Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 8, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 139.
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Voting Technology
3/7. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing to examine voting technology reform. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), the Chairman and Ranking Democrat on the Committee, respectively, are cosponsors of S 368, the American Voting Standards and Technology Act, which would direct the NIST to conduct a study of several voting related topics, including "any future and emerging technologies for use in elections, such as Internet voting." Sen McCain said in his opening statement [PDF] that "we must modernize our voting machinery and improve our voting process without barraging the states and local governments with excessive rules and regulations." See also, prepared statements [in PDF] of witnesses:
 • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).
 • Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR).
 • Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
 • Bill Bradbury (Secretary of State, Oregon).
 • Cathy Cox (Secretary of State, Georgia).
 • Ron Thornburgh (Secretary of State, Kansas).
 • Wade Henderson (LCCR).
 • Mary Jane O’Gara (AARP).
 • Raul Yzaguirre (La Raza).
Federal Circuit
3/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Crystal Semiconductor v. Tritech Microelectronics, a patent infringement case. At issue were U.S. Patent Nos. 4,746,899, 5,220,483, and 4,851,841, which involve analog to digital converter technology used in the compact disc burners and sound cards of PC systems. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's claim interpretation and judgments holding the '899, '841, and '483 patents willfully infringed by TriTech. It also affirmed the judgment that Crystal is not entitled to price erosion damages or prejudgment interest. It also vacated the judgment that the '841 patent is not invalid due to an on-sale bar and remands for trial. It also reversed the judgment that Crystal is not entitled to lost profit damages. Finally, it vacated the damages order, and remanded the case to the District Court to enter damages totaling $34,929,379 for Crystal to be paid by TriTech.
3/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Micron Technology v. US and LG Semicon, a case regarding dumping margins for imports of dynamic random access memory semiconductors from Korea that involved interpretation of the 1994 amendments to the Tariff Act of 1930.
3/7. "The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Lans v. Digital Equipment Corp."
New Documents
Dingell: address re FCC reform and interlata data relief for phone companies, 3/7 (HTML, HCC).
USCA: opinion in US v. Grimes re search and seizure of computer files, 3/7 (HTML, USCA).
Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day
"Under the terms of the DMCA, isn't Rep. Boucher a circumvention device himself, attempting to undermine the law the content providers bought, which effectively controls access to their goodies? I'm concerned that Judge Kaplan may restrict our access to this guy."

Anonymous poster to Slashdot, praising address by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) advocating changes to copyright law to "reaffirm the fair use doctrine" in the context of digital and Internet media. See, thread.

