|5/3. The Senate
Judiciary Committee held its Thursday executive business
meeting. The agenda included votes on the nominations of Ted
Olson to be Solicitor General, and Larry Thompson
to be Deputy Attorney General. The votes were held over, at
least until next week. The reason for the delay was an
unrelated ongoing dispute between Democrats and Committee
Chairman Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) over procedure for Senate confirmation of judges. Other
matters ripe for consideration by the Committee include the
nominations of Charles James to be an Assistant
Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division and Daniel
Bryant to be an Assistant Attorney General in charge of
the Office of Legislative Affairs.
|5/3. The Senate
Commerce Committee approved several nominations, including
Brenda Becker to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce,
and Theodore Kassinger to be General Counsel of the
Department of Commerce. See, release.
|5/3. The U.S.
Copyright Office published a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register
regarding proposed amendments to its regulation governing
notices of termination of transfers and licenses covering the
extended renewal term. The current regulation is limited to
notices of terminations made under section 304(c) of the
copyright law. The Sonny
Bono Copyright Term Extension Act created a separate
termination right under section 304(d). Under the proposed
regulation, procedures governing notices of termination of the
extended renewal term would cover notices made under either
section 304(c) or 304(d). Comments are due by June 18, 2001.
See, Federal Register, May 3, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 86, at Pages
22139 - 22140. See also, PDF
copy in CO web site.
|5/3. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion
v. FCC, a petition for review of the Sixteenth
Order on Reconsideration in Federal-State Joint
Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45. The Appeals
Court ruled that the FCC's
order permitting the Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers to
recoup universal services costs through access charges is
contrary to the plain language of §
254(e). It reversed and remanded.
|5/3. The FCC published a notice
in the Federal Register that it has made minor technical
corrections to it rule implementing the Children's
Internet Protection Act [PDF]. See, Federal Register, May
3, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 86, at Pages 22133. The FCC published
rule at Federal Register, April 16, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 73,
Pages 19394 - 19398.
Broadband Competition Act, 5/3 (HTML, TLJ).
in Oak Tech v. ITC re patent infringement and section 337, 5/2
in COMSAT v. FCC re FCC universal service order, 5/3 (HTML,
|Quote of the Day
|"It's been five years since the Telecommunications Act
passed. Still, in most parts of the country, more than 90% of
local phone service is controlled by the RBOCs. More troubling
is the appearance of a pattern and practice where the Bells
use the advantage of incumbency to systematically box out
broadband competitors like Covad, Rhythms, and McLeod."
Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), statement
American Broadband Competition Act, May 3, 2001.
|5/3. Rep. Chris
Cannon (R-UT) and Rep.
John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the American
Broadband Competition Act of 2001, another bill in the
debate over incenting the deployment of broadband services.
Its content contrasts sharply with another bill, HR
1542, the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of
2001, sponsored by Rep.
Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. John Dingell
(D-MI). See also, statement
by Rep. Cannon.
Overturn Goldwasser. The Cannon Conyers bill would
amend the Clayton
Act to provide that a violation of the
Communications Act can constitute a violation of antitrust
law. The bill provides that "the court shall not dismiss
such claim on the ground that the defendant's conduct was or
is subject to the Communications Act of 1934 ..." It also
provides that the trial court "may consider any conduct
that violates any obligations or requirements imposed by the
Communications Act of 1934 ... in determining whether the
defendant has engaged in anticompetitive or exclusionary
conduct." The bill thus addresses the July 25, 2000,
opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) in Goldwasser v. Ameritech.
Fast Arbitration of Interconnection Disputes. The bill
would also require the Justice Department to establish an
alternative dispute resolution process for the arbitration of
disputes related to an interconnection agreement with an
incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), such as Verizon,
BellSouth and SBC. In this arbitration process, disputes must
be arbitrated within 45 days, the Commercial Dispute
Resolution Procedures of the American Arbitration Association
would apply, discovery would be available, and decisions would
be enforceable in federal court.
No Joint Marketing of DSL by Bells. The bill would also
amend the Clayton Act to provide that an ILEC "and all
affiliates of such carrier may not jointly market in such
State any advanced telecommunications service with any other
telecommunications or information services offered by such
carrier or by any of such affiliates."
