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THE US House of Representatives approved landmark legislation last week intended to protect online copyright and outlaw technology used for piracy. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act outlines criminal penalties for anyone who breaks anti-piracy technology, such as encryption. The bill also forbids the manufacture, import, sale or distribution of devices or services used for such circumvention. Those found guilty could be fined up to $2,500 for illegally cracking copyright protection. A variety of "fair use" exceptions were written into the bill to protect the interests of academics, scientists and libraries. The bill also protects Internet service providers from being held liable for the copyright infringements of their customers.

BAFTA LAST week announced the nominations for its Interactive Entertainment Awards, sponsored by ICL. The Comedy Award: Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic, MindGym, You Don't Know Jack. The News and Magazine Award: BBC News Online,, Electronic Telegraph. The Factual Award: Guide to the Birds of Europe, RedShift 3, The Games Award: GoldenEye 007, Oddworld: Abe's Exodus, V2000. The Children's Award: Live & Kicking Show Maker, My Amazing Human Body, Star Wars Droidworks. The Learning Award: D-Code, Lifting the Weight, Oscar the Balloonist Discovers. The Moving Images Award: Ceremony of Innocence, Oceans of Innovation, Riven. The Sound Award: Ceremony of Innocence, Riven, You Don't Know Jack. The Interactive Treatment Award: Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic, Microsoft ActiMates, StageStruck. The Design Award:, Riven, ShiftControl. The Computer Programming Award: Gran Turismo, Motorhead, Unreal. The awards will be presented at a ceremony held on 29 October at the Intercontinental Hotel in London.

AMD PREVIEWED its next-generation K7 chip at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California, last week. The K7, with no secondary cache included, will run at 500MHz when it is released midway through next year and is expected to reach 1GHz by 2000. The chip uses a new 200MHz system bus that can be pushed up to 400MHz, according to the company. The bus, however, is not pin-compatible with existing Pentium architecture, which means that motherboard manufacturers will have to re-engineer boards to use the new chip. At the same forum, Intel outlined details of its 64-bit Merced chips, running at 1GHz, and due to be released in the middle of 2000. As well as a new instruction set, the chip will use a new cache memory architecture that consists of three levels, instead of the two used in Pentium II chips.