one of the following?
(A) There are no creators of links to Web pages who are also owners of intellectual property on Web pages.
(B) The person who controls access to a Web page document should be considered the distributor of that document.
(C) Rights of privacy should not be extended to owners of intellectual property placed on the Web.
(D) Those who create links to Web pages have primary control over who reads the documents on those pages.
(E) A document on a Web page must be converted to a physical document via printing before copyright infringement takes place.
6. According to the passage, which one of the following features of outgoing messages left on telephone answering machines is most relevant to the debate concerning copyright infringement?
(A) Such messages are carried by an electronic medium of communication.
(B) Such messages are not legally protected against unauthorized distribution.
(C) Transmission of such messages is virtually instantaneous.
(D) People do not usually care whether or not others might record such messages.
(E) Such messages have purposely been made available to anyone who calls that telephone number.
7. The author’s discussion of telephone answering machines serves primarily to
(A) compare and contrast the legal problems created by two different sorts of electronic media
(B) provide an analogy to illustrate the positions taken by each of the two sides in the copyright debate
(C) show that the legal problems produced by new communication technology are not themselves new
(D) illustrate the basic principle the author believes should help determine the outcome of the copyright debate
(E) show that telephone use also raises concerns about copyright infringement
8. According to the passage, present copyright laws
(A) allow completely unrestricted use of any document placed by its author on a Web page
(B) allow those who establish links to a document on a Web page to control its distribution to others
(C) prohibit anyone but the author of a document from making a profit from the document’s distribution
(D) allow the author of a document to sue anyone who distributes the document without permission
(E) should be altered to allow more complete freedom in the exchange of ideas
Pls provide answers with explanation. OA will follow later.
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