Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
July 13, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 226.
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4th Circuit Rules in Cybersquatting Case
7/12. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its "unpublished" opinion in Domain Name Clearing Company v. FCF, a cybersquatting case. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court decision which held that DNCC had violated the 1999 Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act by registering the domain name Clarins.com.
Sen. Edwards Introduces Location Privacy Bill
7/11. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) introduced S 1164, the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2001. The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, of which Sen. Edwards is a member. Sen. Edwards stated in the Senate that under this bill, "any company that monitors consumers' physical location will be prohibited from using or disclosing that information without express permission from the consumer. And third parties that gain access to the information cannot use or disclose it without the individual's permission first." He continued that "Our cell phones, pagers, cars, palm pilots and other devices will enable companies to constantly track where we go and how often we go there. ... But these new technologies also raise serious privacy issues. Location information is very private, sensitive information that can be misused to harass consumers with unwanted solicitations or to draw inaccurate or embarrassing inferences about them. And in extreme cases, improper disclosure of location information to a domestic abuser or stalker could place a person in physical danger."
See also, HR 260, the Wireless Privacy Protection Act of 2001, introduced in the House on January 30, 2001, by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ).
GAO Issues Report on Legal Obstacles to Telecommuting
7/12. The GAO released a report [PDF] titled "Telecommuting: Overview of Potential Barriers Facing Employers." The report concludes that state and federal laws and regulations present potential barriers to telecommuting. These include state tax laws that could expose employers and employees to additional state taxes and federal workplace health and safety laws and regulations that could be applied to telecommuters' home offices.
The report also states that "many telecommuting proponents believe that significant obstacles to increased use of telecommuting involve internal management concerns related to (1) assessing whether the employer has the types of positions and employees suitable for a telecommuting program, (2) maintaining security over sensitive company data while monitoring the actions of remote workers, and (3) ensuring that telecommuting activities do not adversely affect profits." The report was prepared at the request of House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX).
New Documents
Lofgren: HR 2472 IH, the Protect Children From E-Mail Smut Act of 2001, 7/11 (HTML, TLJ).
Edwards: S 1164, the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2001, 7/11 (HTML, TLJ).
Stearns: HR 2421, the Jurisdictional Certainty Over Digital Commerce Act,  6/28 (HTML, LibCong).
USCA: opinion in Domain Name Clearing Company v. FCF, a cybersquatting case, 7/12 (HTML, USCA).
GAO: report on legal obstacles to telecommuting, 7/12 (PDF, GAO).
Microsoft Announces Changes Following Court Ruling
7/11. Microsoft announced that it "is offering computer manufacturers greater flexibility in configuring desktop versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system in light of the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia." In particular, Microsoft stated that OEMs will be able "to remove the Start menu entries and icons that provide end users with access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system". Microsoft also stated that is will also allow OEMs to put "icons directly onto the Windows desktop." Finally, Microsoft stated that "Consumers will be able to use the Add-Remove Programs feature in Windows XP to remove end-user access to the Internet Explorer components of the operating system." See, Microsoft release.
House Holds Hearing on Internet Gambling
7/12. The House Financial Service Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Internet gambling. Rep. John LaFalce (D-NY) stated that he will shortly reintroduce two bills to prohibit the use of credit card debt to place bets over the Internet, and to prohibit the placement of ATMs close to gambling sites. See also, HR 4419 (106th Congress), sponsored by Reps. Leach and LaFalce. Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) stated that the Financial Services Committee has jurisdiction over the only effective enforcement enforcement mechanisms. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) have sponsored legislation in the previous two Congresses to ban many forms of Internet gambling. These bills include attempts to enforce the ban at the ISP level. No Internet gambling bill has yet been enacted into law.
Subcommittee Chairman Sue Kelly (R-NY), said in her opening testimony [PDF] that "the most serious offenders in the Internet gambling arena are the virtual casinos operating offshore, beyond the reach of U.S. law." She also stated that she would "work with the legislative Subcommittees under this Committee to support appropriate legislative action". Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-OH) did not advocate any specific legislative solutions in his opening statement [PDF].
