American taxpayers spend more than $100 million a year supporting the work of the Congressional Research Service, a little-known but highly regarded division of the Library of Congress.
But unlike the library itself, the research service is by law exclusively for the use of members of Congress. Only they and their staffs have access to the reports and memorandums it generates, and only they can decide to make its work public.
A nonprofit group, the Center for Democracy and Technology, is leading a fight to change that.
Two European commissioners are proposing the creation of a Europewide copyright license for online content that could clear the way for cross-border sales of digital music, games and video — and lower prices for consumers.
The plan, to be offered Tuesday by Viviane Reding, the European telecommunications and media commissioner, and Meglena Kuneva, the consumer affairs commissioner of the bloc, would allow consumers to shop online for media from any retailer in the 27-nation European Union.
The two commissioners intend to outline their plan in Strasbourg, where the European Parliament is meeting this week, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by the International Herald Tribune. The commissioners would introduce legislation to create the license this year.
[…] Cross-border sales of online film and music is rare in the E.U. because most retailers generally do not want to deal with the complexity of satisfying 27 different national copyright systems, which are administered by semi-autonomous collecting societies that levy and collect fees on each sale.
To avoid selling abroad, online retailers often required customers to use a credit card issued in the same country as they are based.