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News, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer, internet, communications and information technology sectors

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Tech Law Journal
Daily E-Mail Alert
Sept. 12, 2000
7:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 18.

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News Briefs

9/11. The FTC sent letters to the founders of the proposed Covisint automotive business to business (B2B) venture, stating that it has closed its investigation of whether Covisint violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act, and that its has terminated the waiting period under the Hart- Scott- Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. See, letter to GM, Ford and Daimler Crysler. The FTC sent similar letters to Renault, Nissan, CommerceOne and Oracle. See also, FTC release.
9/11. Rambus filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against two Hyundai companies alleging unlawful importation into the US, and sale in the US after importation, of Hyundai products covered covered by Rambus patents, in violation of §337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. See, Rambus release. Rambus also filed two lawsuits in France and Germany against Hyundai Electronics Industries alleging patent infringement. See, Rambus release. Rambus also filed two lawsuits in France and Germany against Micron alleging patent infringement. See, Rambus release. On Aug. 29, Hyundai filed a complaint alleging patent infringement against Rambus in U.S. District Court (N.D.Cal., San Jose). Micron filed a similar complaint on Aug. 28. Rambus, based in Mountain View, CA, designs and develops high bandwidth chip connection technologies that enable semiconductor memory devices to keep pace with faster generations of processors and controllers. Micron, based in Boise, Idaho, makes semiconductor memory products.
9/11. Media Metrix, a company which measures Internet audiences, released a report on the growth of both home and office users of the legally embattled Napster. The number of unique home users grew from 1.1 Million in February to 4.9 Million in July, a 345% increase. The number of unique office users grew from 417,000 in May to 887,000 in July. See, release.
9/11. The SIIA announced that actions taken against alleged Internet software pirates increased 235% over the year ending August 31. In that time, SIIA took action on 757 cases of pirates selling or distributing illegal software or technological information allowing the circumvention of copyright protection, compared to 226 actions the previous year. See, SIIA release.
9/11. The Urban Institute released a report on the e-rate. FCC Chairman Wm. Kennard issued a release in which he praised the report and called the e-rate a "spectacular success." See also, statement of FCC Commissioner Ness praising the report and the e-rate.
9/10. ICANN announced that its at large nominations period has concluded. Voting will run from Oct. 1-10. See, release.
9/8. The Senate Appropriations Committee filed its report to accompany HR 4690, a bill making appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary (CJS) for FY 2001. The bill includes appropriations for the USPTO, which has been a hotly debated issue this year. The USPTO is funded solely from user fees. Since 1990 an increasingly large amount of these have been diverted to pay for other government programs. The House bill diverts an estimated $295 Million. The House rejected by a vote of 145 to 223 an amendment offered by Rep. Coble on June 23 that would have restored $134 Million. The Senate committee version is now $1,038,732,000. The version passed by the House is $904,924,000. See, excerpts from of Senate Report No. 106-404 and HR 4690 RS pertaining to the USPTO.
9/8. Geoworks filed a complaint against, Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. of Japan, and Sanyo North America Corp. with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint alleges patent infringement, and seeks an order blocking importation into the US of Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) cellular telephones containing's microbrowser. At issue is Geoworks' U.S. Patent No. 5,327,529. See, Geoworks release. On April 25, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (N.D.Cal., S.F.) against Geoworks alleging that Geoworks' patent is invalid and unenforceable. On June 16 Geoworks counterclaimed for patent infringement. See also,'s release of April 25.
9/8. The BSA filed an amicus brief [PDF, 18 pages] with the U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) in Napster v. A&M Records, urging that the lower court be affirmed. Quote: "BSA recognizes that peer-to-peer technology is inherently a promising and positive technological development, and should not be condemned. At the same time, however, the courts have the authority -- and should exercise such authority -- to enjoin illegal uses of this or any other technology that undermine the statutory and constitutional protections afforded to copyrightholders, whether online or through other media. In this regard, the lower court’s decision was correct on the facts of this case and the applicable law, and should therefore be affirmed."
8/28. The IRS wrote a letter to ICANN in which it stated that ICANN is "exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3)."
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The dates indicate when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.
Breaking News

The Wall Street Journal reports in its web site that a GAO study (to be released later today) of 65 government web sites found that only 3% comply with the FTC's fair information practices. "One site that didn't meet the FTC standards was the FTC's." See, full story. (Subscription web site.)
House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and others will hold a press conference at 10:45 AM to publicly release the GAO report that was leaked to the WSJ.
New TLJ Stories

Committee Gives Failing Grades to Government Agencies on Computer Security. (9/12) The House Government Management Subcommittee held a hearing on the lack of security of government computer systems. Rep. Horn issued a "report card" on the performance of government agencies in which the average grade was a "D-."
New Documents

HR 4690 RS, excerpt pertaining to USPTO funding, 9/8 (HTML, TLJ).
Sen. Report No. 106-404, excerpt pertaining to USPTO funding, 9/8 (HTML, TLJ).
BSA: Amicus Brief, in Napster v. A&M Records, 9/8 (PDF, BSA).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated). Several hearings and mark ups have just been scheduled for latter this week. Relevant bills include:
• HR 4445, Reciprocal Compensation Adjustment Act;
• HR 4321, Antitrust Enforcement Improvements Act;
• HR 5018, Electronic Communications Privacy Act;
• HR 4908, Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act; and
• HR 4857, Privacy and Identity Protection Act.
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day

"The key to Napster's success is that its users represent the full spectrum of PC users, not just the youth with time on their hands and a passion for music." Bruce Ryon, SVP, Media Metrix. (Source.)

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