|eBay's Whitman Visits
|6/27. eBay P/CEO Meg
Whitman spoke at a Congressional
Internet Caucus luncheon. She was joined at the head table
by Sen. Conrad Burns
(R-MT), Sen. Bob Bennett
(R-UT), Rep. Bob
Goodlatte (R-VA), Jerry Berman and Todd Cohen (eBay
Director of Public Policy). She advocated "anti spam
legislation, including an e-mail anti harvesting
prohibition". She elaborated that "what we see is
robots come to the site ... who steal the e-mail addresses off
of the site." This, she said, upsets eBay customers, and
violates their privacy. However, she also stated that she is
opposed to online privacy legislation at this time. She stated
that "self regulation has a pretty good chance of
succeeding." She also stated that the Internet shakeout
has left fewer companies. These companies are stronger, and
are in business for the long run, and hence, are less apt to
commit privacy violations.
Whitman also advocated passage of "strong database
protection". In the 106th Congress (1999-2000) the House
Judiciary Committee and the House Commerce Committee passed
vastly different database protection bills. Neither was
considered on the House floor. Todd Cohen predicted that the
House will pass a database protection bill in this Congress,
because both committees now have new chairmen, Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Billy Tauzin
(R-LA), who are committed to working together to pass a bill.
Whitman also advocated "increased cyber security
penalties and enforcement." She said that "eight or
ten times a day someone will try to hack the site." She
also backed an "extension of the Internet tax
Several Representatives attended the luncheon, including Sue
Myrick (R-NC), Vern Ehlers (R-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Jane
Harman (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Lamar Smith (R-TX).
|NTIA and FTC Release Report
on E-SIGN Consumer Consent Provision
|6/27. The NTIA
and FTC released a report
on the consumer consent provisions of the E-SIGN Act. Last
year, the Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the
Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN)
Act, a bill intended to promote electronic commerce by
providing for the acceptance of electronic signatures and
records in interstate commerce. The Act required this report.
The report concluded that "the benefits of the consumer
consent provision of ESIGN outweigh the burdens of its
implementation on electronic commerce. The provision
facilitates e-commerce and the use of electronic records and
signatures while enhancing consumer confidence. It preserves
the right of consumers to receive written information required
by state and federal law. The provision also discourages
deception and fraud by those who might fail to provide
consumers with information the law requires that they receive.
The consumer consent provision in Section 101(c)(1)(C)(ii)
appears to be working satisfactorily at this stage of the
Act's implementation." See also, NTIA
release and FTC release.
Eileen Harrington, Associate Director of Marketing Practices
at the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, will testify
regarding the report to the House Financial
Services Committee's Subcommittee
on Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology and Economic Growth
at 9:30 AM on Thursday, June 28.
|Powell Proposes 3G Delay
|6/27. FCC Chairman Michael Powell
wrote a letter
[PDF] to Commerce Secretary Donald Evans regarding the
timetable for identifying additional spectrum for use by third
generation (3G) wireless services. 3G services are intended to
bring broadband Internet access to portable devices. The
Department of Commerce previously released a plan
suggesting the completion of a 3G allocation proceeding by the
end of July. Chairman Powell wrote that "As July draws
near, however, it is apparent that additional time is
necessary to allow the Commission and the Executive Branch to
complete a careful and complete evaluation of the various
possible options for making additional spectrum available for
advanced wireless services." He concluded that "the
public interest would be best served by additional time for
informed consideration, even if this results in some delay in
reaching allocation decisions."
|Trade Promotion Authority
|6/26. Sen. Robert Byrd
(D-WV) spoke in the Senate against granting the President
trade promotion authority. He stated that it would be "a
wholesale surrender of Congress' constitutional authority over
foreign commerce, as well as the evisceration of the normal
rules of procedure for the consideration of Presidentially
negotiated trade agreements." Sen. Byrd's speech was a
reaction to the introduction in the Senate of S 1104 by Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), Sen. Frank Murkowski
(R-AK), and others.
