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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. 20, 2000
6:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 24.

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News Briefs

9/19. The Senate passed HR 4444, a bill to extend permanent normal trade relations status to China, by a vote of 83 to 15. The House passed the bill on May 24. Clinton has promised to sign it.
9/19. Joel Klein, Asst. Atty. Gen. for the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice announced that he will leave to DOJ at the end of September. Doug Malemed, the Principle Dep. Asst. A.G. for the Antitrust Division, will assume his responsibilities. Klein stated that "our work is on the right track." See, statements of Klein and Janet Reno and FTC Chairman Pitofsky.
9/19. The House passed three non-controversial copyright bills by voice vote: HR 4870, the Intellectual Property Technical Amendments Act of 2000, HR 5106, the Copyright Technical Corrections Act of 2000, and HR 5107, the Work Made For Hire and Copyright Corrections Act of 2000.
9/19. The House Judiciary Committee began a marathon mark up session. The long list of bills on the agenda includes HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000. The Committee only addressed one bill on Tuesday. The mark up session continues on Wed. Sept. 20 at 10 AM.
9/19. The House Banking Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy held a hearing titled "Future of Electronic Payments: Roadblocks and Emerging Practices." Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) presided. Witnesses testified regarding why electronic payments has not replaced traditional methods of payments, technologies for electronic payments, and protecting consumers. See, prepared testimony of:
Rep. Bachus.
Thomas Vartanian (Fried Frank).
James Van Dyke (Jupiter Comm.).
Elliott McEntee (NACHA)
Gary Craft (Deutsche Bank).
Jane Winn (SMU School of Law).
Richard Rahn (Novecon Financial).
Jacki Snyder (Food Marketing Inst.).
9/19. The Commission on Child Online Protection held the second session of a two day meeting.
9/19. NTIA held a day long conference on online privacy. Sec. of Commerce Norman Mineta said in the opening speech that "The Internet has been a central part of the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history. But we don't think this growth will continue unless both consumers and businesses are confident about their experiences on the Net. So, we see privacy as a make-or-break issue." He also endorsed the FTC approach to online privacy: "we need to be sure that all content providers satisfy the Fair Information Principles."
9/19. Forrester Research released a study that concludes that "music piracy using sites like Napster won't be stopped, either by digital rights management (DRM) or by lawsuits". See, release.
9/19. The FCC released a staff report [266 pages in PDF] as the first step in its statutory responsibility to conduct a biennial review of its regulations. 202(h) of the Telecom Act of 1996 requires that the FCC review its rules every two years and "determine whether any of such rules are necessary in the public interest as the result of competition." The FCC is also required to repeal or amend any regulations that are no longer in the public interest. The FCC stated in a press release that only after receiving public comment on the staff report will it issue a report identifying which, if any, regulations are no longer necessary. Comments are due by Oct. 10, and reply comments are due by Oct. 20. Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth wrote a separate statement in which he said that the FCC has not complied with the statute. He wrote: "The Act provides that the Commission 'shall review all regulations'" but that "today's report does not detail that review on a rule-by-rule basis".
9/19. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) sent a letter to members of Congress stating what bills it would like Congress to pass before it recesses early next month. The list includes extending PNTR status for China, increasing the cap on H1B visas, passage of the New Millennium Classrooms Act (expanding the availability of tax deductions to companies donating computers to schools), the Internet Tax Freedom Act (extending the moratorium on Internet taxes), permanently extending the R&D tax credit, and creating incentives to businesses that provide IT training to employees. See, ITAA release.
9/19. The CDT, Common Cause, and the Bertelsmann Foundation opened a web site with information about the At-Large Membership candidates for the ICANN's Board of Directors. The election is next month.
9/19. Microsoft stated that it filed three complaints in U.S. District Court (WDPa) against software vendors in the Pittsburgh area. The complaints allege distribution of counterfeit software. See, MSFT release.
9/14. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) taking issue with the amicus curiae brief filed by the U.S. in Napster v. A&M Records on Sept. 11. The Copyright Office, which is an agency of the legislative branch, joined in that brief. Sen. Hatch, who is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote that "I thought it important that the Court be under no misapprehension that the brief necessarily expresses the views of the Congress in this matter. Indeed Congress has recently held hearings into the matter and is engaged in ongoing deliberations about it merits as the events unfold in the emerging online music and entertainment market." The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in July on copying of music files on the Internet. See, TLJ story of July 12.
9/14. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman (DDC) entered an injunction against two individuals who set up a company named American Telephone and Telecommunications Corporation (ATTC) which purported to provide Internet telephony services. The SEC filed its civil complaint against Wendell Carter and Paul Carter on Oct. 27, 1999, in which it alleged violation of 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, by selling to the public ATTC stock and joint venture interests in a series of fraudulent offerings targeted mainly to Washington DC area residents. [Case No. 99-2848] See, SEC release.
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.
New Documents

Mineta: Speech re online privacy, 9/19 (HTML, DOC).
FCC: Staff Report re biennial review of rules, 9/18 (PDF, FCC).
HCC: HR 4445, the Reciprocal Compensation Adjustment Act of 2000, as amended and adopted by the House Telecom Subcommittee, 9/18 (PDF, HCC).
Hatch: Letter to U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) re Napster case, 9/14 (HTML, TLJ).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day

"Businesses in the US today face hard choices with regard to electronic payments technologies: whether to give up older systems that are cheap and efficient to operate and still meet most of their needs, or to adopt newer systems that are expensive and risky. Most market participants will resist giving up their current systems until they feel certain what will be the new standard for the next generation of electronic payment technologies. At this time, it is difficult to predict what technologies will become the new standard." Prof. Jane Winn, testimony before the House Banking Committee, Sept. 19.

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