National Information Infrastructure

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The National Information Infrastructure (NII) was the product of the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. It was a telecommunications policy buzzword, which was popularized during the Clinton Administration under the leadership of Vice-President Al Gore. It was a proposed, advanced, seamless web of public and private communications networks, interactive services, interoperable hardware and software, computers, databases, and consumer electronics to put vast amounts of information at users' fingertips.

A side-effect of the Clinton Administration programs to build the NII was a push by cultural industries to expand the scope of copyright. This led to the creation of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It was also used by the patent industry in order to widen the scope of patentability.

NII includes more than just the physical facilities (more than the cameras, scanners, keyboards, telephones, fax machines, computers, switches, compact disks, video and audio tape, cable, wire, satellites, optical fiber transmission lines, microwave nets, switches, televisions, monitors, and printers) used to transmit, store, process, and display voice, data, and images; it encompasses a wide range of interactive functions, user-tailored services, and multimedia databases that are interconnected in a technology-neutral manner that will favor no one industry over any other.

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