Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
April 24, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 172.
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4/9. Matthew Oppenheim, Secretary of the SDMI Foundation, wrote a letter to Edward Felton, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University, and others, warning them that public release of information concerning the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) "could subject you and your research team to actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ..." Felton is scheduled to participate in the 4th International Information Hiding Workshop on April 25-29 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is a music industry group that is attempting to develop a watermark based system to prevent music piracy. Watermarking embeds copyright information in digital music files to enable devices like MP3 players and recorders to refuse to make copies of copyrighted music. Last year the SDMI issued a "Public Challenge" to help choose among four proposed watermarking technologies. It invited researchers to attempt to remove the copyright watermarks. Felton responded, and successfully defeated all four technologies. The SDMI now seeks to prevent Felton from presenting or publishing his findings. An early version of Felton's presentation has been published in ZIP format in the Cryptome web site.
Fair Use
4/16. The Free Republic filed its appeal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) in Free Republic v. LA Times and Washington Post. The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post sued the Free Republic for copyright infringement for publishing copies of news stories from their web sites without permission. The Free Republic, which operates a bulletin board web site for political conservatives, raised the affirmative defense of fair use. U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow rejected the fair use defense. See also, TLJ case summary.
New Documents
Quebec Summit: joint declaration re connecting the Americas, telecom competition, and e-commerce, 4/22 (HTML, TLJ).
SDMI: letter to Edward Felton re DMCA and SDMI research, 4/9 (HTML, Cryptome).
Free Republic: appeal brief re online copyright infringement and fair use, 4/16 (HTML, TLJ).
Connecting the Americas
4/22. Government leaders meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada, issued a joint declaration titled "Connecting the Americas." It states that "We are committed to promoting the development of the telecommunications infrastructure needed to support and enhance all sectors of society and the economy and will seek to provide affordable universal access. We agree to promote the modernization of the telecommunications sector, noting the leading role of the private sector in deploying infrastructure and services ..." It also states that "We agree to establish conditions, taking into account national legal frameworks, that promote and strengthen free and fair competition in all telecommunications services." It states too that "Our governments will strive to encourage the growth of e-commerce and to promote Connectivity by providing government services and information on-line, to the extent possible." See also, transcript of joint press conference.
Fiber Providers and ILECs
4/23. April 23 was the deadline to file comments with the FCC in response to its requests for comments regarding whether ILECs, such as Verizon, must allow competitive fiber providers to connect to CLECs in ILEC central offices. On March 15 the Coalition of Competitive Fiber Providers filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling [PDF] with the FCC requesting a determination that competitive fiber providers may, pursuant to  251(b)(4) and  224(f)(1) of the Communications Act, extend fiber to CLECs collocated in the ILEC central offices and place distribution frames in ILEC central offices. On March 22 the FCC issued its request for comments.
Verizon submitted a long and angry comment [PDF] opposing the fiber providers. It argued that they "seek complete freedom to place fiber and equipment anywhere in ILEC central office space that ILECs have placed their own facilities. They want this freedom in order to connect with their CLEC customers, without the need to collocate themselves. The Commission must reject this takeover proposal as wholly inconsistent with the Act, ... under the Petitioners' reasoning, however, third parties could collocate virtually any equipment, anywhere, for almost any purpose, simply by re-casting space in the central office as "conduits," "ducts," or "rights-of-way." This is nonsensical." On the other hand, the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel) submitted a comment [PDF] in which it argued that the FCC should promptly grant the petition. Reply comments are due by May 8, 2001. See, Docket No. 01-77.
More News
4/23. The U.S. Copyright Office published a notice in the Federal Register that it will hold a public roundtable discussion on the intellectual property aspects of the preliminary draft Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters being negotiated by the Hague Conference on Private International Law. See, Federal Register, April 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 78, at Pages 20482 - 20483.
4/23. The IRS published a notice in the Federal Register requesting nominations for the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee. The ETAAC provides an organized public forum for discussion of electronic tax administration issues in support of the goal that paperless filing should be the preferred and most convenient method of filing tax and information returns. Nominations are due by May 23, 2001. See, Federal Register, April 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 78, at Pages 20525 - 20526.
4/23. President Bush formally submitted 13 previously announced nominations to the Senate, including Timothy Muris to be a Federal Trade Commissioner, Peter Allgeier to be Deputy USTR, Viet Dinh to be an Asst. Atty. General, Roger Ferguson to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Elizabeth Jones to be an Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs. See, release.
8:00 AM - 2:30 PM. Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) will hold its Spring Technology and New Economy Conference. The topic is "how the DC/Balt/NVa metro area became a regional high-tech leader, what it must do to remain in the national vanguard, and steps that can spread more broadly the prosperity generated by the New Economy." Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington DC.
9:25 - 10:30 AM. Study Group on Enhancing Multilateral Export Controls will hold a press conference. The Study Group was created by the National Defense Appropriations Act of 2000, was mandated to "develop the framework for a new and more effective, COCOM-like agreement that would regulate certain militarily useful goods and technologies on a multilateral basis." The Study Group will release its final report at this event. The scheduled participants at the press conference include Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), Co-Chair, Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), Co-Chair, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Co-Chair, and Cathleen Fisher, Executive Director. Location: Room 385, Russell Senate Office Building.
3:00 PM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on several nominations. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Senate Office Building. The nominees include:
  Grant Aldonas (Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade).
  Kenneth Juster (Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration).
  Maria Cino (Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service).
  Robert Hubbard (Council of Economic Advisors).
3:30 PM. Susan DeSanti, Director of the FTC's Policy Planning Division, will speak at the Practicing Law Institute Program on "Antitrust Considerations in eProcurement and B2B eCommerce." Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.
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