Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
November 12, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 306.
TLJ Home Page | Calendar | Back Issues
Senate Bill Includes Tax Credits for Broadband Deployment
11/8. The Senate Finance Committee passed the Economic Recovery and Assistance for American Workers Act of 2001, by a party line vote of 11 to 10. See, full text [240 pages in PDF] and one page committee summary [PDF]. This bill is described by Democrats, who voted for it, as the "economic stimulus bill".
This version of the bill includes the language of S 88, the Broadband Internet Access Act of 2001, which offers tax credits to incent the deployment of broadband Internet access facilities in rural, underserved, and residential areas. S 88 was introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) early this year, and now has 63 cosponsors in the Senate.
Specifically, it provides a tax credit of 10% of expenditures related to deployment of Internet access facilities that provide transmission of signals at a rate of at least 1,000,000 bits per second (bps) to the subscriber and at least 128,000 bps from the subscriber, when service is provided to rural or underserved subscribers. It provides a tax credit of 20% of expenditures related to deployment of Internet access facilities that provide transmission of signals at a rate of at least 22,000,000 bps to the subscriber and at least 5,000,000 bps from the subscriber, when service is provided in rural, underserved, or residential subscribers. See, Section 902 of the bill, at pages 214 - 232.
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans had this reaction to the bill in general: "The bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee is a spending bill, not a stimulus bill. We must do better. The President's plan recognizes and respects different viewpoints and offers a balanced approach that provides short term relief for those who have lost their job and the promise of a long-term recovery. Congress needs to act." See, DOC release.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) praised the bill. It stated that "TIA estimates that its broadband provisions would have a stimulative impact to the economy of about $2 billion in increased investment. The accelerated broadband deployment in turn would have further economic reverberations through increases, for example, in electronic commerce and sales of computer hardware and software." TIA release.
SEC Chairman Addresses Securities Regulation and Technology
11/9. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey Pitt gave a speech regarding securities regulation in Boca Raton, Florida, to the Securities Industry Association annual meeting. He addresses several technology related topics. He advocated planning for terrorist attacks on the communications and computer infrastructures used by the securities industry. He also stated that "new ideas and technology must be confident of prompt and intelligent consideration" by the SEC. Finally, he reiterated his intent to create a CTO position at the SEC.
Critical Infrastructure. Chairman Pitt began by discussing the terrorist attacks of September 11. He enumerated several precautions that should be taken by the securities industry. He stated that "wherever possible, business continuity planning should seek to avoid reliance on single points of failure in critical systems. Single points of failure can occur in ways that are unforeseen, and even odd. The lines of competing telecom providers may all lie side by side in old, obscure conduits. Advanced electronic trading systems may require air conditioning, which is run on city steam in older buildings. These risk exposures must be identified and planned around." He also stated that "critical functions need backup capabilities with fail over functionality allowing rapid recovery. For significant securities firms, these backup facilities should encompass trading and institutional sales operations, as well as back office systems."
Regulatory Response to New Technologies. Pitt also addressed regulatory response to new technologies. He stated that "If government is to perform its critical role, new ideas and technology must be confident of prompt and intelligent consideration, with government taking an active interest in facilitating new ideas, not evidencing fear or uncertainty, leading to institutional paralysis, in resolving the thorny regulatory problems that often arise when we are presented with new products, new technology and new markets."
SEC Chief Technology Officer. Finally, Pitt stated: "In the same vein, I believe that we need to create a new position of Chief Technology Officer. As more and more markets reflect wholly electronic communications and interaction, for example, the Commission is in desperate need of the expertise to understand, inspect and review foundational algorithms. You and I both know how far the Commission needs to travel to reach that point of minimal technological competence."
NTIA Chief Addresses Spectrum Market and 3G
11/9. Nancy Victory, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), gave a speech at a conference titled "Practical Steps to Spectrum Markets". She recited a range of policy questions faced by the NTIA and other government entities regarding spectrum management. However, she offered little guidance regarding either her views, or actions likely to be taken by the NTIA.
Victory stated that there "is a growing concern that perhaps our general spectrum management policies are outdated and in need of review. Is the current spectrum allocation approach based upon use too constricting and impractical for today's spectrum environment? Should a more free market approach be used? Should licensees be granted full property rights in their spectrum? These are all intriguing questions that should be fully discussed and considered. We at NTIA are committed to a comprehensive review of spectrum management policies in an effort to find practical and appropriate solutions."
