Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Feb. 26, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 131.
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2/22. Feb. 22 was the deadline to file comments with the FCC in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [see, TXT and PDF versions] regarding reallocation of spectrum for use by Third Generation (3G) wireless services. The FCC received numerous comments. 3G is intended to provide broadband Internet access to portable devices. The NPRM sought comments on introducing 3G services in frequency bands currently used for cellular, broadband PCS, and SMR services, as well as in five other frequency bands: 1710-1755, 1755-1850, 2110-2150, 2160-2165, and 2500-2690 MHz. Spectrum currently allotted to the private sector or government entities for other purposes will have to be reallocated.
2/22. Numerous comments were filed by industry. For example, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a manufacturers' trade group, filed a comment [23 pages in PDF] in which it stated that "Additional spectrum must be made available that is suitable for advanced communications services, such as 3G mobile systems." See also, Motorola comment [PDF], Qualcomm comment [PDF], and Ericsson comment [PDF] (See, ET Docket No. 00-258.)
2/22. In contrast, incumbent users of spectrum under consideration for use for 3G services generally oppose sharing or reallocation of spectrum currently assigned to them. For example, the Catholic Television Network (CTN) submitted a comment in which it opposed reallocation of spectrum used by educational institutions. CTN is an incumbent Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS) user of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. CTN has long used ITFS to distribute educational, training, and religious programming to schools, parishes, hospitals, and other locations. Educators are now in the process of upgrading their systems to provide two-way interactive services.
Spectrum Markets
2/7. 37 economists filed a comment [8 pages in PDF] with the FCC in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [PDF] regarding secondary markets in spectrum. The proceeding is titled In the Matter of Promoting Efficient use of Spectrum Through Elimination of Barriers to the Development of Secondary Markets. (See, WT Docket No. 00-230). The comment states that "We strongly encourage the Commission to adopt market-oriented rules opening the radio spectrum and capturing its full potential for society. Current spectrum policies continue to decrease consumer welfare and reduce the effectiveness of the wireless half of our telecommunications world. Without an initiative to eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions, spectrum will continue to be artificially scarce in some uses and wasted in others."
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Recently Introduced Bills (updated)
DeCSS Case
2/19. The Justice Department filed a motion to intervene, file a brief, and participate in oral argument, in Universal City Studios v. Eric Corely with the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) on Feb. 8, 2001. The Appeals Court granted the motion on Feb. 20. This case is also known as the DeCSS hacker case. Several movie makers sued Corely and others in U.S. District Court (SDNY) on Jan. 14, 2000, alleging violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for publishing code for circumventing the plaintiffs' copy protection technology (known as CSS) for the DVD versions of their movies. The District Court entered its amended final judgment on Aug. 23, 2000, permanently enjoining defendants from violating the DMCA. The Court rejected defendants' argument that their acts constituted protected free speech.
2/19. The U.S. Attorney filed a brief on Feb. 19, in which its argued that the District Court should be affirmed, and the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA should be upheld. It wrote: "Until fairly recently, artists and authors had only to contend with the bootleg distribution of their works in hard-copy form; they now face the reality of uncontrollable, on-line infringement. Embracing the digital medium as their own, infringers threaten to usurp much if not all of the Internet market for copyrighted works."
Napster Delays
2/23. Napster filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir). Napster seeks review of the Feb. 12 opinion [PDF] of a three judge panel of the court that largely upheld District Court Judge Patel's findings regarding patent infringement. See, Napster release.
2/21. The law firm of Covington & Burling announced that two of its former partners, Ethan Posner and Jean Veta, have returned from stints at the Justice Department. Posner was a Deputy Associate Attorney General. He worked on several topics, including prescription drug sales over the internet, bankruptcy reform, and class action reform. Veta was a Deputy Associate Attorney General. She was involved in e-commerce, technology, and privacy issues. See, release [PDF].
