|3/1. The House passed HR
333, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer
Protection Act of 2001, by a vote of 306-108. See, Roll
Call No. 25. The House agreed to a privacy related amendment
[PDF] offered by Rep.
Mark Green (R-WI). It requires the removal of the names of
children from bankruptcy filings. The Senate version of
bankruptcy reform legislation, S
220, was adopted by the Senate Judiciary
Committee on Feb. 28.
|2/28. Sen. Max Cleland
(D-GA) introduced S 414, a bill to amend the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization
Act to establish a digital network technology program. The
bill was referred to the Senate Commerce
2/27. Sen. John McCain
(R-AZ) introduced S
404, Low Power Radio Act of 2001, a bill that would permit
the introduction of low power FM transmitters. The bill was
referred to the Senate
Commerce Committee, which Sen. McCain chairs.
2/28. Rep. Phil
English (R-PA) introduced HR 782, a bill to provide for
the establishment of an Internet site on federal financial
assistance. The bill was referred to the House Committee on
2/27. Rep. Howard Coble
(R-NC), the Chairman of the House Courts, Internet and
Intellectual Property (CIIP) Subcommittee, introduced HR 740,
a bill to reauthorize the USPTO
and end the diversion of user fees. The bill was referred to
the House Judiciary
2/27. Rep. Coble and Rep.
Howard Berman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the CIIP
Subcommittee, introduced HR 741, a bill to amend the Trademark
Act of 1946 to provide for the registration and protection of
trademarks used in commerce, in order to implement the Madrid
trademark treaty, and for other purposes. The bill was
referred to the House
Judiciary Committee. Sen.
Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Sen.
Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the ranking Democrat and Chairman of
Judiciary Committee, introduced S 407, the Senate version
of this bill.
|3/1. The Senate
Commerce Committee held a hearing on the transition from
analog to digital TV. Committee Chairman John McCain
(R-AZ) said in his opening
statement that "the government decided that the
broadcasters could keep their old analog spectrum – a gift
from the past – until 2006, or until 85 % of American homes
had digital TV. ... But this much is clear, by 2006, this
country will have neither the transmission facilities, nor the
digital content, nor the reception equipment needed to ensure
that 85% of the population will be able to receive digital television as their exclusive source of
television." See also, statements of witnesses: Jeff
Sagansky (Paxson Communications), Ben
Tucker (Fisher Broadcasting), Michael
Willner (Insight Communications), Mark
Cooper (Consumer Federation of America), James
Gattuso (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Joseph
Kraemer (LECG), and Tom
Hazlett (American Enterprise Institute).
|Intel - Xircom
|3/1. Intel announced
that all necessary U.S. and German antitrust clearances have
been obtained regarding Intel's proposed acquisition of Xircom.
release. Xircom makes PC cards and other products used to
connect mobile computing devices to corporate networks and the
Internet. The two companies announced the merger in January.
release of Jan. 15.
in TCPIP v. Haar, a domain name dispute, 3/1 (HTML, USCA).
|3/1. The House
Commerce Committee's newly organized Subcommittee on
Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing on Privacy
in the Commercial World. Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
presided. Subcommittee members expressed the views during the
first 45 minutes of the hearing. "In addressing privacy
we must be mindful of the First Amendment," said Rep.
Stearns. "The testimony also informs us of the tremendous
benefits that have accrued to our economy and the American
consumer from a tradition of free flow of information within
the commercial context." Full Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
said that "one thing that I don't want to do at the end
of the day, no matter what develops from this Subcommittee, is
hand the bulk of the work over to regulators." Ranking
Democrat John Dingell
(D-MI) said that "individuals must have the power to
control how, when, and with whom their personal information is
shared. ... government must establish the baseline standards
and enforcement procedures ..."
3/1. The privacy hearing included a panel of six law
professors and legal experts who addressed the history of
privacy laws, and offered their legal analyses of, and
opinions as to the constitutionality of, various privacy
proposals. The witness who attracted the most attention and
questions from the subcommittee members was Eugene Volokh,
a UCLA law professor. He praised privacy principles that are
based upon contractual agreements. However, he argued that
when the government imposes mandates that go beyond contract
enforcement, it can violate free speech principles.
"The First Amendment is our code of fair information
practices," said Volokh. "The difficulty is that the
right to information privacy -- my right to control your
communication of personally identifiable information about me
-- is a right to have the government stop you from speaking
3/1. Rep. Ed Markey
(D-MA) called for broad federal privacy legislation in his
opening statement at the privacy hearing. Later, he offered a
comparison of intellectual property and privacy rights.