Victory also stated that she will convene a "Spectrum Summit early next year to solicit out of the box ideas". It will address the "merits and details of market based management, property or other rights, spectrum flexibility, trading, auction theory and design, and 'commons approaches.' "
She spoke at the conclusion of a half day program on spectrum management issues jointly hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Brookings Institute.
DOJ Allows Monitoring of Attorney Client Communications Used to Further Terrorist Acts
10/31. The Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons (BOP) published a notice in the Federal Register stating that it has adopted an interim rule regarding monitoring of communications by detainees of the Bureau of Prisons. It provides that the Attorney General may order the monitoring of attorney client communications of detainees whom he suspects are using those communications to further a terrorist act. See, Federal Register, October 31, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 211, at Pages 55061 - 55066.
The BOP interim rule provides, in part, that "In any case where the Attorney General specifically so orders, based on information from the head of a federal law enforcement or intelligence agency that reasonable suspicion exists to believe that a particular inmate may use communications with attorneys or their agents to further or facilitate acts of terrorism, the Director, Bureau of Prisons, shall, in addition to the special administrative measures imposed under paragraph (a) of this section, provide appropriate procedures for the monitoring or review of communications between that inmate and attorneys or attorneys' agents who are traditionally covered by the attorney client privilege, for the purpose of deterring future acts that could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons, or substantial damage to property that would entail the risk of death or serious bodily injury to persons."
The interim rule further requires notice to both the detainee and his attorney that communications are being monitored, and a statement that "communications between the inmate and attorneys or their agents are not protected by the attorney client privilege if they would facilitate criminal acts or a conspiracy to commit criminal acts, or if those communications are not related to the seeking or providing of legal advice".
The DOJ also requests public comments on this interim rule. Comments are due by December 31, 2001. Send comments to: Rules Unit, Office of the General Counsel, Bureau of Prisons, HOLC Room 754, 320 First Street, NW., Washington, DC 20534.
Sen. Leahy Complains of Violation of Attorney Client Privilege
11/9. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote an angry letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft about the BOP interim rule. He complained about this "unilateral executive decision to authorize interception of privileged attorney client communications between detained persons and their lawyers." He added that "I am deeply troubled at what appears to be an executive effort to exercise new powers without judicial scrutiny or statutory authorization."
"Since we provided you with new statutory authorities in the USA PATRIOT Act, I have felt a growing concern that the trust and cooperation Congress provided is proving to be a one-way street. You have declined several requests to appear before the Committee to answer questions and have not responded to requests to provide information on such basic points as the number of people -- according to some Department of Justice reports, more than a thousand -- currently detained without trial and without specific criminal charges under your authority."
Sen. Leahy's letter also propounded seven questions to be answered by the Attorney General, including, how is it that this interim rule is constitutional?, "What statutory authority supports such interceptions?", and "What opportunity for prior judicial authorization and judicial review will there be of the legality of such interceptions?"
Sen. Byrd Opposes TPA, New WTO Round, and Crassitude
11/9. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), one of the leading protectionists in the Senate, gave a long winded speech in the Senate in which he opposed both legislation to give the President trade promotion authority, and a new WTO round.
"How crass. How crass," said Sen. Byrd. "To denominate fast track as 'trade promotion authority' is the acme of crassitude. Hear me down there at the other end of the avenue: The acme of crassitude! To denominate fast track legislation as trade promotion authority, or by its acronym, TPA, is the acme of crassitude. One might better interpret the acronym TPA as standing for 'tactic to prevent amendments' ".
The House Ways and Means Committee passed HR 3005, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001, by a vote of 26 to 13 on October 9. It is sponsored by Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), Rep. Cal Dooley (D-CA), and others. Trade promotion authority (TPA), which is also known as fast track, gives the President authority to negotiate trade agreements which can only be voted up or down, but not amended, by the Congress. TPA strengthens the bargaining position of the President, and the U.S. Trade Representative, in negotiations with other nations.
Technology companies that export equipment, software, or services, and that seek greater protection abroad for their intellectual property rights, stand to benefit from enactment of TPA.
