The following is a chronological listing of significant events in the development of the field of Information Technology law between 1990 and 1999. For other time periods see:
- Chronology of Events - Pre-1700
- Chronology of Events - 1700s
- Chronology of Events - 1800s
- Chronology of Events - 1900-1930s
- Chronology of Events - 1940s
- Chronology of Events - 1950s
- Chronology of Events - 1960s
- Chronology of Events - 1970s
- Chronology of Events - 1980s
- Chronology of Events - 2000s
- Chronology of Events - 2010s
1990 — The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is passed in the United Kingdom
December 1, 1990 — The Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990 goes into effect. The Act grants the owner of the copyright in a computer program the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the rental, lease, or lending of the program for direct or indirect commercial purposes.
1991 — WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) is developed by Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp.
1991 — The Semiconductor International Protection Extension Act of 1991 is enacted.
1991 — PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), the popular encryption program, is released by Philip Zimmerman in response to the threat by the FBI to demand access to the cleartext of all electronic communications.
1991 — Mark Weiser's article "The Computer for the 21st Century" is published in Scientific American:
|“||The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.||”|
March 27, 1991 — U.S. Supreme Court decides Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991), where the Court rejects the "sweat of the brow" doctrine under U.S. copyright law.
September 17, 1991 — Linux is introduced by Linus Torvald. Based on Minix, an open source Unix clone, Linux is released with full source code under the terms of the GNU Public License, guaranteeing that future developments would be accessible to all Linux users.
September 1991 — XEROX PARC's Mark Weiser publishes The Computer in the 21st Century in Scientific American, which uses the terms "ubiquitous computing" and "embodied virtuality" to describe his vision of how in the near future "specialized elements of hardware and software, connected by wires, radio waves and infrared, will be so ubiquitous that no one will notice their presence."
December 9, 1991 — The High-Performance Computing and Communications Program Act of 1991 (commonly called "the Gore Bill") is enacted, creating the National Research and Education Network.
1992 — The Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 is enacted.
January 1, 1992 — The Internet Society is officially formed.
October 28, 1992 — The Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) becomes effective. The Act requires serial copy management systems in digital audio recorders and imposes royalties on the sale of digital audio recording devices and media. The royalties are collected, invested, and distributed among the owners of sound recordings and musical compositions, certain performing artists, and/or their representatives. The Act clarified legality of home taping of analog and digital sound recordings for private noncommercial use.
November 23, 1992 — President George H.W Bush signs an amendment to the Scientific and Technology Act, which allows the National Science Foundation to permit access to the Internet by organizations that want to use it for purposes "in addition" to research and education in the sciences and engineering. This language allowed the Internet to be used for commercial purposes for the first time.
1883 — id Software releases the immersive, first-person shooter-style game Doom.
1993 — The North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2114 and 2115 is enacted.
1993 — The U.S. government announces to introduce the Clipper Chip.
Jan. 1993 — Network Solutions, Inc., signs a 5-year cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation to manage public registration of new, nonmilitary domain names, including those ending in .com, .net, or .org.
1994 — First Virtual, the first cyberbank, is opened.
1994 — The White House launches its first website, www.whitehouse.gov.
1994 — John Perry Barlow proclaims the death of copyright.
1994 — A National Research Council report entitled "Realizing the Information Future: The Internet and Beyond" is released. Commissioned by NSF, the report provides a blueprint for the evolution of the information superhighway. It anticipates a number of critical issues including intellectual property rights and regulation of the Internet.
1994 — Congress enacts the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA), which requires telecommunications carriers and equipment manufacturers to design their equipment to facilitate eavesdropping by law enforcement.
February 1994 — Yahoo! is launched.
March 1994 — Vice President Al Gore makes a speech in Argentina in which he coins the term "Information Superhighway."
October 1994 — The first banner ads appear on hotwired.com.
October 1994 — The World Wide Web Consortium is founded by Tim Bernes-Lee.
December 8, 1994 — President Clinton signs the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), which implements the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) including Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).
December 8, 1994 — Congress repeals the sunset provisions of the Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990; and creates legal measures to prohibit the unauthorized fixation and trafficking in sound recordings of live musical performances and music videos.
1995 — Internet Explorer 1.0 is distributed.
1995 — The U.S Supreme Court decides Lotus Development v. Borland International
1995 — The term "spyware" is first used.
1995 — The Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) comes into effect.
1995 — The U.S. approves the Final Act of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT)
March 1995 — Yahoo! is launched.
April 1995 — RealAudio 1.0 is released.
July 16, 1995 — Amazon.com launches.
September 5, 1995 — eBay launches as AuctionWeb.
November 1, 1995 — The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 is enacted.
November 1, 1995 — The European Union enacts the Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data).
December 1995 — President Clinton announces creation of the Electronic Commerce Working Group.
December 1995 — An article titled Wearable Computing is published in Wired magazine by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte and Neil Gershenfeld:
|“||For hardware and software to comfortably follow you around, they must merge into softwear. . . . The difference in time between loony ideas and shipped products is shrinking so fast that it's now, oh, about a week.||”|
1996 — The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is enacted.
1996 — The Anti-Counterfeiting Consumer Protection Act is enacted.
January 1996 — Google launches as "BackRub".
January 16, 1996 — The Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995 goes into effect.