"So we kind of have this duality, you know. On the one
hand you got industry coming to us saying, 'We need more
copyright protection -- on our information. Don't let anyone
disclose it. IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE IF ANYONE TOOK OUR
INFORMATION AND SOLD IT!' You know. Thinking of Napster. You
know. 'That Napster is going to ruin us.' You know. But, when
the individual says, 'Oh, by the way, I want a copyright on my
own personality.' You know. 'But, we can't do that,' says the
very same industry. 'You're not entitled to copyright. That's
different. But, don't let them take mine.' The industry comes
in here and they say 'You have got to have the top notch
number one encryption technology available to everyone.
Security all the way. ... But, once I get the information you
shouldn't have any privacy.' ... So, there is a duality here.
The industry says, 'copyright good ... privacy bad'. ... The
paradox is quite obvious."
|2/23. The U.S. District Court (CDCal)
issued its order dismissing claims against two defendants in GTMI v. John Does, a case regarding attempts
to silence posters to Internet message boards. Plaintiff, Global Telemedia International,
Inc. (GTMI), is a publicly traded company. Defendants
Reader and King posted numerous negative messages on the Raging Bull Message Board
about GTMI and its officers. GTMI and individual officers
filed a complaint in California state court against negative
posters, including Reader and King, alleging trade libel,
libel per se, and interference with contractual relations.
Defendants removed the proceeding to U.S. District Court.
Defendants filed motions to strike the Plaintiffs' claims,
asserting that they were a "transparent effort to
intimidate and silence individuals who are critical" of
GTMI. The District Court dismissed the claims, pursuant to
Cal. Civ. Proc. § 425.16, as a Strategic Litigation Against
Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuit. It held that message
boards devoted to discussions about publicly traded companies
are "in connection with a public issue" and are
protected under anti-SLAPP provisions. Megan
Gray of the Los Angeles office of Baker & Hostetler
represented one of the defendants.
| 3/1. The ICANN
published in its web site a request
for public comments on proposed revisions to its registry
agreements with VeriSign,
formerly Network Solutions. See also, VeriSign
3/1. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Viet
Dinh to be Assistant Attorney General for Legal
Policy. Dinh is currently a professor at Georgetown
University Law School. See, release.
3/1. The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration
held a one day workshop titled "Essentials of Export
Controls Workshop". For more information contact the
Division of Outreach and Educational Services: 202-482-6031 or
|Domain Name Dispute
|3/1. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion
v. Haar Communications, reversing in part an
injunction in a domain name dispute. TCPIP has operated a
chain of children's clothing stores under the registered mark,
"The Children's Place," for 30 years. In 1996, TCPIP
registered two domain names, "tcpkids.com" and
"childrensplace.com," which can be used to access to
its online store. Haar Communications, and its sole employee,
Richard Haar, then registered the domain domain "thechildrensplace.com"
and other domain names containing the words
"children" and "place". TCPIP demanded
that Haar transfer these domain names to TCPIP. Haar made
several offers to sell packages of domain names to TCPIP for
$570,000, $697,000, and $480,000. TCPIP filed a complaint in
U.S. District Court (SDNY).
The District Court preliminarily enjoined Haar from using 81
domain names. It held that these names were likely to dilute
TCPIP's trademark and service mark, "The Children's
Place," in violation of the Federal Trademark
Anti-Dilution Act (FTDA), and to infringe
plaintiff's mark in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham
Act. The Appeals Court vacated the injunction as to
the FTDA on the basis that the mark "The Children's
Place" lacked either sufficient inherent distinctiveness
or sufficient fame to qualify for the protection of the FTDA.
The Appeals Court affirmed the injunction as to the Lanham Act
for domain names which caused a likelihood of confusion, but
reversed as to others.
|3/1. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Intergraph
v. Intel, reversing the District Court judgment
that Intel had licensed Intergraph's Clipper patents.
Intergraph appealed the decision
of the U.S. District Court (NDAla) granting
summary judgment that Intel is licensed to practice the
inventions of Intergraph's U.S. Patents Nos. 4,860,192,
4,884,197, 4,933,835, and 5,091,846 (also known as the Clipper
patents), and dismissing Intergraph's claims for patent
infringement. The Appeal Court reversed, holding that Intel is
not licensed under these patents.
|12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association will host a luncheon. The
speakers will be five division chiefs of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau: John Chudovan (Information Technology), Bill Kunze
(Commercial), Kris Monteith (Policy), D'Wana Terry (PSPW), and
Margaret Wiener (Auctions). The price is $15. Location: Sidley & Austin, 1722
Eye Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington DC.
10:00 AM PT. Hearing before U.S. District Court (NDCal) Judge
Marilyn Patel in A&M Records v. Napster.
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