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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
Oct. 9, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 37.

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News Briefs

10/6. The House passed the conference report on HR 3244 (House Report 106-939), the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, by a vote of 371-1. Section 2004 of this bill is the Twenty First Amendment Enforcement Act, which, before being added to this crime bill, was introduced as stand alone bills (HR 2031 and S 577). It allows state attorney generals to bring suits in U.S. District Court to enforce state alcohol laws. It is also known as the Internet alcohol sales bill. The bill is supported by liquor distributors who seek to limit competition from Internet sales, and some states which seek to collect taxes on all alcohol sales. Supporters describe the bill as a measure to limit the sale of alcohol to minors over the Internet. California wineries opposed the bill. See also, TLJ Summary of Bills Affecting Internet Alcohol Sales.
10/6. The House passed HR 5362, a bill to raise fees for H1B visas from $500 to $1,000, except for certain educational and non-profit employers. Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) said that "this bill adds the final piece to the H-1B legislation that we passed earlier this week. There is widespread consensus that the $500 fee for an H-1B visa application should be increased. The money collected in fees goes toward job training for American workers and scholarships for American students studying math and science. These programs will provide the long-term solution to the shortage of information technology workers plaguing our economy." This bill was passed pursuant to an agreement reached for passage of the bill increasing the annual cap on the number of H1B visas earlier in the week. (U.S.C.) See also, TLJ Summary of High Tech Worker Visa Bills.
10/6. The House Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Information, and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing titled "Oversight Hearing on the Management Practices of the Federal Communications Commission: The Chairman Reports." See, prepared statements of Walker Feaster (FCC Inspector General), Adam Thierer (Heritage Foundation), Jeffery Eisenach (The Progress & Freedom Foundation), and William Kennard (FCC Chairman). Thierer and Eisenach criticized the FCC for its over regulation, increasing budgets, and exercise of powers not delegated to it by statute.
10/6. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee held a hearing titled "Part II: The Future of the Interactive Television Services Marketplace: What Should Consumers Expect?"
10/6. A report [PDF] released by states that the White House for Kids web site violates federal privacy policy. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires web site operators to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children, was enacted into law in late 1998. On June 22, the OMB issued a Memorandum that directs that all government web sites, and their contractors, should also comply with the standards contained in the COPPA. The report also argues that the COPPA is "overly prescriptive", that "government privacy regulations will carry substantial burdens and have unintended consequences", that "governments, as the biggest collectors and users of personal information, are not good stewards of privacy", and that "loss of privacy is one price of big government".
10/6. The Navy and Marine Corps announced the award of an Intranet contract to EDS. The contract is valued at more than $6.9 Billion over eight years. See, EDS release and Navy release.
10/6. Fox News and announced that they settled the lawsuit Fox News commenced against concerning's television program that ran on the Fox News. See, release.
10/6. Freei Networks Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Western District of Washington.
10/6. Rambus, which is involved in a patent dispute with Hyundai, made three announcements. (1) Rambus filed a motion for a change of venue in Hyundai's patent suit, from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California at San Jose, to the Eastern District of Virginia at Alexandria. (2) Rambus will file a counterclaim for patent infringement. (3) Rambus filed a motion to dismiss its complaint with the USITC. See, Rambus release. Hyundai filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on Aug. 29 alleging that certain Rambus patents are invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed by any Hyundai products. See, Hyundai release of Aug. 29.
10/6. The USITC instituted an investigation of certain SDRAM devices and modules used in computers and other electronic devices. Rambus filed a complaint on Sept. 11, 2000, and supplemented it on Sept. 26, which alleges violation of § 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 for the importation into the U.S., and sale within the U.S., of SDRAM products that infringe U.S. patents owned by Rambus. Rambus requested that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order. The case has been assigned to ITC administrative law judge Sidney Harris. (Inv. No. 337-TA-437) See, ITC release.
10/5. Several intellectual property and technology groups, including the AIPLA, IPO, INTA, BSA, and ITAA, sent a letter to OMB Director Jacob Lew urging the Clinton administration to support USPTO funding at least at the level contained in the Senate's appropriations bill for Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary (CJS) for FY2001. The Congress has not yet passed the CJS appropriations bill. The administration has long supported diverting some fees collected by the USPTO to fund other government programs. Intellectual property groups, and Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), have advocated ending this diversion. The Senate bill diverts only $33 Million. The House version diverts an additional $267 Million. For background, see, TLJ stories regarding House CIP Subcommittee action (March 26), House vote on Coble amendment (June 25), analysis of vote on Coble amendment (June 25),and Senate Appropriations Committee action (July 19).
10/5. The SEC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCa) against Walter Königseder, formerly a VP of Informix. The SEC alleges that Königseder aided and abetted Informix's material overstatement of quarterly and annual revenue and earnings in 1996, and further, that he lied about his knowledge of, and involvement in, the transactions. The complaint alleges violation of antifraud, reporting, record-keeping, and internal control provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and seeks injunctive relief. The SEC also announced that its investigation is continuing. See, SEC release.
10/5. The U.S. Attorney (NDCa) obtained a criminal indictment of Königseder for wire fraud and criminal securities violations.
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

IP groups: letter to OMB Director Lew re funding for the USPTO, 10/5 (HTML, IPO). report on COPPA and the White House Web Site for Kids, 10/6 (PDF, privacilla).
New and Updated Sections

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

"It is very important for us to recognize that while just 2 days ago we were able to pass legislation which does bring about that increase to 195,000 the number of H-1B visas, it is important for us to realize the long-term solution is to do exactly what my friend from Michigan [Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)] has said, focus on scholarships for the National Science Foundation, increase math and science education at the K through 12 level, and realize that if we are going to have a workforce that is going to be globally competitive, we must have them trained and educated here in the United States. Until that time, we have increased the H-1B visa level."

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), sponsor of HR 5362.

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