FCC Reform
3/7. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee, gave an address at a USTA conference in which he advocated FCC reform and interlata data relief for phone companies. He stated that "FCC reform is one of the top priorities of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Too often, the FCC is hamstrung by dint of its antiquated design. Separate bureaus assigned to each segment of the industry may have worked well enough in days gone by. But today the FCC's smokestack mentality is simply a relic, ill-equipped to handle the convergence of technologies that are at the heart of your modern industry." He said that he and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) would soon re-introduce their bill (HR 2420 in the 106th Congress) that "simply draws a line in the sand when it comes to the regulation of advanced services such as high-speed Internet connections. The idea is to establish a regulatory-free zone so that telephone companies can compete with cable companies and others on a level playing field." He concluded that "the distinction between local and long distance telephone service will become increasingly irrelevant in the days to come. It is an artificial distinction based on geography that means little in a world of fiber optics and packet-switched networks."
3/7. FCC Chairman Michael Powell stated at the USTA conference that, in light of the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in Time Warner Entertainment v. FCC overturning the FCC's cable ownership caps on March 2, AT&T may not be required to sell some of its cable assets, as the FCC required in its June 5, 2000 order [PDF] in its AT&T MediaOne merger proceeding.
3/7. The USTA held its annual National Issues Conference in Washington DC. See, release. See also, release re address by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), release re address by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), and release re address by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Search and Seizure of Computer Files
3/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion in USA v. Grimes, a criminal case involving search and seizure of files stored on a computer hard drive. Defendant's wife took his Windows computer to a private repair business because it would not boot. A repair technician determined, among other things, that the hard drive was low on space. He then proceeded to delete JPG files, after first opening them. He found 17 files in the My Briefcase directory that contained pictures of girls. He reported this to his supervisor, who called police, who called in the FBI. Defendant was charged with possession of ηhild pormography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). He challenged the admission of pictures and other evidence on 4th Amendment grounds. The Appeals Court rejected the argument because the search was conducted by a private party, not law enforcement agents. Conviction vacated on other grounds.
More News
3/7. The House Science Committee held a hearing titled "K-12th Grade Math and Science Education: the View from the Blackboard." It heard from a panel of school teachers.
3/5. Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Lori Sharpe to be Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Advisor to the Attorney General. Sharpe was previously Director of Congressional Affairs for the Senate at the CTIA. Prior to that she was Sen. Ashcroft's Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Counsel, and Legislative Assistant for commerce and transportation issues. See, release.
3/7. Microsoft announced the settlement of three lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court (DColo) in 1999 and 2000 alleging copyright infringement. All three companies consented to a permanent injunction prohibiting future infringement of Microsoft's copyright and trademark rights, and to pay a total of $400,000. See, release
3/7. The FTC published in the Federal Register a notice of amendment to its rule regarding the appearances of former members and employees. See, Federal Register, March 7, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 45, at Page 13645.
3/7. The London law firms of Paisner & Co and Berwin Leighton announced that they will merge, effective May 1. The new firm will be known as Berwin Leighton Paisner. See, release
3/7. eToys Inc. and eToys Distribution LLC filed Chapter 11 petitions for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court (DDel).
3/7. filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Napster alleging contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and unfair competition. EMusic President Gene Hoffman stated in a release that "We welcome the injunction that the court has issued against Napster. It is a major step towards leveling the playing field for legitimate downloadable music companies."
3/7. Will Poole, VP of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division, commented on the Napster decision and peer to peer distribution. "This week's Napster court ruling reaffirms the rights of intellectual property owners everywhere, including musicians, record labels, film studios and software companies. The court ruling makes it crystal clear that copyright ownership counts." See, statement.

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in Platte River Cellular Limited Partnership v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1160. Judges Ginsburg, Rogers, and Sentelle will preside.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled EU Data Protection Directive: Implications for the U.S. Privacy Debate. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn House Office Building. The scheduled witnesses are:
 • Stefano Rodota (Chairman, EU Data Protection Working Party)
 • David Smith (Office of the UK Information Commissioner)
 • David Aaron (Dorsey & Whitney)
 • Jonathan Winer (Alston and Byrd)
 • Joel Reidenberg (Professor of Law, Fordham Univ.)
 • Barbara Lawler (Customer Privacy Manager, HP)
 • Denis Henry (VP, Regulatory Law, Bell Canada)
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee' Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing entitled Technology and Education: A Review of Federal, State, and Private Sector Programs. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building. The witnesses are:
 • Kate Moore (USAC)
 • David Spencer (CEO, Michigan Virtual University)
 • Dan Domenech (Fairfax County Public Schools)
 • Dale McDonald (National Catholic Educ. Assoc.)
 • Judith McHale (President, Discovery Communications)
 • Hal Krisbergh (CEO, WorldGate Communications)
 • Rae Grad (PowerUP-Bridging the Digital Divide)
 • Jennifer House (Classroom Connect)
 • Emlyn Koster (Liberty Science Center)
10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a meeting to mark up several bills, including:
 • HR 809, a bill to make technical corrections to various antitrust laws and to references to such laws.
 • S 320, a bill to make technical corrections in patent, copyright, and trademark laws.
 • HR 802, the "Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act".
 • HR 741, amending the Trademark Act of 1946 to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce in order to carry out provisions of certain international conventions.
Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a business meeting. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
1:30 PM. Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, will participate in a panel discussion titled "E-Commerce: Trends In Consumer Use and Seller Abuse," sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America. Location: Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW, Washington DC.
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