Sen. Byrd also spoke on the importance of Roman history to the
present debate over trade negotiations. "First, Sulla
became dictator in 82 B.C. He was dictator from 82 to 80. Then
he walked away from the dictatorship, and he became counsel in
79. He died in 78 B.C., probably of cancer of the colon,"
explained Sen. Byrd.
|House Holds Hearing on the
|6/27. The House
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the
Internet, and Intellectual Property held a legislative hearing
487, the Technology, Education, and Copyright
Harmonization Act of 2001, also known as the TEACH Act. This
bill, which passed the Senate on June 7 by unanimous consent,
would extend the distance learning exemption to infringement
contained in Section
110 of the Copyright Act to Internet technologies.
Rep. Howard Coble
(R-NC), the Subcommittee Chairman, and Rep. Howard Berman
(D-CA), the ranking member, both advocated passage of S 487,
as passed by the Senate, without further amendment. Rep. Coble
stated that "it is my preference to move S 487
expeditiously and without amendment through the Committee and
to the House floor." All witnesses advocated passage of S
487, as passed by the Senate. Register of Copyrights Marybeth
Peters testified that the "Copyright Office strongly
supports the carefully negotiated compromise reflected in S
487 as passed by the Senate." Allan Adler of the Association of American
Publishers, and John Vaughn of the Association of American
Universities, also testified in support of S 487.
Non Profit Libraries. There is a second version of the
2100, the Twenty-First Century Distance Learning
Enhancement Act, that is sponsored by Rep. Rick Boucher
(D-VA) and Rep. Darrell
Issa (R-CA). It has one major difference. It would add
nonprofit libraries to the covered entities. The Senate bill
covers educational institutions, but not libraries. The
difference is significant. The original version of S 487 was
opposed by content owners who feared that the original version
would have allowed abuse of the exemption. Under the direction
of the bill's cosponsors, Sen.
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), representatives of affected groups
negotiated for several weeks to produce a compromise version
of the bill. The Boucher version ignores that compromise, and
the consensus that it built. Neither Rep. Boucher nor Rep.
Issa attended the hearing, and no other member of the
Subcommittee advocated their version of the bill.
Anti Circumvention Provisions. Rep. Zoe Lofgren
(D-CA) had a different concern with the language of the bill.
The bill requires that educational institutions "not
engage in conduct that could reasonably be expected to
interfere with technological measures used by copyright owners
to prevent such retention or unauthorized further
dissemination". She does not want the bill to prevent
professors from presenting papers on encryption at academic
conferences. She suggested that this language may warrant
Background. S 487 would extend the exemption for
distance learning to cover the Internet and other digital
delivery media. The bill is of immediate concern to rural
schools, where students are dispersed, and colleges that are
offering online courses to distant students and busy adults
who cannot attend their brick and mortar classroom sessions.
The bill may also facilitate a shift from face to face
classroom based models of education to online teaching models.
When Congress amended copyright law in 1976 to create the
distance learning exemption, the hot new technology was analog
closed circuit TV. That statute did not reference the
Internet. Also, the 1976 law did not address the copying of
files from one computer to another that is an inherent part of
the operation of the Internet. S 487 would exempt "work
produced or marketed primarily for performance or display as
part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via
digital networks", provided that several conditions are
met. One of these conditions is that it be "made by, at
the direction of, or under the actual supervision of an
instructor as an integral part of a class session offered as a
regular part of the systematic mediated instructional
activities of ... an accredited nonprofit educational
|Rep. Coble Comments on NYT
|6/27. Rep. Howard
Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the House Courts, Internet
and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, spoke with reporters
after the TEACH Act hearing about the Supreme Court's June 25 opinion
[PDF] in New
York Times v. Tasini, a case regarding the
application of copyright law to the republication of the
articles of free lance writers in electronic databases. He
stated that "I don't disagree with that opinion."