February 8, 1996 — The Communications Decency Act (CDA) goes into effect. The law is intended to protect children from obscenity on the Internet, but many critics argued that its language was too vague and that it violated the rights of free speech. A few months later a three-judge panel enjoins its enforcement.
March 1996 — The "Palm Pilot" PDA is introduced.
July 1996 — President Clinton establishes the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, charged with coordinating and protecting critical infrastructure systems (gas, oil, telecom, water, transportation, etc.) against physical and electronic attack.
August 1996 — The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is signed into law.
October 1996 — The National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996 is enacted.
October 1, 1996 — The Internet2 is formed.
1997 — Slashdot, a tech news aggregation service, is founded.
1997 — Paul Saffo publishes an article titled Sensors: The Next Wave of Infotech Innovation (full-text).
1997 — The term "cloud computing" is coined by University of Texas professor Ramnath Chellappa in a talk on a "new computing paradigm."
April 12, 1997 — The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is enacted. The treaty extends traditional copyright protection to computer programs and "compilations of data or other material (databases) in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations."
April 12, 1997 — The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) is enacted. The treaty deals with intellectual property rights of performers (e.g., actors, singers and instrumentalists) and producers of phonograms ("the persons or legal entities who or which take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of the sounds").
April 18, 1997 — The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) is established to handle administration and registration of IP numbers to the geographical areas currently handled by Network Solutions (InterNIC) starting in March 1998.
June 26, 1997 — The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down as unconstitutional those provisions of the Communications Decency Act that sought to protect minors from harmful material on the Internet in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union.
July 1997 — President Clinton issues a presidential directive on electronic commerce, making the Department of Commerce the agency responsible for managing the U.S. government’s role in the domain name system.
July 1997 — President Clinton issues A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce.
October 21, 1997 — The U.S. and the Netherlands sign a Joint Statement on the Development of the Internet and the Promotion of Global Electronic Commerce.
November 1997 — the Ninth APEC Ministerial Meeting issues a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce.
December 16, 1997 — The No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 (“NET”), Pub. L. 105-147, 111 Stat. 2678 (Dec. 16, 1997) (amending 17 U.S.C. §506(a)) becomes effective. The Act defines “financial gain” in relation to copyright infringement and sets penalties for willfully infringing a copyright either for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain or by reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, of phonorecords of a certain value.
1998 — HDTV is launched.
1998 — The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act is passed.
1998 — The Child Online Protection Act is passed.
January 1998 — Netscape announces plans to give its browser away for free.
January 30, 1998 — The U.S. Department of Commerce releases the Green Paper (full-text), which is a proposal to improve technical management of Internet names and addresses through privatization. Specifically, the Green Paper proposes a variety of issues for discussion, including the creation of a new nonprofit corporation to manage the domain name system.
February 4, 1998 — President Clinton signs Executive Order 13073, creating the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. The council centralizes executive branch efforts to prepare government agencies for the date rollover.
May 1998 — The U.S. and Japan sign a Joint Statement of Electronic Commerce.
May 18, 1998 — The U.S. Department of Justice files an antitrust suit against Microsoft. The claim was that since Internet Explorer was included in every copy of Windows, that distribution was anticompetitive.
June 1998 — The U.S. and France collaborate to issue a French-American Background Paper on the Challenges of the Information Society and the Digital Economy.
June 5, 1998 — The U.S. Department of Commerce releases its White Paper (full-text), which states that the U.S. government is prepared to transition domain name system management to a private, nonprofit corporation. The paper includes the four guiding principles of privatization: stability; competition; representation; and private, bottom-up coordination.
September 7, 1998 — Google is founded.
October 1998 — The OECD issues the Ministerial declaration on authentication for electronic commerce and on taxation.
October 18, 1998 — President Clinton signs the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act.
October 27, 1998 — The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act becomes effective. The Act extends the term of copyright protection for most works to the life of the author plus 70 years after the author's death.
October 27, 1998 — The Fairness in Music Licensing Act of 1998 is enacted.
October 28, 1998 — The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) becomes effective. The Act provides for the implementation of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty; limits certain online infringement liability for Internet service providers; creates an exemption permitting a temporary reproduction of a computer program made by activating a computer in the course of maintenance or repair; clarifies the policy role of the U.S. Copyright Office; and creates a form of protection for vessel hulls.
November 1998 — The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) incorporates in California. ICANN's by-laws call for a 19-member Board with 9 members elected "at-large."
November 1998 — The U.S. and South Korea sign a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce.
November 25, 1998 — Department of Commerce enters into an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to establish a process for transitioning the Domain Name System from U.S. Government to industry management.
|“||If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things — using data they gathered without any help from us — we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost.||”|
1999 — A U.S. state court rules that domain names are property that may be garnished.
February 5, 1999 — The International Y2K Cooperation Center (IY2KCC) is established under the auspices of the United Nations and the World Bank to coordinate regional and sectoral efforts to address the Y2K problem.
June 1999 — ICANN and the Department of Commerce enter into a cooperative research and development agreement to study root server stability and security. The study is intended to result in a final report by September 2000.
July 1999 — President Clinton signs the Year 2000 Readiness and Responsibility Act, which limits the legal liability of companies that suffer problems, despite making good-faith efforts to fix their systems in advance of the date rollover.
- ↑ 42 U.S.C. §1862(g).