Commerce v. Judiciary. The Cannon Conyers bill would
benefit competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), while the
Tauzin Dingell bill would benefit ILECs. In addition to the
conflict between constituencies, there is a conflict between
two committees, both of which seek authority over legislation
affecting the Internet. Both Cannon and Conyers are members of
the House Judiciary
Committee. Their bill would amend antitrust law, which
falls within the jurisdiction of their Judiciary Committee.
Tauzin and Dingell are the Chairman and ranking Democrat of
the House Commerce
Committee. Their bill would amend communications law,
which falls within the jurisdiction of their Commerce
Committee. In addition, Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) has also asserted jurisdiction over the Tauzin Dingell
Reaction. The USTA, whose
membership includes ILECs, issued a release
condemning the Cannon Conyers bill. USTA President Gary Lytle
said that "HR 1542 is the best vehicle for spurring
broadband deployment." The main provision of HR 1542
would exempt interLATA data traffic from the
requirements of Section
271 ot the Telecom Act of 1996, which requires the Bells
to open up their facilities to competitors before they are
allowed to provided interLATA (or long distance) services. In
contrast, the Consumers
Union (CU) and Consumer
Federation of America praised the Cannon Conyers bill.
"By attempting to streamline dispute resolution and
increase penalties for failure to comply with network opening
requirements, this legislation offers consumers a much better
chance of seeing local markets open to competition than either
the Tauzin-Dingell bill or the status quo," said the CU's
Gene Kimmelman. "We are concerned that the Tauzin Dingell
bill would have exactly the opposite effect of its professed
aim. Due to the economic slowdown, many of those who were the
real innovators for Internet services and local phone
competition are faltering. Tauzin-Dingell would hobble those
innovators by giving the monopoly Bell companies further
advantage over their potential competitors."
|Patent Ruling Upheld
|5/2. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion
Technology v. ITC, an appeal of a Section 337
determination by the U.S.
International Trade Commission pertaining to the
importation of CD-ROM drive controllers. The ITC instituted an
investigation of MediaTek, United Microelectronics, Lite-On
Technology, and AOpen at the request of Oak Technology. Oak
asserted that MediaTek and the others imported articles into
the U.S. in violation of Oak's U.S.
Patent No. 5,581,715. The ITC ruled, pursuant to
Section 337, that the '715 patent was not infringed by
MediaTek and the others. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
|5/2. The FBI's National
Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) issued an advisory
regarding a buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft's
Internet Information Services 5.0. The advisory stated that
"the threat level of the above vulnerability is
high." See also, Microsoft's Security
5/3. The Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign
Investment in the United States approved ASM Lithography
Holding NV's acquisition of Silicon
Valley Group. ASM is a Dutch company. SVG is Intel's primary supplier of
automated wafer processing equipment for making
semiconductors. See, SVG
5/3. The SEC launched
of a web-based
survey that asks investors to provide information about
how they use electronic media, including the Internet, to make
investment decisions. See, SEC release.
5/2. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary of State For Economic
and Business Affairs, gave a speech
in Brussels, Belgium, to the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)
Opening Plenary. He touched on e-commerce disputes. "The
third issue is e-commerce codes of conduct, including
Alternative Dispute Resolution. I know this is a top priority
for Commissioner Byrne and DG SANCO. The U.S. Federal Trade
Commission and Department of Commerce have sponsored a number
of workshops on the issue. There are a number of interesting
models for alternative dispute resolution. I understand that
TACD NGOs have met with the Global Electronic Business
Dialogue (GBDE) to discuss ADR and other e-commerce issues.
Already, we can see the potential benefits of
5/3. The Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA) submitted another comment
[PDF] to the FCC regarding
the compatibility between digital cable systems and consumer
electronic products. See also, CEA
release. PP Docket No. 00-67.
|Day two of Computer Law
Association conference. Location: Monarch Hotel,
8:30 AM - 2:00 PM. The National Science Foundation's Special
Emphasis Panel in Advanced
Computational Infrastructure and Research will hold the
second of two days of closed meetings to review Distributed
Terascale Facility (DTF) proposals for financial support.
Location: Hyatt Reston, 1800 Presidents Street, Reston, VA.
See, notice in Federal Register, April 20, 2001, Vol. 66, No.
77, at Page 20337 - 20338.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's Wireless and Legislation
Committee will host a luncheon. The price to attend is $15.
The speakers will be Mike Chappell, Legislative Director to
Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS), and Paul Begey, Legislative
Assistant to Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD). RSVP to Arlice. Location: Sidley
& Austin, 1722 Eye Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington DC.
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