Congress has given final approval to two bills by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to better protect biologists and recording artists from pirating of their work.
The House passed both Senate-approved bills this week, and now sends them to President Clinton for signature into law.One bill - the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act - extends copyright protection to music distributed in computer cyberspace, where music can be delivered without the need of tapes or compact discs.
"It is important that the creators of America's music - whether they compose the score, write the lyrics, sing the songs or produce the recordings - be fairly and equitably compensated for the public performances that result. For too long, they have not been," Hatch said.
The other bill - the Biotechnology Patent Protection Act - clarifies that patents in biotechnology extend to the process used in making products if it begins with a patentable starting product.
Examples of products that might be affected include insulin, human growth hormone, home pregnancy kits and the Hepatitis B vaccine.
"This bill is one of the most important bills for American inventors involved in cutting-edge research," Hatch said, adding it will "promote and protect investment in biotechnology research and discourage foreign piracy of U.S. intellectual property."