|Internet Tax Bills
|2/6. Sen. Bob Smith
(R-NH) introduced S 245,
a bill to make permanent the moratorium on the Federal
imposition of Internet taxes, and S 246,
a bill to extend the moratorium on the imposition of taxes on
the Internet for an additional 5 years. Both bills have been
referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. However, the
proposal that is likely to get more attention is a bill to
extend for five more years the existing moratorium on new or
discriminatory Internet taxes, to be introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) on
|2/7. The Senate
Banking Committee held a hearing on export controls, and S 149,
the Export Administration Act (EAA), introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) on
Jan. 23. Sen. Enzi said in his opening
statement that "The goal of the EAA of 2001 is to
eliminate unnecessary trade barriers, while focusing controls
on the items most sensitive to our national security." He
added that "the bill recognizes that items available from
foreign sources or available in mass-market quantities cannot
be effectively controlled." Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX)
said in his opening
statement that "the basic premise of the bill is that
if something is mass marketed or if you can buy it in the
marketplace of the world, while it may have defense uses,
there is no way you can prevent a would-be user of that
technology from having access to it." Dan Hoydysh of Unysis testified. He praised
the bill, and its Section 202, which empowers the President,
Secretary of Commerce, and Secretary of Defense to review the
National Security Control List and determine whether an item
can and should be controlled. But, he added that "its
application to computers is seriously undermined by another
statute, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which
imposes mandatory, rigid controls on high performance computer
(HPC) exports." He advocated its repeal. See, statement.
See also, statements of Paul
Freedenberg, and Richard
Cupitt, and Larry
| 2/7. House
Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
issued a statement concerning the fifth anniversary of the
Telecom Act of 1996. "For the most part, the Act has been
a catalyst for change and competition. Consumers all across
America, for example, have benefited from new innovations in
wireless technology. But, clearly, a lack of high-speed
broadband services in this country is now threatening to
stifle e-commerce and our New Age economy. Congress can
prevent this from happening by simply completing work on the
Act. If we made one mistake in 1996, its that we did not
reform the FCC at the same time we reformed the law. As a
result, the agency has created roadblocks to competition in
both the telephone and broadband markets. My goal is to remove
those roadblocks, create true competition and provide
consumers with exciting, new choices in the marketplace."
Subcommittee assignments for the House Commerce Committee,
2/7 (PDF, HCC).
subcommittee assignments for the House Commerce Committee,
2/7 (PDF, HCC).
re Federal Internet taxes, 2/6 (HTML, LOC).
re extension of moratorium on Internet taxes, 2/6 (HTML,
re eliminating the Commerce Dept., 2/6 (HTML, LOC).
Order re digital audio recording technology royalties, 2/7
re E-SIGN Act, 2/7 (HTML, NTIA).
|Quote of the Day
|"It is my thesis that, given that the Berlin Wall has
been torn down, given that we have liberated eastern Europe
and destroyed the Soviet Union, clearly there is a need to
change the basis focus of our export administration system.
... I believe that the ultimate source of America's national
security is our ability to dominate the flow of new and
productive ideas as they relate to technology, not our ability
to protect old ideas that we or anybody else has developed. In
the end, you cannot protect technology."
Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), statement
in support of S 149, the Export Administration Act, Feb. 7.
|2/7. The House
Commerce Committee held its organizational meeting for the
107th Congress. The Committee adopted six resolutions
regarding rules, jurisdictions, and subcommittee membership
and chairs. See resolutions [PDF]:
4: Subcommittee Chairs.
5: Repub. Subcomm. Membership.
6: Dem. Subcomm. Membership.
Billy Tauzin (R-LA), who was Chairman of the Telecom
Subcommittee, is now the full Committee Chairman. John Dingell
(D-MI) is again the Ranking Member. The Telecom Subcommittee,
which has jurisdiction over many high tech related issues,
will be chaired by Fred
Upton (R-MI). He has not been as active on Internet issues
as many other members of the subcommittee. The Ranking Member
will again be Ed Markey
(D-MA). The rest of the Republicans on the Subcommittee are
Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Barton (R-TX), Cliff Stearns
(R-FL), Paul Gillmor (R-OH), Chris Cox (R-CA), Nathan Deal
(R-GA), Steve Largent (R-OK), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), John
Shimkus (R-IL), Heather Wilson (R-NM), John Shadegg (R-AZ),
Chip Pickering (R-MS), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Roy Blunt (R-MO),
Tom Davis (R-VA),
Bob Ehrlich (R-MD), and Billy Tauzin (R-LA). The rest of the
Democrats on the Subcommittee will be Bart Gordon (D-TN),
Bobby Rush (D-IL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Eliot Engel, (D-NY),
Gene Green (D-TX), Karen McCarthy (D-MO) Bill Luther (D-MN),
Bart Stupak (D-MI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jane Harman (D-CA),
Rick Boucher (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thomas Sawyer
(D-OH), John Dingell (D-MI) (Ex Officio). Upton, Davis, Stupak,
and Brown are new members of the Telecom Subcommittee. See
by John Dingell.
2/6. House Commerce
Committee Chairman Billy
Tauzin (R-LA) named Howard Waltzman to be
telecom counsel. For the last four years he was general
counsel to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), a member of the Senate Commerce
Committee. Waltzman has also worked for Empower America and
as press secretary to former Rep. Gary Franks (R-CT). See, release.