John Suarez, of the state of New Jersey, complained that off shore gambling sites are advertising in New Jersey, and allowing minors to gamble on their sites. He suggested that Congress "declare that any credit card or other wager placed via the Internet is illegal and therefore uncollectable in the United States." Sebastian Sinclair, of Christiansen Capital Advisors, did not dispute the problems associated with online gambling, but cautioned the Subcommittee to "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." For example, he stated that making credit card gambling debts uncollectable would simply drive online gamblers to use foreign banks and third party payment mechanisms, such as PayPal.
See also, prepared statements of witnesses in PDF: John Suarez (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement), Sebastian Sinclair (Christiansen Capital Advisors), Keith Whyte (National Council on Problem Gambling), Valerie Lorenz (Compulsive Gambling Center), Frank Fahrenkopf (American Gaming Association), Bill Saum (National Collegiate Athletic Association), Mark MacCarthy (VISA), Sue Schneider (Interactive Gaming Council), Penelope Kyle (Virginia Lottery), Greg Avioli (National Thoroughbred Racing Association).
House Committee Holds Hearing on Whois Database
7/12. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property held a hearing titled The Whois Database: Privacy and Intellectual Property Issues.
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Chairman of the Subcommittee, said in his opening statement that "It is my hope that as the Internet grows and these policies develop, the public can count on the availability of a robust and dynamic Whois Database." Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat, said in his opening statement that "For web sites conducting e-commerce, why should they have a privacy right to keep their place of business and controlling owner a secret? ... however, a person who has a website for purely personal reasons, pictures of his cat, perhaps, or political complaints against a Member of Congress - shouldn't that person be able to do his personal business without everyone knowing who he is and how he can be found? And isn't political speech worth protecting by redacting the personally identifiable contact information for the website owner?"
See also, prepared statements of witnesses: Jason Catlett (Junkbusters), Lori Fena (TRUSTe), Stevan Mitchell (Interactive Digital Software Assoc.), and Timothy Trainer (International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition).
Collocation Rules
7/12. The FCC adopted rules concerning collocation requirements of incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). The FCC did not release the rules. It did release a press release. The USTA, which represents ILECs, criticized the rules. See, USTA release.
People and Appointments
7/12. SEC Acting Chairman Laura Unger named Stephen Cutler Acting Director of the Division of Enforcement. Cutler has been the Division's Deputy Director since January 1999. He replaces Richard Walker, who recently announced his intention to leave the SEC. See, SEC release. Cutler worked at Wilmer Cutler and Pickering from 1987 until being appointed to the SEC in 1998.
7/12. The FCC announced the appointment of new federal and state members to the Federal State Joint Board on Universal Service. FCC Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin Martin were appointed as federal representatives, replacing former FCC Commissioners Susan Ness and Harold Furchtgott- Roth. Commissioner Lila Jaber of the Florida Public Service Commission and Commissioner Thomas Dunleavy of the New York Public Service Commission were appointed to serve as state representatives, replacing Pat Wood, former Chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission, and the late Laska Schoenfelder, former Commissioner of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. See, FCC release [PDF].
Friday, July 13
12:30 PM. FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani will address the Alliance for Community Media on public, educational, and governmental access channels in an era of consolidation and technological change in the cable industry. Location: Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth St, NW, Washington DC.
Monday, July 16
1:00 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee will hold a hearing on security risks for the e-consumer. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
8th Circuit Rules in Trademark Case
7/12. The U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir) issued its opinion in National Association for Healthcare Communications v. Central Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, a case brought under the Lanham Act and state law to determine which party has the superior right to use the service mark "CareLink" in Arkansas.
Crime on the Internet
7/12. The U.S. Court of Appeals (1stCir) issued its opinion in USA v. Brunette, a criminal case involving the validity of search warrants used to seize evidence of child pormography located on computers and in other locations. Affirmed.
7/12. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in USA v. Bautista, a criminal case involving sentencing for traveling in interstate commerce with the intent and for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423(b). Defendant had communicated in an Internet chat room with an undercover police officer posing as a 13 year old. The Appeals Court vacated the sentence on the grounds that it was too light.
More News
7/12. Napster settled the lawsuit filed against it by rock band Metallica for copyright infringement. See, Napster release and Metallica release.
7/10. The House Judiciary Committee issued Report No. 107-125, regarding HR 2215, the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act.
7/11. Rep. Jim Turner (D-TX) and others introduced HR 2458, a bill to enhance the management and promotion of electronic government services and processes by establishing a Federal Chief Information Officer within the Office of Management and Budget.
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