Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 5, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 136.
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Cable Ownership Caps
3/2. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in Time Warner Entertainment v. FCC overturning the FCC's cable ownership caps. AT&T and Time Warner petitioned for review of the FCC's cable ownership rules on First Amendment grounds. The FCC's horizontal rule imposes a 30% limit on the number of subscribers that may be served by a multiple cable system operator. Its vertical limit is set at 40% of channel capacity, reserving 60% for programming by non-affiliated firms. The three judge panel reversed and remanded both the horizontal and vertical limits. The Court followed the Supreme Court's ruling in Turner Broadcasting I that cable operators are "entitled to the protection of the speech and press provisions of the First Amendment." The court, applying the intermediate scrutiny standard, then held that the "horizontal limit interferes with petitioners' speech rights by restricting the number of viewers to whom they can speak. The vertical limit restricts their ability to exercise their editorial control over a portion of the content they transmit." Gene Kimmelman, Director of Consumers Union, called the decision "an enormous loss and a devastating blow to consumers". See, CU release.
New Bills
3/1. Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced HR 817, a bill pertaining to the availability of spectrum for amateur radio operators. It was referred to the House Commerce Committee, of which he is a member.
3/1. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced two privacy related bills in the Senate. S 450 would amend the Gramm Leach Bliley Act to provide for enhanced protection of nonpublic personal information, including health information. S 451 would establish civil and criminal penalties for the sale or purchase of a social security number.
Computer Security
3/2. Rep. James Greenwood (R-PA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, sent letters on critical information systems and data security to the heads of fifteen federal agencies "to request information necessary to assess the adequacy of efforts by your agency to ensure that critical information systems and data are secure from loss, unauthorized access, misuse, or destruction."
New Documents
USCA: opinion in Time Warner v. FCC re cable ownership caps, 3/2 (HTML, USCA).
Pitofsky: speech re antitrust regulation and intellectual property, 3/2 (HTML, FTC).
Rosen: speech re music recordings, the Internet and copyright law, 3/1 (HTML, TLJ).
Greenwood: letter to heads of executive agencies re computer security, 3/2 (HTML, TLJ).
USCA: opinion in Ostler v. Codman re stock options, 3/2 (HTML, USCA).
Quote of the Day
"Don't make the same mistake we made. If there is a vacuum in the marketplace, it will be filled by pirates. Then no one makes any money but a level of consumer expectation is developed that is hard to recapture."

Hillary Rosen, CEO of RIAA, speech of March 1.
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Antitrust and IP
3/2. FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky gave a speech at the University of California at Berkeley titled "Antitrust and Intellectual Property: Unresolved Issues at the Heart of the New Economy." He began that it is "unduly simplistic to conclude, as some have urged, that because of differences, antitrust enforcement has little or no role to play when it comes to market power based on intellectual property." He continued that antitrust regulation is "sufficiently flexible that it can play a useful role in the New Economy." He then reviewed several of the major FTC proceedings involving intellectual property. Finally, he conceded that government regulators have limitations in this area. He said that "law enforcement can rarely equal the speed of economic change in high-tech sectors." He also stated that "Antitrust enforcement has often faced the challenge of dealing with complicated technological questions ... Few government enforcement officials, administrators or judges have sufficient technical competence to deal directly with those issues ..."
Sen. Clinton
3/1. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced seven bills in the Senate (S 426 through S 432) which she said would  "help bring all of New York online and into the new economy by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, and by knocking down some of the stubborn barriers to economic progress." They are a collection of proposals to create grants, loans, tax credits, and other government spending programs. The seven bills could have been included in one or several bills.
3/1. Sen. Clinton's S 426, the Technology Bond Initiative of 2001, would provide an income tax credit to holders of bonds financing new communications technologies. S 428, the Broadband Expansion Grant Initiative of 2001, would provide government grants and loans "to facilitate the deployment by the private sector of broadband telecommunications networks and capabilities (including wireless and satellite networks and capabilities) to underserved rural areas." S 429, the Technology Extension Act of 2001, would provide government grants for the "support of regional centers for the commercial use of advanced technologies by small businesses and medium-sized businesses." S 430, the Broadband Rural Research Investment Act of 2001, would authorize a study by NIST. S 431 would authorize job skills grants. S 432 would provide grants for "business incubator services." See also, speech in Senate by Sen. Clinton.