Sen. Byrd also stated that "I question whether, in the current international climate, we should even desire to have a new global trade round."
Sen. Byrd is also known for his classical allusions. "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him," said Sen. Byrd. "Mr. President, I come to bury fast track authority, not to praise it!"
Representatives Back TPA
11/8. Rep. John Linder (R-GA) spoke in the House in support of TPA. He stated that "Trade promotion authority allows trade agreements to be considered as congressional executive agreements. These agreements represent procedural compromises. The President forgoes his ability to single handedly negotiate treaties and, instead, agrees to consult closely with the Congress to ensure that congressional priorities are heard. Congress, in turn, commits to an up or down vote, but waives the right to offer amendments. Some of my colleagues seem to think that our inability to offer amendments is too great a sacrifice. What then is the alternative? Without TPA, the President would unilaterally negotiate a treaty which would then be presented solely to the Senate for ratification. This obviously begs the question where is the House. The answer, absent. Without TPA we have no role, no authority, and no voice in trade agreements. This is the people's House. Do not let our voice be silenced. Support TPA." See, Congressional Record, November 8, 2001, at pages H7913-4.
11/8. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) spoke in the House in support of trade promotion authority. He stated that "Software publishers, broadcasting and telecommunications services employ another 130,000 people in California, a number which would grow if new trade agreements that would reduce barriers to services and tariffs on industrial products and agriculture are signed. The services sector needs successful trade negotiations that expand substantially opportunities for U.S. trade in services. Trade negotiating authority plays a crucial role in our country's ability to negotiate, and implement, these negotiations; and so we need to move these negotiations along." See, Congressional Record, November 8, 2001, at pages H7914.
11/8. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) spoke in support of TPA, on agricultural grounds. See, Congressional Record, November 8, 2001, at page H7915.
House Subcommittee Considers Market Power and Intellectual Property
11/8. The House Judiciary Committee's Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Committee held a hearing on market power and intellectual property. The Subcommittee considered whether legislation is necessary to make clear that holding a patent or copyright does not create a presumption of market power for the purposes of antitrust law analysis. Representatives of the IPO and ABA said that such legislation is necessary. Rep. Boucher argued that it is not. Other members of the subcommittee focused on emerging antitrust and intellectual property issues involved in the delivery of music over the Internet.
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, presided. He summarized the issue: "It is alleged that federal court litigation has resulted in a series of cases and judge made law on the subject of market power that prejudices copyright, patent, and trade secret holders. Market power is defined as the power to control prices or to exclude competition. The issue is whether the courts have promulgated an overly harsh standard regarding the presumption of market power. Some legal observers argue that the situation in courts has worsened since Congress first examined this area more than a decade ago and a legislative remedy is need. Other scholars counter argue that the frustration over the handful of cases on this subject is exaggerated."
He also referenced the Supreme Court's decision in Jefferson Parish v. Hyde, 466 U.S. 2 (1984), in which the five member majority wrote that "if the Government has granted the seller a patent or similar monopoly over a product, it is fair to presume that the inability to buy the product elsewhere gives the seller market power." (See, 466 U.S. at page 16.)
Rep. Coble also observed that "several distinguished members of this Committee, including the late Hamilton Fish, the distinguished gentleman from New York, as well as Chairman Henry Hyde, and I believe, Sen. Leahy as well, have pursued bills to address the issue we explore today."
There is no legislation pending now. Rather, supporters of legislation refer back to bills such as HR 2674, the Intellectual Property Antitrust Protection Act of 1995, from the 104th Congress. This bill, which did not become law, provided that "In any action in which the conduct of an owner, licensor, licensee, or other holder of an intellectual property right is alleged to be in violation of the antitrust laws in connection with the marketing or distribution of a product or service protected by such a right, such right shall not be presumed to define a market, to establish market power (including economic power and product uniqueness or distinctiveness), or to establish monopoly power." (Parentheses in original.) That bill was sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). Among its cosponsors were Rep. Coble and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the current Chairman of the full committee.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee, stated at the hearing that "I can see reasonable policy arguments both for and against the continued existence of this presumption. Thus, I remain open to being convinced by our witnesses that legislation is necessary to overturn the presumption."
