|2/20. The Supreme
Court denied certiorari in Time Warner Entertainment v. FCC,
a case regarding the constitutionality of the cable
ownership caps of the 1992
Cable Act. See, Order
List [PDF] at page 29. TWE sought review of a May 19, 2000
of the U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) upholding the constitutionality
of two provisions of the 1992 Cable Act. The subscriber
limits provision directs the FCC to limit
the number of subscribers a cable operator may reach. The channel
occupancy provision directs the FCC to limit the
number of channels on a cable system that may be devoted to
video programming in which the operator has a financial
interest. TWE unsuccessfully argued that these limits violate
the First Amendment. The Supreme Court declined to hear the
case, without writing an opinion. AT&T now holds more than
the 30% maximum share of subscribers, and pursuant to an FCC
order, must divest its interest in TWE. AT&T has also
unsuccessfully lobbied the Congress to amend the statute.
2/20. The Supreme Court also denied certiorari in many other
• IBM v.
Service Comm. of Utah v. Qwest.
• CSU v.
2/20. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in J.E.M. AG Supply v.
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a patent
infringement case involving the patentability of corn
seeds. The U.S. District Court (NDIowa), and
Court of Appeals (FedCir), both held that seeds are
patentable. See, Jan. 19, 2000, opinion
of the Court of Appeals. See, Order
|2/9. The Department of
Justice submitted a comment
to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts in
its proceeding regarding privacy and security implications
of public access to electronic case files. The lengthy
comment recommends for civil cases maintaining the presumption
that all filed documents that are not sealed are available
both at the courthouse and electronically. It recommends
against electronic access to criminal files. It also addresses
bankruptcy files. It recommends requiring less information in
bankruptcy petitions and schedules, restricting use of social
security and credit card numbers to the last four digits, and
segregating certain sensitive information from the public
file. See also, cover
letter from Kevin
List re grants and denials of certiorari, 2/20 (PDF, SCUS).
re Napster and copyright law, 2/20 (HTML, TLJ).
re privacy and security implications of public access to
electronic case files, 2/9 (HTML, DOJ).
|Quote of the Day
|"We are at war with those intent on stealing the work
product of our artists for the purpose of building their own
Richard Parsons, COO of AOL Time Warner in a speech
about Napster, Feb. 20.
|2/20. Napster and Bertelsmann
officials held a press conference in San Francisco to announce
an offer to the recording industry to license copyrighted
music recordings. Napster also released a statement:
"Napster's proposal will provide $1 billion to the major
labels, songwriters and independent labels and artists over 5
years. Major labels will receive $150 million per year for a
non-exclusive license, divided according to files transferred.
For example if the transfers were evenly divided among five
major labels, each would receive $30 million. $50 million per
year will be set aside for independent labels and artists to
be paid out based on the volume of transfers." Napster
also stated that "This business model has not changed
substantially for the last six months and has been presented
to all the major labels." On Feb. 12 the U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion
[PDF] in Napster v. A&M Records, largely upholding Judge
Patel's findings regarding copyright infringement by Napster.
The Napster Bertelsmann press conference was largely a public
2/20. Hillary Rosen, President of the RIAA,
released a statement
directed at Napster. "Stop the infringements, stop the
delay tactics in court." She also accused Napster of
"trying to engage in business negotiations through the
2/20. AOL Time Warner Chief Operating Officer Richard Parsons
gave a speech
in Beverly Hills, California, on the case A&M Records v.
Napster. He stated that "AOL Time Warner is the largest
copyright owner in the world. ... From this perspective, we
divide the world into two kinds of people: those who respect
the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property to
determine how and when their property is used, and those who
do not. Napster and its ilk are in the latter category. Strip
away all the rhetoric about free choice and third-party
neutrality and what Napster has been found guilty of is
old-fashioned copyright infringement or, in laymen's terms,
ripping off what doesn't belong to it. As an industry, we must
continue to make it clear that there are no compromises or
shortcuts that will lead us to settle for anything less than
the legal protections that were ringingly reaffirmed by the
9th Circuit Court just last week."
|2/20. The Employment and
Training Administration of the Labor Department extended the
period for filing comments regarding its Interim Final Rule (IFR)
implementing the 1998 H1B visa bill. The American
Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA)
was passed by the Congress in late 1998 to temporarily
increase the annual cap on visas for high tech workers, known
as H1B visas. This IFR was published on Dec. 20, 2000. It is a
massive document that is online in three sections. See,
Federal Register, Dec. 20, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 245, at pages 80109-80158,
The new deadline is April 23, 2001. See, notice
in Federal Register. Some Members of Congress have long since
criticized the Dept. of Labor for its repeated delays in
issuing these regulations, which implement the American
worker protection provisions of the ACWIA.
|2/20. Lernout & Hauspie
announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (DDel)
granted final approval of a 13-month $60 million Debtor in
Possession financing facility to be provided to L&H and
its affiliates. See, LH
2/20. The ITAA
announced that it has completed a survey of federal Chief
Information Officers and information resource managers titled
"The New Federal Agenda: Point, Click, Change!". The
ITAA published in its web site a press
release, but not the survey.
|9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in MCI
WorldCom v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1002. Judges Williams,
Sentelle and Rogers will preside. This is a Petition for
Review of an FCC's Advanced
Services Order on Remand (MS Word) (FCC 99-413) concerning
application of Section
251 to DSL service.
The FCC ruled that DSL service provided by US West, an ILEC,
is "exchange access" or "telephone exchange
service". Every major telecom company intervened,
including US West, SBC, Bell Atlantic (now Verizon), GTE,
AT&T, Focal, and the Telecommunications Retailers Assoc.
12:00 NOON. The Federal
Communications Bar Association will host a luncheon. The
speaker will be Lowell "Bud" Paxson, Chairman of
Paxson Communications Corporation. RSVP to Arlice, firstname.lastname@example.org. Location:
Capital Hilton, 16th & K Streets, NW, Washington DC.
12:00 NOON. FTC Commissioner Thomas
Leary will speak at the Hogan & Hartson program titled
"A Dialogue on Antitrust Policy in a New
Administration." Location: University Club, 1135 16th
Street, NW, Washington DC.
12:00 NOON. The Progress and
Freedom Foundation will host a press conference at the National Press Club titled
"Is Microsoft Still a Monopoly?" For more
information call Jane Creel at 202-289-8928. Location: NPC,
First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor,
Washington DC, 20045.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Ad Hoc Committee on
Telecom Competition will host a Brown Bag Luncheon. The topic
will be "The Instant Messaging Wars: Implications for
Competition." The scheduled speakers are Marilyn Cade,
Director, Internet & E-Commerce Policy & Advocacy,
AT&T; Blair Levin, Principal Telecom Analyst, Legg Mason;
and Steven Teplitz. RSVP to Joanne Little.
Location: Preston Gates, 1735 New York Ave, NW, Suite 500,
12:30 PM. FTC Chairman Robert
Pitofsky will speak at an Exchequer Club luncheon meeting.
Location: Capital Hilton Hotel, 16th & K Streets, NW,
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