However, he added, "Let us examine that in detail."
He also stated that no groups have contacted him regarding
legislation to change the outcome of NYT v. Tasini. Justice
Stevens wrote in his dissent to that 7-2 opinion that
"congressional action may ultimately be necessary".
|NIST Approves PIPS 140-2
|The National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) published a notice
in the Federal Register announcing its approval of Federal
Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, Security
Requirements for Cryptographic Modules. FIPS 140-2 supersedes
FIPS 140-1, and is compulsory and binding on federal agencies
for the protection of sensitive unclassified information. This
standard is effective November 25, 2001. See, Federal
Register, June 27, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 124, at Pages 34154 -
|InterTrust Amends Patent
Technologies filed an amended
complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDCal)
against Microsoft alleging infringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 6,185,683
The complaint was amended to include a claim of infringement
of the '193 patent, which was issued on June 26. It discloses
systems and methods for secure transaction management and
electronic rights protection. The patent abstract states that
"Electronic appliances such as computers equipped in
accordance with the present invention help to ensure that
information is accessed and used only in authorized ways, and
maintain the integrity, availability, and/or confidentiality
of the information." The '683 patent also pertains to
digital rights management. The two count complaint seeks
declarations that Microsoft has infringed, has induced others
to infringe, and has contributorily infringed, both patents;
it also seeks preliminary and injunctive relief, and damages.
|Thursday, June 28
|9:00 AM. The United States
Trade Representative will hold a meeting of the Industry
Sector Advisory Committee on Services (ISAC-13). The agenda
includes trade promotion authority and international trade
agreements. The meeting will be open to the public from 9:00
to 9:45 AM, and closed to the public from 9:45 AM to 12:00
NOON. See, notice
in Federal Register. Location: Conference Room 6057,
Department of Commerce, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and
Constitution Avenues, NW., Washington DC.
9:30 AM. The House
Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee
on Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology and Economic Growth will
hold a hearing titled ESIGN -- Encouraging the Use of
Electronic Signatures in the Financial Services Industry.
Location: Room 2128, Rayburn House Office Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate
Appropriations Committee's Commerce, Justice, State, and
the Judiciary Subcommittee will hold a hearings on proposed
budget estimates for FY 2002 for the Federal Communications
Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission. Location:
Room 192, Dirksen Senate Office Building.
|Friday, June 29
|10:00 AM. Walt Strack, Chief Economist of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, will give a keynote address titled "Wireless
Telecommunications in the U.S." at the 2001 International
Communications Forecasting Conference. Location: Arlington,
|DOJ Requires Thomson to
Divest Computer Based Testing Assets
|6/27. The U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division,
reached an settlement agreement in which it approved Thomson Corporation's
acquisition of Harcourt
General Inc. businesses from Reed Elsevier subject
to Thomson's sale of certain overlapping products and services
resulting from the acquisition. Thomson will sell certain
college textbook products and portions of Assessment Systems,
Inc., a computer based testing business. To put this agreement
into effect, the DOJ filed a complaint and proposed consent
decree in U.S. District Court (DDC).
release, and Reed
Charles James, the recently appointed Assistant Attorney
General in charge of the Antitrust Division, stated that
"Without these divestitures, college students would
likely have paid higher prices for a variety of important
textbooks. In addition, both professional organizations that
offer computer based tests, and candidates seeking to take
those tests, would likely have faced higher prices and
diminished innovation for such services."
|6/27. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
gave the USPTO an award
for its Trademark Work at Home Program. 90 out of 400
trademark examining attorneys telecommute from home using
workstations supplied by the USPTO. See, USPTO
6/26. EU Competition Commissioner Mario
Monti gave a speech
in Brussels on antitrust cooperation between the U.S. and E.U.
6/27. Rep. Bob
Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Rick Boucher
(D-VA) introduced the Class Action Fairness Act.
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