Rep. Berman also stated that antitrust and intellectual property law are not in conflict. Rather, he stated that they "serve the same goals, namely, promoting competition and benefiting consumers. That is not to say the IP owners may not commit antitrust violations in the course of exploiting their intellectual property rights."
However, he continued that "I know of no reason to believe that antitrust violations by IP owners occur with any greater frequency than similar violations in other industries In fact, IP owners may just as often may be the victims of antitrust violations. Creators of copyrighted works, like film, software, and music and books, must often rely on third parties to distribute, perform, and otherwise find a market for their works. Those distribution channels have a history of consolidation and vertical integration, and may even be owned by competitors. Thus, owners of distribution channels can potentially commit antitrust violations against copyright owners. Similarly, copyright owners may often find themselves relying on third parties, such as device manufacturers, for protection of their copyrighted works. To the extend antitrust law is interpreted to prevent such such third parties from cooperating to protect copyrighted works, it may be straying from the pro consumer and pro competitive goals both antitrust and intellectual property law."
The Subcommittee heard from only two witnesses, Ron Myrick, President of the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO), and Charles Baker, Chairman of the American Bar Association (ABA) section on intellectual property. Both advocated passing legislation.
IPO Testimony. Myrick said that there is a "distressing dilution of intellectual property rights." He argued that mere possession of a patent or other IPR is insufficient to create market power. He elaborated that "In markets for toaster, cameras, and home computers, for example, most products contain patented features but still face vigorous competition from viable substitutes."
He also said that exclusive intellectual property rights create incentives for innovators and investors, particularly in the high tech industry. This incentive, said Myrick, "is significantly reduced or undermined if the reward for innovation and disclosure simultaneously saddles the innovator with a presumption of market power."
Myrick continued that "The possibility that a presumption of market power will deter innovation has become even more likely in light of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Image Technical Services, Inc. v. Eastman Kodak Co., 125 F.3d 1195 (1997), which held that, when a seller has market power, his mere refusal to license a patented product to a competitor can violate section 2 of the Sherman Act." He acknowledged that other courts have reached different results, but added that "the decisions of the Ninth Circuit affect the legal rights of over 50 million people living in nine western states -- an area that includes much of our nation's high tech industries ..."
Myrick also addressed the Microsoft antitrust case. He stated that the courts "have continued to misunderstand intellectual property rights. In United States v. Microsoft, for example, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia compared an intellectual property owner's exercise of the right to exclude with tortious use of a baseball bat."
ABA Testimony. Charles Baker of the ABA also testified in favor of legislation. In 1990 the ABA adopted a resolution stating that it "favors in principal legislation ... which provides that intellectual property rights shall not be presumed to define a market or to establish market power in actions under the antitrust laws". See, prepared testimony.
He said that "such presumptions are arbitrary, ignoring real world facts, they have no basis from the point of view of either intellectual property or antitrust law, and they lower incentives created by intellectual property law to invest in new jobs and new industrial facilities based on technological advances."
ATR/FTC Guidelines. The subcommittee did not hear testimony from any representative of the Copyright Office, USPTO, Antitrust Division, or FTC. However, in 1995 the Antitrust Division and FTC adopted Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property which provide that "The Agencies will not presume that a patent, copyright, or trade secret necessarily confers market power upon its owner. Although the intellectual property right confers the power to exclude with respect to the specific product, process, or work in question, there will often be sufficient actual or potential close substitutes for such product, process, or work to prevent the exercise of market power."
Rep. Boucher's Opposition. In sharp contrast to the testimony of Myrick and Baker, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) argued that their legislative proposals are unnecessary. He stated: "I am a little bit perplexed about why we need to pass the bill. ... Let me start by asking just a baseline question. Would you agree that in the seminal Supreme Court treatment of this subject, which is the Jefferson Parish decision of 1984, that the Court basically said that this presumption of market power only arises when there is a showing that there is no alternative source for the product?" He continued that "Joel Klein, representing the Justice Department was here in 1996 when this same bill had been placed before the Committee. ... He said, 'In addition to case law, the vast majority of antitrust scholars and commentators for many years have concluded that the mere existence of a mere patent, copyright or trade secret does not necessarily confer market power upon its owner.' And then he went on to say, and he concluded his testimony by saying, 'So strong is the consensus on this point that it raises the question as to whether this bill is really necessary.' "
Rep. Boucher also stated that "It would appear to me that the Supreme Court's decision in 1984 basically said that unless the plaintiff can demonstrate no alternative source for the product, there is no presumption of market power merely by virtue of the presence of an intellectual property interest." Rep. Boucher continued that there has been no case law since 1984 holding that there is a presumption of market power in the absence of a showing of no alternative source.
