The future of the Internet could be threatened if the European Parliament makes caching of information illegal.
Caching involves copying and storing Web content to speed up the loading of information. As Web use has escalated over recent years caching has become a fundamental part of the infrastructure.
Draft legislation from the European Parliament calls for the banning of all ?non essential copying? of information, suggesting that it will protect authors. The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) is urging the European Parliament to amend the legislation to permit caching.
The question of how to protect copyright on the Internet has become a burning issue since the music industry warned of bankruptcy if songs could be downloaded from Web sites free of charge.
The interests of authors and artists are paramount to law makers, and any legislation to make caching illegal could actually ruin the popularity of the Internet.
Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of ISPA UK said, ?We want to protect an artist?s copyright, but this legislation could hinder artists from getting their own copyrighted work viewed by a wide audience as the absence of caching would create a generally slower Internet.?
There is concern within the industry that the law makers do not fully understand the Internet and that the proposed legislation is more far reaching than they realise.
Inktomi manufactures Traffic Server, a caching product used by AOL, @Home Network, and Cable & Wireless USA, which helps rapidly speed up download times.
?They are looking at it this way: cache equals copies of content, which equals copyright violation, and that is not the case,? said Joe Frost, European product marketing manager at Inktomi.
?If blanket legislation is introduced you?ll have to look at the way memory is stored in routers, how caching is done on the desktop and at hosting. Where do you draw the line?,? he continued.
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