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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. 21, 2000
7:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 25.

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News Briefs

9/20. The House Judiciary Committee began its markup of HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000, sponsored by Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL). On Sept. 14 the Constitution Subcommittee approved an amended version of the bill. On Sept. 20 Rep. Canady offered a lengthy amendment to the subcommittee version of the bill which limits some of the privacy protections, and gives new powers to law enforcement authorities regarding computer crimes, and other matters. The Committee debated at length, but postponed further consideration until Tuesday, Sept. 26. At least six other amendments were still pending as of adjournment of the mark up. This appears to be the beginning of a long and complex legislative process that will carry over into the next Congress.
9/20. The SEC brought and settled civil fraud charges against Jonathan Lebed, age 15, for using the Internet to conduct a series of stock manipulation schemes involving fraud and touting. On 11 occasions young Lebed purchased thinly traded microcap stocks, then sent e-mail messages, primarily to various Yahoo! Finance message boards, regarding the stock, and then sold his shares. On several occasions the punk placed a sell limit order before the market closed on the day he purchased the stock to ensure that he would not miss the price increase of the stock while he was in school the next day. Under the settlement, he will disgorge his illegal profits: $272,826. This is the first time the SEC has brought charges against a minor. See, SEC release.
9/20. The Supreme Court of the U.S. now has an online docket system that can be searched by the lower court docket number, the Supreme Court docket number, or names of the parties.
9/20. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Privacy International released a 3rd annual Privacy and Human Rights survey. The report reviews the state of privacy in over fifty countries.
9/19. Unique Broadband Systems (UBS), a Canadian manufacturer of broadband wireless products, filed suit against Pixstream for breach of contract in connection with an alleged misappropriation of its digital video technology. UBS is based in Concord, Ontario, and is represented by the law firm of Lenczner Slaght. Pixstream, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, develops and manufactures hardware and software products that enable network service providers and enterprises to distribute and manage digital video. Cisco announced on Aug. 31 that it will buy Pixstream. See, Cisco release.
9/14. U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner gave an address titled Antitrust in the New Economy. He covered application of antitrust law and economics to intellectual property based technology companies of the New Economy (which he defined as software producers, communications services and equipment providers, and Internet access, service, and content providers). He stated that "antitrust doctrine is supple enough, and its commitment to economic rationality strong enough, to take in stride the competitive issues presented by the new economy." However, he also recommended that the DOJ Antitrust Division and FTC need more funding, and that the states should not be allowed to bring antitrust suits. See, Quote of the Day.
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 Washington Post appears to have acquired another leaked FCC AOL-TW document. It reports in its Thursday edition that "A draft order within the Federal Communications Commission recommends the agency approve the $183 billion merger of America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc., provided the companies make legally binding their pledge to allow rival providers of high-speed Internet access to reach customers over their cable television systems." Full story.
New Documents

Canady: Amendment to HR 5018 (pending), 9/20 (HTML, TLJ).
Canady: Statement re amendment to HR 5018, 9/20 (HTML, TLJ).
HJC/CS: HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, as adopted by the Constitution Subcommittee, 9/14 (HTML, TLJ).
Posner: Address titled "Antitrust in the New Economy," 9/14 (HTML, TLJ).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Summary of HR 5018, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000 (new page).
Quote of the Day

"I would like to see, first, the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission given the necessary appropriations to enable each of these agencies to hire a competent technical staff—which won’t be easy, given the salaries that competent new-economy scientists and engineers command in the private market. And I would like to see the states forbidden to bring antitrust suits except under circumstances in which a private firm would be able to sue, as where the state is suing firms that are fixing the prices of goods or services that they sell to the state. States do not have the resources to do more than free ride on federal antitrust litigation, complicating its resolution; in addition they are too subject to influence by interest groups that may represent a potential antitrust defendant’s competitors." Judge Richard Posner, 9/14 (source).

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