"I really don't perceive a need to adopt this legislation," Rep. Boucher concluded. "I am concerned that if we pass this, in the absence of a clear need to do it, it is a change to the nation's antitrust laws. We make those changes very sparingly, and for good reason, because when we make a change it is going to be interpreted by the courts to mean something. And, if the Supreme Court, which already says that there is no presumption in the absence of a showing of lack of substitutable product, sees that we have gone ahead and made this change anyway, I am just concerned about how our action is going to be interpreted, and whether, for example, it is going to make it more difficult to establish market power in appropriate cases, where it really does exist. That will now become a burden upon the plaintiff in those instances. And, I am also concerned about what effect this change might have on collateral, well settled, antitrust policy, such as, for example, the abuse intellectual property concept."
PressPlay and MusicNet. Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) began by stating that "owners of intellectual property should have the inherent right to control how that property is used." He then launched into a discussion of antitrust and intellectual property issues associated with online music.
He said this: "While I recognize that the purpose of this hearing is to address patent issues, I would like to take a moment to delve into the related topic of copyright in this context. The music industry is struggling with these issues as we speak. I have heard the collaboration among the major record labels to create two entities to address online music sales and distribution, known as PressPlay and MusicNet. These two ventures will control approximately 80% of the digital music content available online by cross licensing each others' content. Recently, Vivendi CEO Edgar Bronfman explained how he hoped their candidate, PressPlay, will work. He said 'PressPlay has what we call an affiliate model, where we determine the price and we offer a percentage of that price to the retailing partner, in this case, either Microsoft or Yahoo or MP3. The reason we have chosen that, frankly, is because we are concerned that the continuing devaluation of music will proceed unabated unless we do something about it. If you allow an AOL or a RealNetwork or a Microsoft or others who have very different business models to use music to promote their own business model, and simply pay the artists and the record companies the minimums, they can advantage themselves on the back of the music industry in a way which continues to devalue music. We don't want to see that happen.' The end of his quote. Do you see antitrust concerns in such an environment where two collaborative efforts are able to control 80% of the market to prevent the so called price devaluation that Mr. Bronfman intends?"
Rep. Cannon and Rep. Boucher are the sponsors of HR 2724, the Music Online Competition Act (MOCA), which deals with this topic. Myrick ducked the question by promising to submit further written testimony later. However, he said that tradition section one Sherman Act analysis would suffice. Baker said that "I think the Congress has got to study this and keep the right balance between the rights" of owners and the public.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) attempted to question the witnesses about what affect the "traditional definition of market power has in the digital environment" and whether there is a "multiplier effect" in "a world where communications are in a network". The witnesses had no answers.
Information Tech Is Foundation of Long Term Growth
11/8. Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson gave a speech in which he stated that the "longer term prospects for the U.S. economy remain sound, just as they were before September 11. Our flexible markets, entrepreneurial spirit, well educated work force, and major advances in information technology provide a sound foundation for the long term growth of productivity, employment, and standards of living." He spoke in Washington DC to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants National Conference on Banks and Savings Institutions. The title was "Certified Public Accountants: Partners in Financial Stability."
Hollings Tauzin Bill Would Bar Foreign Government Control of U.S. Telecoms
11/8. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) introduced HR 3268 in the House. Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) introduced S 1668 in the Senate. These are companion bills titled the "Foreign Government Ownership Act of 2001". Both bills would prevent companies controlled by foreign governments from obtaining any FCC license. They would have the effect of preventing companies such as Deutsche Telekom from acquiring U.S. telecommunications companies.
Specifically, these bills would amend Title 47 by adding a new section 715 that would provide that "no license, permit, or operating authority under this Act may be granted to or held by a corporation, joint venture, partnership, other business organization, trust, or other entity ... if that corporation, joint venture, partnership, other business organization, trust, or other entity is directly or indirectly controlled by a foreign government or its representative ..."
