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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. 12, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 40.

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News Briefs

10/11. The European Commission approved the merger of AOL and Time Warner after AOL offered to sever all structural links with German media group Bertelsmann AG. See, EU release. European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti had this to say: "The Commission has a duty to prevent creation of dominant positions in all sectors, be they in the old or new economy. In a music market already characterized by a high degree of consolidation, the danger, which has been averted, was that by allowing AOL to team up effectively with three of the five music majors the resulting integrated company could have dominated the on-line music distribution market and music players."
10/11. FCC General Counsel Chris Wright sent a letter [PDF] to AOL and Time Warner stating that the FCC is delaying its consideration of the AOL Time Warner merger. The FCC will delay its proceeding until the FTC, the agency that has statutory authority to conduct a merger review proceeding, has completed its review. "We are today stopping the clock" said Wright. "Once the Federal Trade Commission has acted, we will promptly publish an anticipated timeline for FCC action."
10/11. The Senate passed HR 3244 by a vote of 95 to 0. This is a crime bill; however, Section 2004 is the Twenty First Amendment Enforcement Act (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. See also, TLJ Summary of Bills Affecting Internet Alcohol Sales.
10/11. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its order [PDF] setting the briefing schedule in the Microsoft antitrust case:
• Brief for appellant (150 pages max.) Nov. 27, 2000
• Brief(s) for amici in support of appellant (25 pages each) Nov. 27, 2000
• Brief for U.S. (125 pages) Jan. 12, 2001
• Joint brief for the state appellees (25 pages) Jan. 12, 2001
• Brief(s) for amici in support of appellees (25 pages each) Jan. 12, 2001
• Reply brief for appellant (75 pages) Jan. 29, 2001
• Joint appendix Jan. 29, 2001
• Final briefs Feb. 9, 2001
10/11. The Census Bureau released data that shows that state government tax revenues increased 5% from 1998 to 1999. See, release. Also, the data shows that General Sales and Gross Receipts taxes increased from $156,061,702 to $165,717,430. Opponents of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which imposed a temporary moratorium on new discriminatory taxes on the Internet, asserted that states would lose sales tax revenues.
10/11. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a panel discussion titled "Trade Policy and the Presidential Election." Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) stated that a major difference between Gore and Bush is that Gore wants fast track authority to include labor and environmental issues, while Bush want fast track authority without these social issues. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) stated that Republicans tend to believe that "you should not try to shape globalization -- it will shape itself," while Democrats, including Gore, tend to believe that "you have to shape globalization -- problems will not solve themselves" and this includes "labor and environmental issues." Ira Shapiro, a former General Counsel of the USTR, stated that the Clinton/Gore administration has a strong record on free trade. He cited NAFTA, the Uruguay Round, PNTR for China, and the telecom agreement as its major accomplishments. The AEI moderator asked why, if labor and environmental issues are not a part of the WTO process, intellectual property rights should not also be excluded. "IPR are traded items," said Mike Smith, a USTR negotiator from 1979 through 1988. "Human rights are not traded items." Rep. Kolbe added: "there is something about IP that is ... much more trade related than a much broader social agenda."
10/11. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee held a hearing on online privacy. Several members stated that no more privacy bills will pass in the 106th Congress, but that this will be an important issue in the next Congress. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) criticized the privacy practices of federal government web sites. See, statement. House Internet Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) stated that he would be part of a "working group" that will work with other Representatives and Senators, government officials, and companies and groups, to develop new privacy legislation before the 107th Congress meets in January. Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) advocated a system based upon giving individuals a property right in their personal information. See also, prepared statements of witnesses:
• Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
• Clay Shaw (R-FL).
• Sally Katzen (OMB).
• Linda Koontz (GAO).
• Roger Baker (Commerc Dept.)
• Robert Pitofsky (FTC).
• Larry Chiang (
• Glee Cady (Privada).
• Parry Aftab (Darby & Darby).
• Mike Griffiths (Match Logic).
• Andrew Shen (EPIC)
10/11. The Consumer Federation of America and the Consumers Union (CU) released a "digital divide" report [34 pages in PDF] titled "Disconnected, Disadvantaged, and Disenfranchised." It states that "the 'digital divide' that separates those Americans connected to the Internet from those who are not persists and is not likely to disappear any time soon." In a release accompanying the report, CU chief Gene Kimmelman stated that "We should direct tax dollars or subsidies to the people who cannot afford technology ..."
10/11. filed a Chapter 11 petition in U.S Bankruptcy Court (NDCa).
10/3. The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus announced that the Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG), a division of the Walt Disney Company, created "a mechanism by which all children under 13, even those who have permission to chat, will be prevented from entering any unmoderated WDIG chat rooms." See, CARU release. The Congress passed the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in late 1998; the Act went into effect in April. The Act prevents web site operators for collecting personal information from children without parental consent.
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 FCC holds a Commission meeting on Thursday. The agenda includes issuing rules that might give telecom and Internet service providers forced access to the rooftops and other property of apartment building owners. This action could lead to a 5th Amendment takings clause court challenge.
New Documents

USCA: order re briefing schedule in Microsoft antitrust case, 10/11 (USDC, PDF).
FCC: letter re FCC's delay of its AOL TW antitrust merger review proceeding, 10/11 (FCC, PDF).
CFA/CU: report re digital divide, 10/11 (PDF, CFA).
New and Updated Sections

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

"A consumer's purchasing patterns and online behavior is valuable information to marketers, and I believe that consumers should have the right to control that information or be compensated for giving such personal information to business."

Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Telecom Subcommittee.

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