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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. 22, 2000
7:30 AM ET.
Alert No. 26.

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News Briefs

9/21. The FCC released a statement regarding a Washington Post story that an FCC draft document recommended that the FCC approve the AOL Time Warner merger with an open access condition. The story stated: "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." The FCC statement said: "The FCC staff is engaged in ongoing analysis and review of the proposed AOL/Time Warner merger transaction and has made no recommendations to the full Commission on the matter. Any media stories about potential staff recommendations or draft reports can only be based on incomplete and speculative analysis and do not accurately reflect the decision-making process at the FCC. ..." See also, the FCC Cable Services Bureau's AOL-TW merger web page.
9/21. The Department of Justice announced that a 16 year old plead guilty to, and was sentenced for, two counts of juvenile delinquency in U.S. District Court (SDFl). He intruded into computer networks of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He also installed a backdoor on a DTRA server which intercepted electronic messages to and from DTRA staff, and user names and passwords of computer accounts of DTRA employees. He was sentenced to serve six months in a detention facility. See, DOJ release.
9/21. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court (DDel) approved Time Warner Telecom's purchase of substantially all of the assets of GST Communications for $690 Million. The assets to be acquired include over 4,200 miles of local and regional fiber networks in the western US, a network operations center in Vancouver, Washington, SS7 networks, and voice and data switches. See, TW release. GST filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 17. An auction was held on Aug. 22-25. Time Warner Telecom, which is based in Littleton, Colo., builds local and regional optical networks and delivers last-mile broadband data, Internet access and voice for businesses. The transaction still requires telecom regulatory approvals.
9/21. Xircom filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (CDCa) against 3Com alleging patent infringement in connection with PC cards. Xircom, which is based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., designs and develops communications access cards that connect mobile PCs to corporate networks, the Internet, and intranets, including its RealPort PC cards. 3Com, based in Santa Clara, Calif., makes similar products, including its Type III PC Cards. 3Com filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DUt) against Xircom in May.
9/21. Lernout & Hauspie confirmed that SEC is conducting an investigation of its prior financial statements, and stated that it is cooperating fully in the investigation. The company makes speech and language products, including speech recognition, text to speech, and translation software. See, LH release.
9/21. California Gov. Gray Davis announced an eGovernment initiative, which includes:
  an Executive Order requiring state agencies and departments to make it easier to receive services on the Internet, including fishing and hunting licenses, and DMV appointments.
  establishment of a Governors eGovernment Business Advisory Council.
  naming Arun Baheti as Calif. Director of eGovernment.
See, release.
9/21. Bill Clinton and FCC Commissioner Susan Ness campaigned in Flint, Mich. Clinton gave a speech in which he said: "Now, for nearly eight years now, the Vice President and I have worked to break down barriers that hold people back. One of the most important things we did was to fight hard in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to insist that people with disabilities have full access to telephone equipment and service that most people take for granted. And one of our Federal Communications Commissioners, Susan Ness, is here with me today. I thank her and I thank all of those who helped us to fight for the rights of disabled Americans in the Telecommunications Act of 1996." He also stated that "Millions of other people with disabilities can also access and use the information super highway if we build the necessary on ramps."
9/21. Bill Clinton announced his intent to nominate Daniel Burnham as Chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). He is the Chairman and CEO of Raytheon. See, White House release.
9/20. California Gov. Gray Davis signed SB 88 [PDF], sponsored by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto). This bill exempts computer software employees engaged in intellectual or creative work and whose hourly rate of pay is at least $41.00, from the provisions of the overtime pay requirements contained in the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission Orders. See also, Davis release.
9/20. The Senate Commerce Committee passed S 2454, the Low Power Television Pilot Project Digital Data Services Act, by a voice vote. This bill, is sponsored by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), and would establish 10 pilot projects to provide for two way digital data services by low power television stations, and grant the FCC authority to promulgate regulations. See, release.
9/20. The Senate Commerce Committee passed S 2029, the Know Your Caller Act. This bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), would amend 227 of the Communications Act to prevent telemarketers from taking any actions to block their name and telephone number from registering on Caller ID displays. See, release. The House Commerce Committee adopted its version of the Know Your Caller Act, HR 3100, on Sept. 14; it issued its Report (H. Rept. 106-872) on Sept. 20.
9/20. The Senate Finance Committee reported HR 4986, with amendments on Sept. 19. It issued its report on Sept. 20. The bill would repeal the provisions of the tax code relating to foreign sales corporations (FSCs) (which the WTO found to constitute an illegal export subsidy), and to instead exclude extraterritorial income from gross income. See, Rept. No. 106-416. The House passed its version of HR 4986 on Sept. 13.
9/19. The law firm of Milberg Weiss filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDCa) against MP3.com, its CEO Michael Robertson, and others, alleging fraud in violation of 10b of the Securities Exchange Act, and Rule 10b5 thereunder. The complaint seeks class action status. Milberg Weiss is San Diego based law firm that specializes in bringing class action 10b5 suits against technology companies when their stock prices drop.
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

SCC: S 2454 RS, the Low Power Television Pilot Project Digital Data Services Act, 9/20 (HTML, TLJ).
HCC: H. Rept. 106-872, re Know Your Caller Act, 9/20 (HTML, LOC).
MWBHL: Complaint in Ivanoff v. MP3.com, 9/19 (HTML, MWBHL).
Calif. SB 88, re overtime pay exemption for highly paid high tech workers, (PDF, Calif. Sen.).
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Quote of the Day

"At many times, it seemed that the majority was more interested in casting blame upon Democrats than in actually passing legislation. Instead of working in good faith with the minority to bring this bill to the floor, the majority spent its time trying to convince leaders in the information technology industry that the Democratic Party is hostile to this bill and that only Republicans are interested in solving the legitimate employment shortages faced by many sectors of American industry." Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), on S 2045, a bill to increase the annual cap on H1B visas, to which Democrats have insisted on attaching unrelated immigration provisions, Sept. 20.
 

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