These bills then define "directly or indirectly controlled" as either "more than 25 percent of the ownership, voting rights, capital stock, or other interest in that corporation", "a foreign government or its representatives has the authority to approve or disapprove the appointment or employment of any officer of the corporation", or "a foreign government or its representative has the authority to exercise control over such corporation, joint venture, partnership, other business organization, trust, or other entity in any other manner".
These bills are revisions of a bill Sen. Hollings introduced in the 106th Congress -- S 2793.
Sen. Hollings stated that his bill would "bar outright the transfer or issuance of telecommunications licenses to providers who are more than 25 percent owned by a foreign government. It would also bar the transfer of such licenses to companies controlled by a foreign government. My reasons for introducing this legislation have not changed from last year. Nevertheless the events of the past year confirm more than ever my conviction that foreign governments should not be permitted to own U.S. telecommunications licenses." See, Congressional Record, November 8, 2001, at page S11625.
Monday, Nov 12
Veterans' Day. The House will not meet. The Senate will not meet. The FCC will be closed.
Day one of a three day meeting of the ICANN titled "Security and Stability of the Internet Naming and Address Allocation Systems". Location: Marina Beach Marriott, Marina del Rey, California.
10:00 AM. There will be a press conference titled "U.S. Internet Council State of the Internet Report". For more information, contact Mark Rhoades at 703 536-5770. Location: Lisagor Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC.
Tuesday, Nov 13
The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and 2:00 PM for legislative business. No recorded votes are expected before 6:30 PM. The House will consider a number of measures under suspension of the rules.
The Senate will meet at 10:30 AM. It will likely take up SJRes 28.
Day two of a three day meeting of the ICANN titled "Security and Stability of the Internet Naming and Address Allocation Systems". Location: Marina Beach Marriott, Marina del Rey, California.
Deadline to submit applications to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for grants to finance the acquisition, construction and installation of equipment, facilities and systems to provide dial-up Internet access services in rural areas. This is a $2 Million pilot program to encourage entities to provide Internet service in areas where it is unavailable. See, notice in Federal Register, August 15, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 158, at Pages 42836 - 42838.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine homeland defense issues, focusing on sharing information with local law enforcement. The witnesses will be Thomas Carey (FBI), Bernard Kerik (Commissioner, NYC Police), and Martin O'Malley (Mayor of Baltimore). Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
5:30 PM. The House Rules Committee will meet regarding the conference report on HR 2500, the Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary Appropriations Act for FY 2002. This includes funding most of the technology related agencies and departments, including the USPTO, FCC, FTC, DOJ, NTIA, NIST, BXA, and SEC.
Wednesday, Nov 14
The House will likely take up HR 2500, the Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary Appropriations Act for FY 2002 Conference Report. This includes funding most of the technology related agencies and departments, including the USPTO, FCC, FTC, DOJ, NTIA, NIST, BXA, and SEC.
8:15 AM - 7:00 PM. Day one of a two day conference hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Northwestern University Law School titled Securities Regulation in the Global Internet Economy. See, SEC release. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street NW, Washington DC.
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Cato Institute will host a conference titled The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age. See, online conference program. Location: Cato Institute, corner of Massachusetts Ave. NW and 10th St., Washington DC.
Day three of a three day meeting of the ICANN titled "Security and Stability of the Internet Naming and Address Allocation Systems". Location: Marina Beach Marriott, Marina del Rey, California.
8:30 AM. The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) will host a day long event titled "Public Policy Forum: International E-Commerce & Internet Regulation." See, online brochure. Location: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street NW (at Connecticut Ave.), Washington DC.
9:00 AM. Day one of a two day meeting of the Bureau of Export Administration's Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC). The ISTAC advises the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration on technical questions that affect the level of export controls applicable to information systems equipment and technology. Part of this meeting will be opened to the public, and part will be closed. The items on the open session agenda include Intel IA64 Roadmap, Applied Micro Devices (AMD) Roadmap, ultra wide band (UWB) technology, and membership coverage of control list categories 3 (electronics), 4 (computers), and 5 (telecommunications and information security). Location: Hoover Building, Room 3884, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, NW., Washington DC. See, notice in Federal Register, October 30, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 210, at Pages 54749 - 54750.
