Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Dec. 11, 2000, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 80.
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New Documents

CO: rules requiring broadcasters who stream music on the Internet to pay additional royalties, 12/8 (PDF, CO).
Powell: speech re FCC regulation, and the migration to broadband digital technologies, 12/8 (HTML, FCC).
Carey: speech re SEC regulation of electronic road shows and electronic offerings, 12/8 (HTML, SEC).
FCC: NPRM re software defined radio, 12/8 (PDF, FCC).
FCC: Report and Order re NGSO FSS, 12/8 (PDF, FCC).
Clinton: speech re foreign policy, China's entry into WTO, and cyber security, 12/8 (HTML, WH).
USCA: Opinion in Apple v. Articulate re patent infringement, 12/7 (HTML, TLJ).
Milberg: complaint against Gateway, 12/7 (PDF, Milberg).
Milberg: complaint against AT&T, 12/6 (PDF, Milberg).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
New Lawsuits

12/8. NorthPoint Communications filed a complaint in California Superior Court for the City and County of San Francisco against Verizon alleging violation of an agreement to merge the two companies. Northpoint seeks specific performance of its merger agreement with Verizon, or alternatively, monetary damages. Northpoint is a DSL provider. See, Northpoint release.
12/7. An individual named James Burton filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (SDCal) against Gateway and two of its top officers, alleging violation of federal securities laws. Gateway makes personal computers. The plaintiff, who seeks class action status, is represented by the law firms of Milberg Weiss and Cauley Geller. Count one alleges violation of 10b of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b5 thereunder, for making allegedly false statements about the financial status of Gateway. Count two of the complaint alleges violation of 20a of the Act by Chairman Ted Waitt and VP/CFO John Todd. Milberg Weiss is a law firm that specializes in bringing class action securities suits against technology companies with volatile stock prices.
12/6. An individual named Adele Selinger filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against AT&T, its Chairman, Michael Armstrong, and Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Salomon Smith Barney, underwriters of the AT&T wireless tracking stock. The plaintiff, who seeks class action status, is represented by the law firm of Milberg Weiss. The complaint alleges violation of 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933. The Stanford Securities Class Action Clearinghouse reports that 189 federal securities class actions have been filed so far this year.
Quote of the Day

"But, people also migrate to escape hostile conditions and we see such movements in the Digital Broadband Migration as well. ... People also often leave in search of political freedom. The oppressor here is regulation. Providers are desperately looking for ways to escape regulatory burden, or use it to their advantage. We have a balkanized regulatory model that promotes regulatory arbitrage by bending efficient market development to adapt to the relative blessings and curses of regulation."

