|Oct. 12, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 40.
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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
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
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
Brief for appellant (150 pages max.) Nov. 27, 2000
Brief(s) for amici in support of appellant (25 pages each) Nov.
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.
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
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
Chris Cox (R-CA) advocated a system based upon giving
individuals a property right in their personal information. See
also, prepared statements of witnesses:
Baker (Commerc Dept.)
Aftab (Darby & Darby).
Griffiths (Match Logic).
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. Chipshot.com filed a
Chapter 11 petition in U.S
Bankruptcy Court (NDCa).
10/3. The Childrens 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
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.
re briefing schedule in Microsoft antitrust case, 10/11 (USDC, PDF).
re FCC's delay of its AOL TW antitrust merger review proceeding,
10/11 (FCC, PDF).
re digital divide, 10/11 (PDF, CFA).
|New and Updated Sections
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