3/1. Sen. Clinton also endorsed S 41, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). The bill would make permanent the research and development tax credit.
More News
3/2. The U.S. Court of Appeals (1stCir) issued its opinion in Ostler v. Codman Research Group, a case regarding application of Delaware law to the exercise of stock options at a New Hampshire software company.
3/1. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Robert Atkinson of the Technology and the New Economy Project at the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) published an opinion piece in the PPI web site titled "E-Commerce Is Seen As Threat To Slow Middlemen". They wrote that "Middlemen whose personal agenda is threatened by technology should not be able to pull every judicial, regulatory, and legislative lever in the system merely to thwart their e-commerce competitors. Yet that's happening, and the pace of resistance will only accelerate as more industries fight in more states, in Congress and in the courts for protectionist legislation and regulations."
3/2. The European Commission announced that it will open a full investigation into the proposed merger between U.S. companies General Electric and Honeywell. See, release.
3/2.  The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau division chiefs spoke at a FCBA luncheon.
3/2. The U.S. District Court (NDCal), Judge Marilyn Patel presiding, held a hearing in A&M Records v. Napster. On Feb. 12 the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] largely upholding Judge Patel's findings regarding copyright infringement by Napster, and remanded the case to her to fashion injunctive relief consistent with its opinion. Napster stated that if the record companies would provide it with the titles of copyrighted works, the names of the recording artists, the names of Napster's files, and certifications that the record companies own the works, then Napster would then exclude those files from the Napster index. Judge Patel took the matter under advisement. See also, statement by RIAA CEO Hillary Rosen, Napster release, and statement of Napster CEO Hank Barry.
3/1. RIAA CEO Hillary Rosen gave a speech on the Internet, music recordings, and copyright law.
3/1. David Emmons and Craig Adams joined the Dallas office of the law firm of Baker & Botts as partners in corporate/securities section. They had been partners in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. Both concentrate on corporate and securities matters, including mergers, acquisitions, and other transactions involving technology companies. See, release.
2/27. Anna Kraus joined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Covington & Burling as of counsel. She will concentrate on medical privacy, biotech, food and drug regulation, and health care financing issues. She was previously Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services. See, release.
2/26. Former Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL) joined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Shaw Pittman. He will be a senior policy adviser in the government relations practice. Mack choose not to run for re-election in 2000. He served two terms in the Senate, and before that, three terms in the House. See, release.
2/26. Gregory Cirillo, Daniel Hassett, and Christopher Mills joined the northern Virginia office of the law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding. Cirillo represents technology companies in mergers, acquisitions, venture structuring, asset-backed financing, major technology licenses, technology transfers, and technology alliances. Hassett represents financial institutions, professional service firms, ISPs, Internet commerce participants, software developers and computer systems integrators. Mills focuses on Internet and corporate licensing matters. See, release.
3/5. The Washington DC offices of the law firm of Latham & Watkins relocated to Lincoln Square (555 Eleventh Street, NW). See, release.
2/13. Gray Cary, a Silicon Valley based law firm, selected 10 new partners: Pamela Burke (corporate and securities group), William Choe (corporate and securities),  Sean Cunningham (intellectual property litigation and employment services), John Fogg (corporate and securities), Peter Leal (intellectual property and technology), Timothy Lohse (intellectual property and technology), Scott Oliver (intellectual property litigation), Daniel Pascucci (litigation), Magan Ray (employment services), and Steven Sprinkle, (intellectual property and technology). See, release.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in Building Owners Managers Association v. FCC, Appeal No. 99-1009. Judges Randolph, Rogers and Garland will preside.
10:00 AM. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in Intergraph v. Intel, Appeal No. 00-1368. Location: Courtroom 203.
10:00 AM. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in Tegal Corp. v. Tokyo Electron, Appeal Nos. 00-1009, 00-1209, 00-1239, and 00-1307. Location: Courtroom 201.
2:00 PM. The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of S 220, the bankruptcy reform bill.