|Oct. 5, 2000
7:45 AM ET.
Alert No. 35.
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10/4. The FCC issued an Order
[PDF] suspending its "political editorial and personal
attack" rules for 60 days. The order, which also asks for
broadcasters to submit information regarding the rules, is the FCC's
latest action in this ancient proceeding
regarding the regulation of political speech of broadcasters. The
rules require broadcasters to give free air time to if they make
campaign endorsements or personal attacks. Broadcasters do not like
the rule, and have challenged its constitutionality. On Aug. 3,
1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued
in the RTNDA
case. The Court ruled that "Without a clear
explanation for the rules, the court is not in a position to review
whether they continue to serve the public interest, and whether they
burden First Amendment interests too severely. The court, therefore,
cannot affirm the FCC's order, but neither can it conclude that the
FCC could not on remand justify the rules consistently with
principles of administrative law. Accordingly, rather than enjoining
enforcement of existing rules that the FCC might be able to justify,
we must remand the case for the FCC to further explain its decision
not to repeal or modify them." The FCC then did nothing for 14
months. Now it asks for more information. FCC Commissioners Tristani
and Ness support the rules. Commissioner Powell
wrote a scathing dissent which attacked both the delaying tactics of
the FCC, and the underlying merits of the rules. (His dissent is
attached to the FCC Order). Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth
also wrote a vigorous dissent.
10/4. The COPA Commission
held the first of two days public meetings to write its report to
Congress. The COPA Commission is a congressionally appointed panel
mandated by the Child Online Protection Act to write a report that
identifies "technological or other methods that will help
reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the
10/4. The CATO Institute hosted a
panel discussion titled "Will the FSC
Dispute Ignite a Transatlantic Trade War?" The speakers were Rep. Phil English (R-PA),
John Richardson (European Commission), Willard Berry (European
American Business Council), and Gary Hufbauer (Institute for
International Economics). Richardson condemned the FSC (which the WTO
found to be an illegal export subsidy), and its replacement, HR
4986 (which has passed the House, but not the Senate). Rep.
English and Hufbauer defended U.S. tax policy. The FSC
benefits U.S. companies that sell products abroad, such as
Microsoft. If a retaliatory trade war occurs, U.S. high tech
companies may be targeted by the EU.
10/4. The U.S. District Court (DUt) awarded Novell over $2 Million in damages
from Myung Je. Novell filed a complaint against Myung Je, a Korean
company, in May 1998, alleging breach of its OEM agreement
with Novell, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement.
10/4. Alan Fried filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the U.S.
In 1996 Fried started radio broadcasting dance music in Minneapolis
at 20 watts. He had no FCC license. The FCC seized his equipment.
The FCC recently adopted rules for the licensing of low power FM
stations. However, as a prior unlicensed broadcaster, Fried is
ineligible. Also, the House has passed a bill limiting the FCC's
authority to issue low power FM licenses. That bill is pending in
the Senate. Fried raises First Amendment and other Constitutional
issues. He is represented by the Institute
for Justice. See, release.
10/4. John Nannes was named Acting Principal Deputy Assistant
Attorney General for the Antitrust
Division. He replaces Doug Melamed, who moved up to
Acting Assistant Attorney General after Joel Klein's
departure. Nannes went to work at the DOJ in 1998; he previously was
a partner in the law office of Skadden
Arps. See, DOJ
release. Jeff Blattner, in turn, was named a Deputy
Assistant Attorney General. He is a former political aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
who was brought into the Antitrust Division to work on Microsoft
matters. See, DOJ
10/4. The Kansas Corporation
Commission approved Southwestern
Bell’s request to offer long distance service in Kansas. See
10/4. MP3.com, a company which has
been sued for copyright infringement, hired Luntz Research
Cos. to conduct a poll of Internet users regarding copying music
files on the Internet. The poll found that Internet users support
positions taken by MP3.com. See, release.
9/29. The SEC filed a
complaint in U.S. District Court (DC) against Intelligent
Decision Systems, Inc. (IDSI) for failing to file periodic reports
with the SEC. IDSI, which markets and leases computer systems,
failed to filed 10-K Annual Reports for the fiscal years ended June
30, 1998, 1999 and 2000, as well as 10-Q Quarterly Reports for the
fiscal quarters ended Sept. 30, 1998, Dec. 31, 1998, March 31, 1999,
Sept. 30, 1999, Dec. 31, 1999 and March 31, 2000. The complaint
seeks an order compelling IDSI to make the required filings. (Civil
No. 1:00-CV-02341.) See, release.
9/29. U.S. District Court Judge Leonnie
entered a preliminary injunction order against Tutornet.com Group,
and its President, Euburn Forde. On Aug. 29, the SEC filed a
complaint which alleged that defendants made false and misleading
statements in 8-K Forms in violation of § 17(a) of the Securities
Act of 1933, § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and
Rule 10b-5. The complaint alleged that defendants falsely stated
that Tutornet was in the process of co-branding with AOL. The order
also sets Oct. 10 as the hearing date for the SEC's request for a
permanent injunction and imposition of civil penalties. (Civil
Action No. 00-1472-A.) See, release.
9/27. The SEC instituted an
administrative cease and desist proceeding against YourBankOnline.com
and its President, Pakie Plastino. The SEC alleges that they made
fraudulent statements about the company's banking software and its
financial strength. See, SEC release.
9/25. The SEC instituted an
administrative cease and desist proceeding against MainStreetIPO.com, and its
President, Joseph Salvani, alleging that they are attempting to
induce the purchase or sale of securities and to effect transactions
in securities on behalf of others without registering as a broker,
in violation of § 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
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
re political editorial and personal attack rules for broadcasters,
10/4 (PDF, FCC)
to FCC order, 10/4 (HTML, FCC).
|New and Updated Sections
from Around the Web (updated daily).
|Quote of the Day
"A speaker excluded from a broadcast license may be able to
find a voice on cable television, direct broadcast satellite
("DBS"), or the Internet. Similarly, an excluded would-be
licensee is not captive to the messages spewed by those fortunate
enough to obtain a broadcast license if he can access other ideas
from other media outlet. The Majority seems to prefer the view that
content regulation is permissible so long as the demand for
broadcast spectrum exceeds supply (i.e., allocational
scarcity). Of course, because all economic resources are scarce by
definition, because demand will always exceed supply where a
resource is offered for free, and because the Commission controls
the supply, this view assures, for time immemorial, that the
government will be able to tread more deeply on broadcast speech. I
believe this approach is not only intellectually flawed but
dangerous, for having the government empowered forever to direct the
content of broadcast messages, regardless of the plethora of other
messages available to the public, is itself constitutionally
(dissent to FCC Order)