Tech Law Journal
Daily E-Mail Alert
Nov. 1, 2000
8:00 AM ET.
Alert No. 54.

TLJ Home Page
News from the Web
Tech Law Journal is a free access online publication that provides news, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer and Internet industry.

This email service is offered free of charge to anyone who requests it.

Contact TLJ:
P.O. Box 15186, Washington DC, 20003.

Notices & Disclaimers

Privacy Policy

Copyright 1998 - 2000 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.
News Briefs

10/31. Bertelsmann and Napster announced the formation of a "strategic alliance." The Napster music file copying system will be developed into a "secure membership- based service" which provides "payments to rightsholders, including recording artists, songwriters, recording companies and music publishers." Bertelsmann will loan money to Napster for this purpose, obtain equity in Napster, and upon implementation, dismiss its legal claims against Napster. See, Napster release and Bertelsmann release. Hillary Rosen, CEO of the RIAA, had this to say: "Today's announcement ... makes clear that Napster has come to the same conclusion we have been urging from the start: that it is better to work with the creative community than against it. This is a welcome development. We welcome anyone's decision to become a legitimate player in the online music industry, building a business based on licensed uses of copyrighted works." However, Rosen added that this "does not bring an end to the court case. There are multiple plaintiffs in addition to BMG; and BMG itself has said that it won't withdraw its complaint against Napster until they actually implement a legitimate business model."
10/31. WTO Director General Mike Moore gave a speech on e-commerce and GATS in Geneva. He stated that "We are not in the business of regulating the Internet and we never shall be. The huge potential of electronic commerce may be yet stifled by over-regulation and interference by governments. But if that happens, it will be despite, not because of, the WTO." He also discussed the WTO agreement on trade in services, or GATS. He stated that "it contains the disciplines which guarantee the right to do international business electronically. As far as international trade is concerned, electronic commerce essentially means two things. First, it is an important channel for retailing and wholesaling goods and services. Rights to provide retail and wholesale distribution are covered by the GATS. Second, and probably more important, electronic commerce is the delivery of services direct to the consumer in the form of digitised information. The GATS covers the delivery of services by any means, including electronic." Moore spoke at the ITC Briefing Session on E-Commerce. See also, agenda.
10/31. The FTC and other government agencies held another in a series of press conferences to announce their latest actions against persons and entities engaging in fraud on the Internet. See, FTC release.
10/31. The FCC issued a press release about its bi-annual report on the deployment of high-speed Internet services in the U.S. It states that "High-speed lines connecting homes and small businesses to the Internet increased by 57% during the first half of 2000". The study measured the change from the end of 1999 to June 30, 2000. DSL service grew 157% to "almost one million homes"; cable grew 59% to 2.2 million; and, optical fiber, satellite, fixed wireless, and other technologies increased 18%. The study is based on data collected in FCC Form 477, See, release (MS Word).
10/31. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology and the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of the University of California held a day long conference on network, computer, and e-commerce security. David Farber, the FCC's Chief Technologist, presided. The topics addressed included network security threats, including backhoes, denial of service attacks, and buggy code; host security, including firewalls; PKI and end-to-end security for e-commerce; cybercrime legislation; government research and funding; and government networks.
10/31. Clinton spoke to reporters about his veto of the Treasury Department appropriations bill, which also includes the repeal of the 3% tax on telephones. The tax was instituted as a temporary luxury tax in 1898 to fund the Spanish American War. Clinton apparently seeks a replay of the 1995 government shutdown in order to create a political issue in the final week before the general election. Clinton then left Washington DC for a series of campaign events. See, transcript. Tom Wheeler, CEO of the CTIA, released a statement in which he said that "the repeal of the tax on talking has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Therefore, we see this as only a temporary setback." USTA CEO Gary Lytle also released a statement: "We applaud Congress for passing legislation to repeal the tax, but we are disappointed that the President passed up an opportunity to lower telecommunications taxes, which in addition to being regressive, are harmful to the growth of technology."
10/31., an Internet music company beleaguered by claims of violation of copyright laws, announced that it has appointed retired California Court of Appeal Justice Howard Wiener to its board of directors. See, release.
10/31. Microsoft published an essay on Internet voting. It argued that "Internet voting could significantly reduce the cost of counting, tabulating and processing votes" and "stimulate public interest in government". However, it also pointed out that "Some critics of Internet voting are concerned that it will increase the participation of affluent voters who have convenient access to the Web from their homes or offices, further widening the voter turnout gap between rich and poor."
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

Moore: speech re WTO, GATS and e-commerce, 10/31 (HTML, WTO).
FCC: notice re Dec. 6 meeting of Technology Advisory Council re software defined radios, spectrum management, wave division multiplexing, high speed packet/cell switching, and other topics, 11/1 (TXT, FedReg).
New and Updated Sections

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

"Person to person file sharing has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide with its ease of use, global selection of content, and community features. Napster has pointed the way for a new direction for music distribution, and we believe it will form the basis of important and exciting new business models for the future of the music industry. We invite other record and publishing companies, artists and other industry members to participate in the development of a secure and membership based service."

Thomas Middelhoff, CEO of  Bertelsmann.