Michael Powell, FCC Commissioner, from Dec. 8 speech.
News Briefs

12/8. The U.S. Copyright Office (CO) issued rules [PDF] which provide that radio stations that stream their broadcasts over the Internet must pay additional royalty fees. The CO stated that it "has amended its regulations to clarify that transmissions of an AM/FM broadcast signal over a digital communications network, such as the Internet, are subject to a sound recording copyright owner's exclusive right to perform his or her work publicly by means of digital audio transmissions. Broadcasters who choose to transmit their radio signals over a digital communications network such as the Internet may do so under a compulsory license." See also, CO release. The RIAA issued a release praising the rules, while the NAB issued a statement condemning them. The NAB is also litigating the issue in U.S. District Court (SDNY).
12/8. FCC Commissioner Michael Powell gave a speech in Washington DC about "the great exodus from legacy business models, legacy technical infrastructures, and legacy regulations" to the "Promised Land" of broadband digital technologies. He also stated that "balkanized regulatory treatment of different technologies and industries" does not account for new technologies, and has become "cracked and unstable". He offered his recommendations for how the FCC can help this "Digital Broadband Migration", including focusing on promoting competition through innovation (rather than price competition), and focusing on enforcement (rather than regulation).
12/8. The FCC released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [PDF] regarding the authorization and use of software defined radio (SDR). The FCC proposes to "define software defined radios as a new class of equipment with equipment authorization rules that reflect the additional flexibility incorporated into such radios. We propose to permit equipment manufacturers to make changes in the frequency, power and modulation of such radios without the need to file a new equipment authorization application with the Commission. We also propose to permit electronic labeling so that a third party may modify a radio's technical parameters without having to return to the manufacturer for re-labeling." Comments are due 75 days from the date of publication in the federal register. Reply comments are due in 135 days. (ET Docket No. 00-47.) See also, contact info.
12/8. The FCC released its First Report and Order [huge PDF file] in ET Docket No. 98-206, permitting non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS) providers to operate in various segments of the Ku-band. The R&O also adopts rules and policies to govern these operations. NGSO FSS can be used to provide many services, including high speed Internet access, high speed data, video, and telephony services. See also, FCC release. See also, contact info.
12/8. The European Patent Office announced that it received its first online filing of a European Patent Application. See, release.
 12/8. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced that it will conduct an investigation, at the request of the USTR, to assess the economic impact of the U.S. Singapore free trade agreement (FTA). The USITC will issue a report to the USTR by Jan. 12, 2001. The report will not be made public, and no public hearings will be held. However, the USITC requests public comments on a range of topics, including the "potential trade and economic effects of changes in intellectual property rights regimes" under the FTA. The deadline for comments is Dec. 20. See, USITC release.
12/8. The WTO's General Council met in Geneva, Switzerland. Among the issues discussed was electronic commerce. See, USTR summary and reaction.
12/8. President Bill Clinton gave a speech at the University of Nebraska in which he addressed China's joining the WTO. "It is a statement by them, by agreeing to the conditions of membership, that they can't succeed over the long run without opening to the world. It is a declaration of interdependence," said Clinton. "And if China goes on and follows through with this, they'll have to dismantle a lot of their old command and control economy, which gave the Communist Party so much power. They'll open their doors to more foreign investment and more foreign information, and the Internet revolution. Will it inevitably bring freedom? No, but it will increase the chances of China taking the right course."
12/8. Clinton also addressed cyber security in his Nebraska speech. "And one of the biggest threats to the future is going to be cyberterrorism -- people fooling with your computer networks, trying to shut down your phones, erase bank records, mess up airline schedules, do things to interrupt the fabric of life. Now, we have the first national strategy to protect America's computer systems and critical infrastructure against that kind of sabotage. It includes, interestingly enough, a scholarship for service program to help students who are studying information security and technology, pay for their education if they will give us a couple of years' service in the government. It's really hard to get talented people in the government, because we can't pay them enough."
12/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its Opinion in
Apple Computer v. Articulate Systems. Apple brought suit against Articulate alleging patent infringement. Apple alleged that Articulate's PowerSecretary product infringed Apple's U.S. Patent No. 5,469,540 patent, which pertains to the generation of multiple active windows in a graphical user interface. The U.S. District Court (NDCal) invalidated this patent. Apple appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
12/7. Patriot Computer Corp., maker of Mattel Barbie and Hot Wheels personal computers, filed for bankruptcy. The Markham, Ontario, company has had difficulty with production and delivery delays. Patriot was one of seven online retailers fined in July by the U.S. FTC for violating the Mail Order Rule (which also applies to Internet orders). See, FTC Complaint and Consent Decree.
12/6. SEC Commissioner Paul Carey gave a speech in Athens, Greece, on how technology is changing the U.S. capital markets. He stated that "The Internet is providing another vehicle for companies to access the U.S. capital markets by offering them a cheap and efficient way to communicate with potential investors." He detailed the SEC's treatment of electronic road shows and electronic offerings.
12/4. Qualcomm announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII). The MOU pertains to cooperation between Qualcomm and China on development of CDMA technology, and deployment in China of a nationwide network based on CDMA technology. See, release.
12/4. Jing Jing Fan Mou plead guilty to, and was sentenced for, two felonies, conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods, in U.S. District Court (CDCal). The original six count indictment was returned on May 11. The defendant trafficked in foreign manufactured counterfeit software products, including Microsoft's Windows NT Server and Office 97. Under the plea agreement one count of trafficking, and three count of money laundering, were dropped. The defendant was sentenced to 12 months in prison. This case was the product of a U.S. Customs Service investigation. See, releases of the U.S. Atty's. office dated Dec. 4, Sept. 25, and May 23. [Contact info.]
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.

Today

The FTC begins a two day workshop to examine emerging wireless Internet and data technologies and the privacy, security, and consumer protection issues they raise. Location: Commission Meeting Room (432), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC, 20580. See, notice.

People

12/8. Rep. Julian Dixon (D-CA) died. He was the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Under the leadership of Chairman Porter Goss (R-FL) and Rep. Dixon, this committee has opposed efforts to liberalize U.S. encryption export laws. See, statement by Cal. Gov. Davis.
12/8. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) named Graham Taylor of Dow Chemical Chairman of its IPO Trade Secrets Division for the coming year.
12/8. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the appointment of George Borkowski as its acting Director of Civil Litigation. He is on loan from the Los Angeles office of the law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. He will serve in this position until a permanent replacement can be found for Steve Fabrizio, who will leave in January. See, RIAA release.
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