|3/29. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and the Internet held a hearing titled FCC Chairman Michael
Powell: Agenda and Plans for Reform of the FCC. The new
FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, was the sole witness at the
lengthy event. See, prepared
statement [PDF] of Powell. He promised to reduce FCC
backlogs, harmonize regulation across industries, facilitate
broadband deployment, pursue universal service goals, build
the technical expertise of the FCC, resist regulatory
intervention, and increasingly use enforcement proceedings.
Subcommittee members widely praised Powell, and questioned him
a a variety of issues, including Section 271 proceedings,
broadband deployment, e-rate subsidies, broadcast and cable
ownership caps, FCC backlogs and delays, universal service,
Internet protocol telephony, third generation wireless
services, and transition to digital television. See also, prepared
statement by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA).
|3/29. The Senate
Finance Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Kenneth
Dam to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, David
Aufhauser to be General Counsel of the Department of the
Treasury, Michele Davis of Virginia to be an Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury, and Faryar Shirzad to be an
Assistant Secretary of Commerce. Sen. Charles Grassley
(R-IA), Chairman of the Committee, said "I believe all
four of these nominees are well-qualified for their
positions". See, Grassley statement
[PDF]. The Committee has not yet voted on these nominations.
|3/29. The House
Ways and Means Committee's Trade Subcommittee held a
hearing titled Is the United States Losing Ground as Its
Trading Partners Move Ahead? See, prepared statements of Rep.
Phil Crane (R-IL), Rep.
Sander Levin (D-MI), Thomas
Donohue (P/CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Harold
McGraw (CEO of McGraw-Hill), Samuel
Maury (Pres. of the Business Roundtable), William
Weiller (Ch/CEO of Purafil), Daniel
Tarullo (Prof. at Georgetown Univ. Law Center), John
McCarter (P/CEO of the Council of the Americas), Harold
Wiens (EVP of 3M), Jeffrey
Schott (Institute for International Economics), John
Hardin (National Pork Producers Council), and Donald
Burke (VP of Mead Corp.)
3/29. USTR Robert
Zoellick addressed the House
Policy Committee on the administration's trade agenda.
This committee, which is chaired by Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), is
a Republican forum for the discussion of specific legislative
initiatives, for the enunciation of official priorities, and
for the resolution of inter-jurisdictional policy disputes.
3/28. Sen. Max Baucus
(D-MT) introduced S 643, a bill to implement the U.S. Jordan
Free Trade Agreement. It was referred to the Senate Finance
|More New Bills
|3/28. Rep. Vern
Ehlers (R-MI) introduced HR 1259, a bill to amend the
National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to enhance
the ability of the NIST
to improve computer security.
3/28. Rep. Phil Crane
(R-IL) introduced HR 1268, a bill to amend the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986 to include wireless telecommunications
equipment in the definition of qualified technological
equipment for purposes of determining the depreciation
treatment of such equipment. The bill was referred to the
House Ways and Means Committee. Sen. Fred Thompson
(R-TN) introduced S 640, the companion bill to HR 1268. It was
referred to the Senate
statement for House Telecom Subcommittee, 3/29 (PDF, FCC).
& Sensenbrenner: press
conference re database protection legislation, 3/29 (HTML,
on network security at the Defense Dept., 3/29 (PDF, GAO).
on international antitrust, 3/29 (HTML, EU).
in Lomes v. Hartford Insurance re duty to defend and
indemnify, 3/29 (PDF, CalApp).
on privacy policies and the COPPA, undated (PDF, Annenberg).
|Quote of the Day
|"People are always asking me to compare you to your
father. ... You are just as smart as your father. Only, you
have more power to affect the world."
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), statement to FCC Chairman
Michael Powell, March 29.
|3/29. Rep. Billy
Tauzin (R-LA), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee,
and Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the Chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee, met with stakeholders in the debate over
legislation to provide intellectual property like protection
for databases. The two seek to develop consensus database
protection legislation. In the past, as the Commerce and
Judiciary Committees fought over both policy and jurisdiction
on this issue, no bill became law.
Databases are accorded little protection, as a result of the
Supreme Court's decision in the Feist
case. Businesses that own or produce compilations of data have
lobbied for protection, and found support from the Judiciary
Committee, which has jurisdiction over intellectual property
matters. Rep. Howard
Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the House Courts, Internet,
and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, has been trying to
pass a bill for years. He sponsored HR 2652 in the 105th
Congress (1997-1998); it ultimately passed the House, but not
the Senate. He sponsored a similar bill in the 106th
354, which passed the Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, some
Internet companies, telecom companies, and educational
institutions lobbied against creating protections for
databases, and found support from the Commerce Committee.
Former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA) introduced bill in the 106th
Congress, HR 1858, which provided very weak protections for
database owners. It passed the Commerce Committee. See, summary
of database bills in the 106th Congress.
Reps. Tauzin and Sensenbrenner, who both became chairmen of
their committees in January, seek to end the conflict between
their two committees. Sensenbrenner stated that "in the
past, the two committees have taken decidedly different
approaches to the database protection issue, and as a result,
nothing has become law. Both Chairman Tauzin and I are
committed to getting a database protection bill the President
will sign passed by the Congress this year." Tauzin added
that in the past "Judiciary used its traditional
perspectives of copyright law in approaching the problem.
