Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Feb. 12, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 121.
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Napster
2/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) announced that it will issue its opinion in the Napster v. A&M Records on Monday, Feb. 12. On Dec. 6, 1999, A&M Records and other record companies filed a complaint against Napster alleging vicarious and contributory copyright infringement. On Aug. 10, 2000 U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel issued her opinion which included a preliminary injunction against Napster. Napster appealed to the 9th Circuit, which issued a stay. Oral argument was on October 2.
Microsoft Case
2/9. Feb. 9 was the deadline for final briefs in the appeal of the Microsoft antitrust case. See, Microsoft's final version of its reply brief [88 pages in PDF] and final version of its brief [188 pages in PDF] The government also filed the final version of its appeal brief. See, HTML and PDF versions. Oral argument is scheduled for Feb. 26 and 27.
Lucent
2/9. The Wall Street Journal published a story which stated that the SEC "is conducting a formal investigation into possible fraudulent accounting practices at Lucent ..." Lucent promptly responded: "This is not new news." It elaborated that "Last November, Lucent identified certain revenue recognition issues and voluntarily and immediately brought them to the SEC's and the public's attention. In December, we announced the results of an external audit and the remedial actions that we took." See, release.
New TLJ Stories
Privacy Coalition Wants Legislators to Sign a Pledge. (2/12) A collection of groups named the Privacy Coalition will hold a press conference in Washington DC on February 12 to release a document named "The Privacy Pledge." The coalition wants Members of Congress and state legislators to sign this pledge to support a list of online privacy proposals.
Cox and Wyden Introduce the Internet Non-Discrimination Act. (2/9) Rep. Cox and Sen. Wyden introduced companion bills in the House and Senate to extend the current moratorium on multiple and discriminatory taxes on the Internet.
New Documents
Wyden: S 288 IS, the Internet Non-Discrimination Act, 2/8 (HTML, TLJ).
Barcia: HR 524, the Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act, 2/8 (HTML, LOC).
Gallegly: HR 489, the Math and Science Teacher Recruitment Act, 2/7 (HTML, LOC).
Baucus: S 274, a bill to establish a Congressional Trade Office, 2/7 (HTML, LOC).
MW: complaint against Comdisco, 2/7 (PDF, MW).
MSFT: final version of its reply brief and final version of its brief in Microsoft antitrust case, 2/9 (PDF, USCA).
DOJ: final version of its appeal brief in HTML and PDF in the Microsoft antitrust case, 2/9 (HTML/PDF, DOJ/USCA).
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Recently Introduced House and Senate Bills (updated)
Stearns' Agenda
2/9. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the new Chairman of the House Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection Subcommittee, released a statement that he has "outlined his tentative subcommittee agenda for panel members." The statement continued that he "characterized his e-commerce priorities as falling into three general categories: on-line privacy, cybersecurity, and removing international regulatory barriers to e-commerce. Specific issues noted in his outline included, the protection of personally identifiable information and genetic data, cyberfraud and identify theft, Internet gambling, encryption, data base protection, and Internet sales taxation." It continued that "Certain taxation and privacy policies, jurisdictional restraints and limitations on free speech and commerce by key international actors ... may curtail the growth of e-commerce worldwide." It also stated that the subcommittee "will review the impact of mega-mergers on consumers." Finally, it stated that "a thorough review of the effectiveness in cyberspace of our existing consumer protection laws may also be in order."
Tech Bills Introduced
2/8. Rep. James Barcia (D-MI) introduced HR 524, the Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act. This bill would require the NIST to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers to integrate and utilize e-commerce technologies and business practices. The House passed an identical bill in the 106th Congress as HR 4429; but it did not pass the Senate. The House may again pass the bill under suspension of the rules on Feb. 14 or 15. Rep. Barcia published a statement in the Congressional Record on Feb. 8 in which he stated that "One of the purposes of this legislation is to provide American small businesses with the information and knowledge they need to make smart decisions on e-commerce related purchases and services." He continued that "The other main goal of this legislation is to address the issue of interoperability in the manufacturing supply chain. Adoption of e-commerce business practices within a supply chain is hindered by a lack of interoperability between software, hardware, and networks in exchanging product data and other key business information."
2/8. Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) introduced S 292, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the enhanced deduction for corporate donations of computer technology to senior centers and community centers. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
2/7. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) introduced HR 489, the Math and Science Teacher Recruitment Act, a bill to amend Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand the teacher loan forgiveness programs under the guaranteed and direct student loan programs for teachers of mathematics and science.
2/7. Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) introduced HR 486, the Independent Telecommunications Consumer Enhancement Act, a bill to reduce regulatory burdens on local exchange carriers with fewer than 2% of the nation's subscriber lines. Like HR 267, S 88, and S 150, it states that its purpose is to promote the deployment of broadband Internet access facilities. Rep. Cubin also sponsored similar legislation in the 106th Congress (HR 3850); the House passed it; the Senate did not. She stated that "the FCC has not made it any easier for small telephone companies to deploy advanced services in rural areas -- in some cases they've actually made it more difficult. The reason is that the FCC more often than not uses a one size fits all model in regulating all Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs). This type of model may be fine for the big companies than have the ability to hire legions of attorneys and staff to interpret and ensure compliance with the federal rules."
2/7. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S 274, a bill to establish a Congressional Trade Office. This CTO would provide the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee with additional independent, nonpartisan, neutral trade expertise. Sen. Baucus is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.
Today
The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) will issue its opinion in Napster v. A&M Records. See, new opinions page.
9:30 AM. The Privacy Coalition will hold a press conference to announce a privacy initiative. For more information, contact Andrew Shen, shen@epic.org, 202-483-1140. Location: First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club, 14th & F Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
Goodlatte Staff
2/9. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) named Ben Cline to be his Chief of Staff and Shelley Hanger to be his Legislative Director and Counsel. Cline, who is currently Legislative Director, replaced David Lehman, who went to work for the public affairs firm of Hall, Green, Rupli where he will work on technology and telecom issues. Cline has worked for Goodlatte for more than six years, handling policy relating to technology, telecom, intellectual property, crime, and agriculture. Hanger, who currently serves as Legislative Counsel, has been with Goodlatte for almost three years. Goodlatte sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and its Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. He is also a Co-Chairman of the Internet Caucus.
Securities Class Action
2/7. A Michael Blitzer filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDIll) against Comdisco [ticker: CDO] and two of its officers and directors alleging violation of federal securities laws. Blitzer, who is represented by the law firm of Milberg Weiss and others, seeks class action status. Count one alleges violation of  10b of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Count two alleges violation of  20(a) of the Exchange Act by the individual defendants. Comdisco is a Delaware corporation based in Rosemont, Illinois. It is an equipment leasing and technology services company. It provides web hosting, storage, network, and financial management services. It leases equipment used in semiconductor and electronic manufacturing, in telecommunications, and in other industries. Its stock traded at a high of over 57 dollars per share early last year. It closed at under 14 on Friday, Feb. 9. Milberg Weiss is a law firm that specializes in bringing class action securities suits against technology companies when their stock prices drop. The Law Offices of Charles Piven filed a separate class action securities complaint against Comdisco.
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