BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE: JULY 10, 2000 ISSUE

International -- Readers Report

If Mama or Papa Is Italian, Chances Are You're a Citizen (int'l edition)

''From bad to horrific in a Gypsy ghetto'' (Letter from Rome, June 19) describes the miserable living conditions of the Gypsies who came to Italy from the former Yugoslavia. The letter says that ''by law, even those born here are not guaranteed citizenship.''

One might conclude that there is a special Italian law that excludes Gypsy babies from Italian citizenship. Of course, this is not so: As a rule, in Italy, as in many other countries, citizenship depends on a person's parenthood, not place of birth.

Italian law provides that Italian citizenship is acquired at birth by the child of an Italian father or mother. Children born in Italy acquire Italian citizenship based on place of birth only if it is not known who their parents are, if the parents have no nationality, or if the parents' citizenship is not transmissible to their children in accordance with their national law.

Valerio Michetti
Milan



Indian Women Need Food and Education--Not Eyeliner (int'l edition)

In ''From the runway to runaway sales'' (Asian Business, June 19), you completely overlooked the effect the new demand for beauty products is having in this Third World country. India, with its huge population, high rate of illiteracy, and millions of desperately poor people, cannot afford to use beauty-product revenues to bolster its economy. In a male-dominated society, where youths work long hours for minimal pay in carpet factories and where young girls are sold into prostitution, women are in need of education--not lipstick. The women you say are going to exercise clubs and having cosmetic surgery are a tiny minority, not representative of the larger populace. Yet the implied message to all women is clear: If you are beautiful, your dreams will come true.

Instead of writing reports that excite Americans about new markets to conquer without considering the larger picture, Business Week should review industries that benefit all people--not just the privileged.

Becky S. Usry
Vancouver, Wash.



When Listening Is Illegal (int'l edition)

I can't believe you headed Mr. Ruikka's letter ''Just listening to music is no copyright infringement'' (Readers Report, June 19). Wrong, on all counts! The issue here is compensation of artists for their work. We have an elaborate series of mechanisms, of which copyright is just one, to make sure that an artist gets paid for public or private display or reproduction of his or her work. Every time you listened to music in the days before the arrival of the Internet, the artist got paid. The radio station that broadcast the work logged the transmission and sent a small fee to an industry body in charge of collecting royalties. That body would then distribute the cash to the artist. When you buy a CD, the manufacturer is charged a royalty fee.

Listeners are legally permitted to make copies of compact disks for their own personal use and enjoyment (for example, they can make cassettes for listening in their cars), but they may not by law take the CDs to a club and lend them to the deejay for a public performance.

If you find yourself listening to a piece of music that was reproduced without payment of the appropriate fee, then you are infringing the copyright of the artist--and the act of listening is illegal.

Long ago, we, the listening public, decided that artists should be compensated for the reproduction of their work. (Or maybe the artists had a strong pressure group in Washington and persuaded our lawmakers to pass copyright laws! At this point, it makes no difference.) The Internet is just another medium, like the radio airwaves or vinyl, that conveys music from artists to our ears.

If we want to listen to music without paying the royalty, then we should pressure our lawmakers to change the law--with the full understanding that there will be a lot more struggling, penniless artists. Few of them will be able to afford to continue making music for us.

On the other hand, the existing system of royalty collection is still available, and I have no idea why the appropriate bodies have not been pressuring Napster to collect a small royalty fee every time Napster ''facilitates'' the transmission of an audio file.

Why do we keep treating the Internet as a special case? It's just a few wires between users and servers. Just modify the existing royalty-collection process, and the copyright problem is solved.

The real problem is enforcement of illegal activity--especially when practiced by a large number of young people. But since when did teenagers obey every law?

Peter Thornton
Annapolis, Md.





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LETTERS:
If Mama or Papa Is Italian, Chances Are You're a Citizen (int'l edition)

Indian Women Need Food and Education--Not Eyeliner (int'l edition)

When Listening Is Illegal (int'l edition)

INTERACT
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