2/1. The Senate
Commerce Committee announced assignments to its
Communications Subcommittee: Conrad Burns (R-MT) (Chairman),
Ernest Hollings (D-SC) (Ranking Democrat), Ted Stevens (R-AK),
Trent Lott (R-MS), Kay Hutchison (R-TX), Olympia Snowe (R-ME),
Sam Brownback (R-KS), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Peter Fitzgerald
(R-IL), John Ensign (R-NV), George Allen (R-VA), Daniel Inouye
(D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), John Breaux (D-LA), Jay Rockefeller
(D-WV), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Ron Wyden (R-OR), Max Cleland
(D-GA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and John Edwards (D-SC). Smith,
Fitzgerald, Ensign, Boxer, and Edwards are new to the
subcommittee. See, release.
|1/31. The House
Judiciary Committee announced subcommittee chairmanships. Howard Coble (R-NC)
will again chair of the Courts, Internet, and Intellectual
Property Subcommittee. It was formerly named the Courts
and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. George Gekas (R-PA)
will be Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, which has
jurisdiction over H1B visa bills. Lamar Smith
(R-TX), who previously chaired the Immigration Subcommittee,
will chair the Crime Subcommittee. This subcommittee has
jurisdiction over bills which criminalize activity on the
Internet. Rep. Steve
Chabot (R-OH) will chair of the Subcommittee on the
Constitution. Bob Barr
(R-GA) will chair of the Subcommittee on Commercial and
Administrative Law. James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) will be the new Chair the full Committee; John Conyers
(D-MI) will again be the Ranking Member. See, release.
|Online CRS Reports
|2/6. Sen. Patrick Leahy
(D-VT) and Sen. John
McCain (R-AZ) will introduce a Senate resolution to
provide public Internet access to certain Congressional
Research Service reports, lobbyist disclosure reports, and
Senate gift disclosure reports. Said Leahy, "these
reports are indeed 'public' for those who can afford to hire a
lawyer or lobbyist or who can afford to travel to Washington
to come to the Office of Public Records in the Hart Building
and read them. That is not very public."
announced that it "has completed its acquisition of
substantially all of the imaging businesses of Bell & Howell
Company." The Antitrust
Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that
Kodak agreed to restructure its plans to purchase assets of
Bell & Howell, by abandoning its purchase of the document
scanner business, in order to resolve the DOJ's antitrust
concerns. The DOJ asserted that the acquisition as originally
proposed would have led to a loss of competition for high
speed document scanners. See, Kodak release,
Bell & Howell release,
and DOJ release.
|2/7. The NTIA
and FTC announced that they
are requesting comments on, and will hold a workshop on, the benefits
and burdens of requiring consumer consent to receive
information electronically. These agencies are required by
Act, passed last year, to conduct this study. Comments
and papers are due by March 16, 2001. The workshop will be
held at the FTC on April 3, 2001 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. See,
to be published in the Federal Register.
|Burns' Tech 7
|2/7. Sen. Conrad Burns
(R-MT), Chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee,
announced his high tech agenda for the 107th Congress, which
he has named "Tech 7". The issues include high
speed Internet access, online privacy, spam, spectrum
allocation, wireless privacy, ICANN, and e-government. He
plans to introduce legislation to provide tax incentives to
companies that build high speed Internet facilities. He plans
to introduce a bill similar to his 1999
privacy bill; he will also introduce a bill to provide
more protections against the monitoring and recording of cell
phone calls. He also plans to re-introduce anti-spam
legislation, and hold hearings on ICANN and domain names. See,
|2/8. The Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) announced the creation of the
Internet Public Interest Opportunities Program (IPIOP), a
program for law students interested in public interest law and
the Internet. It is made possible by a $1,000,000 grant from Pamela
Samuelson and Robert Glushko. See. EPIC release.
|2/7. The House
Ways and Means Committee held its organizational meeting.
and Subcommittee assignments.
2/7. The Copyright
Office published a Distribution
Order in the Federal Register regarding distribution of
1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 digital audio recording technology
royalties. See, Federal Register, Feb. 7, 2001, Vol. 66, No.
26, Pages 9360-9365.
2/6. Rep. Ed Royce
(R-CA) introduced HR 375,
the Department of Commerce Elimination Act. The bill
would terminate the Department, but continue many of its
functions. The USPTO
would be transferred to the Justice
Department. The NIST
would be renamed the "National Bureau of Standards"
and transferred to the NOAA,
which would be made independent. Several of the NTIA's
grant giving functions would be eliminated; its Boulder
laboratory would be privatized; and most of its remaining
functions would be transferred to the FCC.
|9:30 AM. The Senate
Health, Ed., Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a
hearing on the HHS's patient privacy regulations. Room
430, Dirksen Building.
9:30 AM. The House
Government Reform Committee will hold its organizational
meeting. Room 2154, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The House Telecom Subcommittee will hold a hearing
titled "Is ICANN's New Generation of Internet Domain Name
Selection Process Thwarting Competition?" Room 2123,
10:00 AM. The House
Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HR 333, the
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of
2001. The is almost the same bill as HR 2415 (106th Congress),
which both the House and Senate passed last year, but which
Clinton vetoed. Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) in Imatec v. Apple, a patent
infringement case. Federal Circuit, 717 Madison Place (on
LaFayette Square), Courtroom 203.
10:00 AM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on bankruptcy
law reform. Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee
will host a Brown Bag Luncheon. The speaker will be Scott
Cleland of The Precursor Group. Sprint, 401 9th Street, NW,
Suite 400, Washington DC.
12:30 PM. Sun Microsystems
Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy will speak at a National Press Club Luncheon.
NPC Ballroom, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC.
1:00 - 2:00 PM. Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for
Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO, Nicholas
Godici, will hold an online Q&A session. See, release.
2:00 PM. House Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
and others will hold a news conference on the major news
networks' coverage of election 2000 and the Voter News
Service. Location: Capitol Building, Radio/TV Press Gallery,
5:00 - 7:00 PM. The Business
Software Alliance will host a reception to present
"the latest in American Software Technology". Room
B338, Rayburn Building.
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