Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 14, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 143.
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Special 301
3/13. The USTR announced that it has designated Ukraine as a "Priority Foreign Country" under the "Special 301" program. Section 301 is the statutory means by which the U.S. asserts its international trade rights, including its rights under WTO Agreements. Under the "Special 301" provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, the USTR identifies trading partners that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. artists and industries that rely upon intellectual property protection. The USTR stated that "This action is being taken as a result of Ukraine's persistent failure to take effective action against significant levels of optical media piracy and to implement adequate and effective intellectual property laws." See, USTR release.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) praised the USTR action. See, release. Also, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Hillary Rosen said that the decision "underscores the recognition by the Bush Administration of the importance of copyright protection to the overall US economy. President Bush and his trade team have made clear that they will not sit by and tolerate the massive and organized theft of US intellectual property." See, release.
New Documents
USPTO: notice re nominations to advisory committees, 3/13 (TXT, FedReg).
Moore: speech re new round of trade negotiations, 3/12 (HTML, WIPO).
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3/13. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on S 487, the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act. The bill would amend 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act to extend the distance learning exemptions enacted in 1976 to digital delivery media. The TEACH Act incorporates many of the recommendations made by the U.S. Copyright Office in 1999 in a study mandated by the the DMCA. Under current law, there are exemptions for "face-to-face" and "transmission" teaching activities; but Internet based education is not referenced.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard from several educators involved in distance learning who testified in support of the bill: Gerald Heeger (Univ. of Maryland), Richard Siddoway (Utah's Electronic High School), Paul LeBlanc (Marlboro College), and Gary Carpentier (American University). Marybeth Peters, the Register of Copyrights, testified in support of the bill. She also said that it is consistent with Berne Treaty and TRIPS obligations. Allan Adler, of the Association of American Publishers, was the sole representative of content producers on the witness panel. He opposed the bill as unnecessary and unworkable. He quipped that it could be called the Technology, Education and Copyright Heist Act. See also, statements for the record submitted by Sen. Leahy, Marybeth Peters, and Allan Adler. Senators Hatch and Leahy, the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the Committee, were the only Senators who participated in the hearing.
3/13. The USPTO published in the Federal Register a notice requesting nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. These advisory committees review and advise the Director of the USPTO on matters relating to policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the USPTO relating to patents and trademarks, respectively. Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before April 12, 2001. See, Federal Register, March 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 49, at Pages 14551 - 14552.
Napster News
3/13. Napster announced that it entered into an agreement with Gracenote to provided services to assist it in complying with the March 5 order of the U.S. District Court in A&M Records v. Napster enjoining it from copying plaintiffs' copyrighted songs. See, Napster release and Gracenote release.
Quote of the Day
"We invest sweat and blood and millions of dollars creating musical products. It takes years of insane sacrifice and grueling tour schedules and intense effort. To think a third party should be allowed to give away our product for zero compensation is brain-dead and un-American. ... Thank God common sense is still operating in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently ruled Napster must stop providing unauthorized music."

Ted Nugent, rock star, from his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, March 13.
3/13. The FTC held a public workshop to explore how businesses merge and exchange detailed consumer information and how such information is used commercially. See, agenda. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said that "If the government is going to monitor the information sharing practices of the private sector, I'd like to know who's going to monitor the government." He added that "We need to be careful when the government becomes involved with regulating electronic commerce."
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Internet taxes. The hearing will address "whether Congress should allow states to require all remote sellers to collect and remit sales taxes on deliveries into that state, provided that states and localities dramatically simplify their sales and use tax systems." Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
12:30 PM. The FCBA's Transactional and Mass Media Committees will host a brown bag lunch on "FCC Attribution and Ownership Rules." The speakers will be Susan Eid, David Goodfriend, Ben Golant, and Mania Baghdadi. RSVP to Tracy Watts. Location: Dow Lohnes & Albertson, 1200 New Hampshire Ave., NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC.
1:30 - 4:00 PM. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 2: Mobile-Satellite Service including GPS, will hold a meeting. Location: Leventhal, Senter & Lerman, 2000 K Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington DC. See, notice of meeting.
More News
3/13. The FTC announced that it settled its lawsuit against Mercury Internet Services and its principal, Neal Saferstein, for cramming onto phone bills unauthorized charges for web sites services. On June 28, 2000, the FTC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court (EDPa) alleging that Mercury and Saferstein misrepresented to consumers that they were legally obligated to pay for web site services the defendants charged to their telephone bills without their authorization. See, release.
3/12. WTO Director General Mike Moore gave a speech in London in which he advocated a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. "The economic case for a new WTO round is compelling. Cutting barriers to trade in agriculture, manufacturing and services by a third would boost the world economy by $613 billion ..."
3/13. Star Communications filed a Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (DDel).