Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 29, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 111.
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Bills Introduced
1/24. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced S 164, the Technology for Teachers Act of 2001, a bill to authorize the Education Department's Office of Educational Technology to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements on a competitive basis to train teachers to use technology. The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Educ. and Labor Committee.
1/23. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced S 150, the Broadband Deployment Act of 2001. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a tax credit of 10% for certain expenditures related to the deployment of broadband Internet access facilities for users in underserved areas. The bill defines broadband as "transmission of signals at a rate of at least 1,500,000 bits per second to the subscriber and at least 200,000 bits per second from the subscriber." The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
1/22. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced S 88, the Broadband Internet Access Act of 2001, a bill designed to promote deployment of broadband Internet access facilities through tax credits. This bill would offer a 10% tax credit per year for five years to companies that deploy "current generation broadband" telecom technologies to both residents and businesses in rural or underserved urban areas, and offer a 20% tax credit per year for five years to companies that invest in "next generation broadband" services to all residential customers. The bill had 32 original cosponsors. It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. See, Rockefeller release.
Internet Filtering
1/26. The EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the Defense Department (DOD) regarding its dealings with Internet filtering company N2H2, the maker of Bess. The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 26 that N2H2 sells a product named Class Clicks that consists of "monthly reports that detail where kids are going on the Internet". However, the data is aggregate; it does not identify individual students, or schools. The DOD has purchased the report. As a federal agency, it is subject to the FOIA. The EPIC requested copies of records regarding DOD communications with N2H2, and regarding N2H2 products.
New Documents
NAB: complaint challenging CO rule on webcasting royalties, 1/25 (HTML, TLJ).
USDC: post verdict ruling in Simon v. mySimon, 1/25 (PDF, USDC).
USCA: order modifying opinion in ASCENT v. FCC, 1/26 (TXT, USCA).
EPIC: comment re public access to electronic case files, 1/26 (HTML, EPIC).
PF: comment re public access to electronic case files, 1/26 (HTML, EPIC).
FCC News
1/26. The FCC's C and F Block broadband PCS spectrum auction, which began on Dec. 12, 2000, ended on Jan. 26. It raised a total net revenue of $16,857,046,150.00. See, release.
1/26. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued an order modifying its opinion in ASCENT v. FCC. The original opinion "vacated" the FCC's order in its SBC Ameritech merger proceeding. The merger order approved the merger of SBC and Ameritech, with many conditions. It permitted SBC to offer advanced services, such as DSL, through a separate affiliate. While the intent of the Court was to overturn the separate subsidiary portion of the merger order, the opinion, read literally, vacated the entire order. The order of Jan. 26 clarifies that the merger order is "vacated in part" and that "the vacatur applies only insofar as the Order authorizes exemption of advanced services provided through the Order's prescribed affiliate structure from the obligations imposed on incumbent local exchange carriers by 47 U.S.C. § 251(c)."
1/26. Outgoing FCC General Counsel Christopher Wright spoke on "FCC Legal Issues" at a Federal Communications Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee luncheon. He was asked how things will change in the Office of General Counsel under the new FCC Chairman, Michael Powell. He stated that "the role of the litigation division doesn't change;" it will defend FCC orders. He also discussed many of the recent and pending court cases which impact telecommunications or the Internet, including the Iowa Utilities Board cases, the Florida pole access case, the EEO rules cases, and the Portland, Henrico, and Broward open access cases.
Electronic Case Files
1/26. The comment period closed for submitting comments in response to the Judicial Conference of the United States' Request for Comment on Privacy and Public Access to Electronic Case Files. The Denver based Privacy Foundation submitted a comment in which it "recommends that a National Commission be formed to conduct a comprehensive study to determine how court documents should be publicly available and by what means -- paper and/or electronic." The Washington DC based Electronic Privacy Informatin Center (EPIC) submitted a comment in which argued that "The challenge is to formulate a scheme that guarantees robust access to public records while also preventing unwarranted invasions into the personal matters of litigants and witnesses." For example, "Unhindered access to bankruptcy case files may result in a further increase in identity theft."
More News
1/26. The ICANN announced that it will conduct a study of the structure of its At Large membership to determine how individuals can effectively participate in ICANN's policy development, deliberations and actions for technical coordination of the Internet. See, ICANN release.
1/25. An individual filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DColo) against New Era of Networks (NEON) alleging violation of federal securities law. The plaintiff, who is represented by the law firm of Berger & Montague, seeks class action status. The plaintiff alleges violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. NEON, based in Englewood Colorado, makes e-business enabling software. Berger & Montague is a Philadelphia based law firm that specializes in plaintiffs' class action litigation. 
Intellectual Property
1/25. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and several broadcasters filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDPa) against the Register of Copyrights challenging its Dec. 11 rule [PDF] regarding webcasts of AM/FM signals. The Register of Copyrights determined that broadcasters who choose to transmit their radio signals over a digital communications network such as the Internet may do so under a compulsory license, but that the broadcaster is not exempt from a copyright owner's digital performance right for sound recordings under these circumstances. The NAB complaint alleges that the Register of Copyrights exceeded its authority, and seeks declaratory relief that the rule is invalid. See also, web site of the Copyright Office.
1/25. The U.S. District Court (SDIn) issued a post verdict ruling [68 pages in PDF] in Simon v. mySimon, a trademark infringement case. Plaintiff, Simon Property Group (SPG), is a Delaware limited partnership based in Indianapolis; it is a real estate investment trust, that also operates a web site located a MySimon Inc. is a California corporation owned by CNET Networks Inc. that operates a comparison shopping web site located at Last August the jury found that mySimon's name, Internet address, and a cartoon character named "Simon" violated SPG’s rights under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and Indiana unfair competition laws. The jury also rejected mySimon’s laches defense to the federal claim and assessed compensatory damages totaling $16.8 Million. Under SPG’s Indiana unfair competition claim, the jury assessed punitive damages of an additional $10 million. This still left pending SPG's request for injunctive relief. Both parties also filed post verdict motions. The Court left standing the verdict of liability for trademark infringement and unfair competition. It awarded permanent injunctive relief to SPG. But, it vacated all but $50,000 of the damages awards, subject to a new trial on the issue of "corrective advertising." Both parties stated that they will appeal. Meanwhile, mySimon continues to use the Simon mark. See also, SPG release [PDF] and CNET release.
1/22. Fenwick & West announced that Brian Kelly joined the firm as a partner in the Licensing and Online Commerce Group. He will be resident in the Washington DC office, but will also work out of the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices. He has counseled clients such as Intuit, Cisco, and Epicentric regarding the creation and protection of intellectual property rights, Internet and electronic commerce operations, and the structuring and negotiation of software development, distribution and other agreements. See, release.
Deadline for Microsoft to file its reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in the antitrust case.
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