2/20. Deborah Garza will join the Washington DC office of the law firm of Fried Frank as a partner in the antitrust section on March 1, 2001. She previously was an antitrust partner in the Washington DC office of Covington & Burling. The head of Fried Frank's antitrust section, Rick Rule, moved from Covington in January. Both Rule and Garza worked in Antitrust Division of the Justice Department during the Reagan and elder Bush administrations. Garza rose to Chief of Staff and Counselor in 1988-89. Rule rose to be the Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division. See, release.
2/20. The law firm Greenberg Traurig announced that Vincent Chieffo joined the firm's Los Angeles office as a shareholder in the intellectual property and entertainment practice areas. He handles litigation and transactional matters involving copyright, literary rights, rights of publicity, film financing, international partnerships, music publishing, recording artists, and record companies. See, release.
2/15. Alexander Lynch and Babak (Bo) Yaghmaie will become partners in the law firm of Wilson Sonsoni. They previously worked in the New York office of Gunderson Dettmer. They will also head the newly created New York City office of Wilson Sonsoni. Lynch and Yaghmaie represent technology companies in venture finance, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions. See, release.
2/15. The law firm of Wilson Sonsoni announced that it will open an office in Salt Lake City, Utah. It will be headed by Robert O'Connor, Shawn Lindquist, and Shannon Whisenant. O'Connor was previously general counsel at InsurQuote Systems, in Provo, Utah. Lindquist was previously general counsel at Whizbang Labs, in Provo, Utah. Both were at Wilson Sonsoni before taking in house positions. Whisenant will move from the Palo Alto office of Wilson Sonsoni. See, release.
9:30 AM. First day of oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals, En Banc, in U.S. v. Microsoft. Location: Ceremonial Courtroom, 333 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC. See, Order [PDF] setting schedule.
1:00 - 3:30 PM. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 6: Public Protection and Other Issues will hold a meeting. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, 6th Floor, Room 6-B516, Washington DC. See, notice of meeting.
Deadline to file comments with the USTR pertaining to the WTO dispute settlement proceeding regarding  110(5)(B) of the U.S. Copyright Act. A WTO Dispute Settle Body has found the statute is inconsistent with U.S. treaty obligations under the TRIPs Agreement. See, notice and request for comments in the Federal Register.
1/22. The Senate Finance Committee announced its subcommittee assignments. The Subcommittee on International Trade will include Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (Chairman), Max Baucus (D-MT) (Ranking Democrat), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Fred Thompson (R-TN), Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Phil Gramm (R-TX), Trent Lott (R-MS), James Jeffords (R-VT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John Rockefeller (D-WV), Tom Daschle (SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), John Kerry (D-MA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Bob Graham (D-FL), Robert Torricelli (D-NJ). See, release.
2/15. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) introduced 368, the American Voting Standards and Technology Act. Title I pertains to the conduct of elections. It requires, among other things, that the NIST conduct a study of voter participation and emerging voting technology, including "any future and emerging technologies for use in elections, such as Internet voting." See, McCain release regarding voting standards. Titles II and III are unrelated. Title II would create a Center of Excellence for Electronic Commerce at NIST to encourage the use of electronic commerce technologies by federal agencies. Title III would create an "Enterprise Integration Initiative" within NIST.
More News
2/23. The AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies published a report titled Law and Policy in the Age of the Internet [43 pages in PDF] by Robert Litan. It addresses privacy, intellectual property, taxation, and policies relating to broadband access to the Net.
2/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in USA v. Wilson, a bank fraud case. Wilson stole individuals' identities, and then fraudulently obtained and used credit and ATM cards in their names. The legal issues on appeal (sufficiency of the evidence, and sentencing guidelines) are not significant. However, what may be noteworthy is that while this was a extensive identity theft operation, the opinion does not state that there was any hacking into databases, or even use of the Internet. Wilson obtained the personal information of his victims an old fashioned way -- from corrupt bank employees.
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