Commerce, now Energy and Commerce, used its traditional
communications law perspective as we approached the problem,
which inevitably lead to bills that couldn't jive. But, the
idea here is for us to find a common approach, so that we
don't end up with two committees producing bills that cannot
be married together, and compromise one another in the end.
And by starting out together, we hope to finish up
together." The two also suggested that they hope to see
cooperation between the two committees on other law and
technology issues. See, transcript
of press conference.
|3/29. The Court of Appeal of California (2ndAppDist) issued
[PDF] in Lomes
v. Hartford Insurance, a case regarding an
insurer's duties to defend and indemnify. Scott Lomes
and William Low were the sole shareholders of Newton Wholesale
Co., a grocery business that developed software to track
inventory and evaluate prices. The two quarreled, and Low
ousted Lomes as an employee and officer. However, Lomes
remained a director and minority shareholder. Lomes then filed
a complaint against Low in U.S. District Court, alleging
several claims, including copyright infringement
involving the software he and Low had developed. Lomes
registered a copyright for the program after being fired. Both
Low and Lomes demanded that Hartford defend and indemnify
them. Hartford declined to defend or indemnify Lomes. He then
filed a complaint in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County
against Hartford alleging breach of contract, bad faith, and
declaratory relief regarding the duty to defend and indemnify.
The trial court held that there was a duty to defend, and
dismissed all other claims. Both sides appealed. The Appeals
Court held that there was no duty to defend.
|3/29. The Annenberg
Public Policy Center released a report
[PDF] titled "Privacy Policies on Children’s Websites:
Do They Play By the Rules?" by Joseph Turow. It concluded
that 10% of children’s sites collected personal information
home pages, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act. It also concluded that many privacy
policies are too complex.
|3/28. The FCC announced a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding licensing,
operating, and competitive bidding in the reallocation of the
698-746 MHz spectrum band (TV Channels 52-59) for new
commercial wireless and broadcast services. See, FCC release.
The FCC is reclaiming this spectrum as a part of the
transition from analog to digital television.
3/29. Cypress Semiconductor
filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DDel)
against Integrated Circuit
Systems alleging patent infringement.
3/29. The FTC published a notice
in the Federal Register that it will hold a public workshop on
May 7 and 8, 2001, to examine competition policy issues that
arise in connection with business to business (B2B) and
business to consumer (B2C) electronic commerce. The FTC had
previously published notice of the workshop in its web site.
See, Federal Register, March 29, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 61, at
Pages 17177 - 17179.
|3/29. EU Competition Commissioner Mario
Monti is in Washington DC to meet with his counterparts in
the U.S. government to discuss antitrust. Monti also
gave an address
at the spring meeting of the American Bar Association titled
"EU Views on a Global Competition Forum." Monti will
hold a press conference on March 30 at 11.00 AM at the
European Commission’s Washington Delegation, 2300 M Street,
NW, Press Room. See also, EU
|March 28-30. The American
Bar Association's Antitrust Section will hold its annual
spring meeting. See, agenda.
Location: JW Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
8:15 AM. FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson will speak at the American Bar Association's
Antitrust Section's annual meeting. The title of his speech
will be "AOL/Time Warner and Interactive TV: the
Intersection of TV, Computers, the Internet and Section 7 of
the Clayton Act." Location: JW Marriott Hotel, 1331
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
10:00 AM. The NTIA
will publish on its web site its technical study on the
accommodation of third generation (3G) wireless systems in the
United States. It will also hold a background briefing for the
media. Location: Room 4830, Main Commerce Building, 14th &
Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC.
10:00 AM. FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky will participate as a
panelist on the Government Roundtable Program at the American Bar Association's
Antitrust Section's annual meeting. Location: JW Marriott
Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
11:00 AM. EU Competition Commissioner Mario
Monti will hold a press conference. See, EU
release. Location: European Commission's Washington
Delegation, 2300 M Street, NW.
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The NFIB and
The National Cattleman's Beef
Association will host a panel discussion on access to
high-speed Internet service for small businesses. Location:
Room B-369, Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-369. RSVP to
554-9000. The panelists will be:
• Rep. Fred
Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Telecom Subcommittee.
• Greg Rohde, former head of the NTIA.
• Phil Burgess, senior fellow at the Center for the New West.
• James Van Wert, senior advisor for policy and
planning at the SBA.
|3/29. The GAO released a report [PDF]
titled "Information Security: Challenges to Improving
DOD's Incident Response Capabilities". The Department of
Defense (DOD) has established organizations, known as computer
incident response capabilities, that engage in activities
associated with preventing, detecting, and responding to cyber
attacks on the DOD's information systems and communications
networks for critical combat and business operations that are
interconnected through the public telecommunications
infrastructure and the Internet. The report offers
recommendations for improving the DOD's cyber attack response
capabilities. Rep. Bob
Stump (R-AZ), Chairman of the House Armed Services
Committee, requested the report.
|3/29. Ernest Gonzales was indicted by a grand jury of the
U.S. District Court (CDCal)
on one count of publishing an advertisement to receive,
exchange and distribute child pormography
(CP), four counts of using a computer to knowingly transport
CP in interstate and foreign commerce, and one count or
possession of CP images. The German National Police conducted
an Internet based investigation, and then forwarded their
findings to the U.S.
Customs Service, which then investigated Gonzales. It
executed a search warrant at Gonzales' home, and seized
computer equipment. See, release.
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