10:00 The Senate Judiciary Committee's Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine new technologies for terrorism prevention, focusing on biometric identifiers. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will preside. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Mass Media Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speaker will be Ken Ferree, Chief of the FCC's Cable Services Bureau. Location: National Association of Broadcasters, ground floor conference room, 1771 N Street, NW, Washington, DC.
2:00 PM. FTC Chairman Timothy Muris will participate in a panel discussion at the American Bar Association Presidential Showcase Program titled "Antitrust Initiatives in Europe and the United States." Location: Willard Hotel, Washington DC.
3:00 - 5:00 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion on the book Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization (Amazon). The participants will be Claude Barfield (author), Christopher DeMuth (AEI), Robert Keohane (Duke), John Jackson (Georgetown University Law School), and Stephen Krasner (Stanford). Location: AEI, Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW, Washington DC.
More Bills Introduced
11/8. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced HR 3257, a bill to limit the antitrust exemption applicable to broadcasting agreements made by professional sports leagues. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
11/8. Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-MI) introduced HR 3266, a bill to amend Title 18 (criminal code) to prohibit unauthorized trafficking in personal DNA information. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Reports on Bills
11/9. A conference committee issued its conference report HR 2500, the FY 2002 appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and related agencies. This includes funding for most of the technology related departments and agencies, including the Antitrust Division, FTC, FCC, NTIA, BXA, SEC, and NIST. See, Report No. 107-278.
11/8. The Senate Judiciary Committee issued its report on S 1319, a bill to authorize appropriations for the Department of Justice for FY 2002. See, Report No. 107-96.
USPTO Announcement Re Mail Delays
11/9. The USPTO issued a statement that since October 21, 2001 it "has been experiencing an interruption in delivery of United States Mail sent to our 20231 zip code." The USPTO added that if it "begins to receive this mail in large batches, it may create internal processing delays. These delays may remain in effect until the USPTO is able to eliminate any backlogs which have been created. For time sensitive correspondence (e.g., after final amendments) that were mailed during the last few weeks, it may be desirable to contact the examiner or TC Customer Service Center to determine whether the paper has been received and whether alternative delivery options (e.g., facsimile) should be considered. Under such circumstances, the normal guidance against duplicate papers is not applicable." The announcement also addresses alternative methods of delivery, including express mail, fax, and hand delivery.
People and Appointments
11/5. Global Crossing named Mike McDuffie VP for Federal Programs. He is a retired Army general and former director for logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the U.S. Department of Defense. See, release.
11/8. The Senate confirmed Jay Stephens to be Associate Attorney General.
More News
11/8. The U.S. District Court (DDC) issued an order [PDF] regarding further procedures and deadlines in the the Microsoft antitrust case.
11/5. Albert Foer, President of the American Antitrust Institute, sent a letter to Charles James, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division opposing the EchoStar DirecTV merger.
11/9. The House Government Reform Committee's Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee held a hearing titled "Have Federal Agencies Failed to Protect Their Computer Systems?" See, prepared testimony [PDF] of Robert Dacey of the GAO titled "Computer Security: Improvements Needed to Reduce Risk to Critical Federal Operations and Assets".
11/9. IBM announced that IBM and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) to expand IBM's Blue Gene research project. IBM and NNSA's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will jointly design a new supercomputer in the Blue Gene family -- named Blue Gene/L -- that IBM expects to operate at about 200 teraflops (200 trillion operations per second). See, IBM release.
Starting on January 1, 2002, the Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will be a subscription based service. All persons who have already subscribed, or who subscribe before December 31, 2001, will be kept on the subscription list until December 31, 2001. The basic rate for a subscription is $250 per year. However, there are discounts for entities with multiple subscribers. Free one month trial subscriptions are available. Also, free subscriptions are available for law students, journalists, elected officials, and employees of the Congress, courts, executive branch. The TLJ web site will remain a free access web site. No hyperlinks will be broken. However, copies of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert and news items will not be published in the web site until one month after writing. See, subscription information page.
About Tech Law Journal
Tech Law Journal is a free access web site and e-mail alert that provides news, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer and Internet industry. This e-mail service is offered free of charge to anyone who requests it. Just provide TLJ an e-mail address.

Number of subscribers: 2,244.
Contact: 202-364-8882; E-mail.
P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.
Privacy Policy
Notices & Disclaimers
Copyright 1998 - 2001 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.