|Starting on January 2, 2002, the Tech Law Journal Daily
E-Mail Alert will be a paid subscription publication.
Current free subscribers 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 will
be available. Also, free subscriptions are available for law
students, journalists, elected officials, and federal and
state government employees. 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copies of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert and news items will not
be published in the web site until one month after writing.
|Senators Introduce Telework
Tax Credit Bill
|12/19. Sen. John Kerry
(D-MA), Sen. Conrad Burns
(R-MT), Sen. Jon Corzine
(D-NJ), and Sen. Max
Baucus (D-MT) introduced S 1856, the Teleworking
Advancement Act. This bill would amend the Internal Revenue
Code to provide tax credits to incent employer and employee
participation in telework arrangements. The bill was referred
to the Senate
Finance Committee, of which Sen. Baucus is the Chairman.
Sen. Kerry addressed the bill in the Senate. He said that
"millions of American workers participate in ``telework´´
arrangements, otherwise known as telecommuting, which allow
them to work outside of their normal work location." He
said that "Our legislation combines tax incentives and an
employer awareness campaign to stimulate further growth in
He elaborated that the bill would credit two tax credits.
First, "The employer telework tax credit would allow
employers to claim a credit of up to $500 for each employee
who participates in an employer sponsored telework arrangement
during the taxable year. For employees who telework on a
partial basis, the credit would be prorated. Employees of
small businesses, those with 100 or fewer employees, and
disabled employees, as defined by the Americans with
Disabilities Act, would be eligible for a maximum credit of
Second, "The telework equipment tax credit would allow
individuals or businesses to claim a credit equal to 10
percent of qualified telework expenses paid, pursuant to an
employer sponsored telework arrangement. Either the employer
or the employee, depending on who incurred the expense, would
be eligible for the credit. The maximum credit would be $500.
For employees of small businesses (those with 100 or fewer
employees) and disabled employees, as defined by the Americans
with Disabilities Act, the credit would be 20 percent of
eligible expenses, with a maximum credit of $1,000. Qualified
telework expenses includes expenses paid or incurred for
computers, software, modems, telecommunications equipment, and
access to Internet or broadband technologies, including
applicable taxes and other expenses for the delivery,
installation, or maintenance of such equipment."
See, Kerry statement in Congressional Record, December 19,
2001, at pages S13710-1.
|People and Appointments
|12/20. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Paul
Atkins to be a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), for the remainder of a five year term expiring on June
5, 2003. He is currently a partner in the Washington DC office
of PWC. He was previously a
partner in the Washington DC office of Coopers & Lybrand.
Before that, he was an attorney, Counsel, Chief of Staff, and
Counselor at the SEC. And before that, he was an associate at
the law firm of Davis Polk &
Wardwell. See, White
12/20. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Cynthia
Glassman to be a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), for the remainder of a five year term expiring on June
5, 2006. She is currently a principal at Ernst & Young. Before that,
she worked at Furash & Company. From 1977 through 1986 she
worked at the Federal
Reserve System in several positions, including Economist
and Senior Economist.
12/20. The Association for
Local Telecommunications Services (ALTS) announced changes
to its Executive Committee. Roscoe Young, P/COO of KMC
Telecom, will be the new Chairman. Dan Moffat, P/CEO of
New Edge Networks, will be First Vice Chair. Robert Taylor,
P/CEO of Focal Communications, will be Executive Vice Chair.
|BellSouth Withdraws 271
Application in Georgia & Louisiana
announced that it is withdrawing its applications with the FCC
pursuant to Section
271 to provide long distance service in Georgia and
FCC Chairman Michael Powell
released a statement
in which he said that "The FCC cannot approve such
applications by the Bell Companies unless they satisfy the
requirements of section 271 of the Communications Act."
He continued that "questions remain regarding whether
BellSouth has satisfied the rigorous requirements of the
statute and our precedents, including the adequacy of the
company's operational support systems, the integrity of its
performance data and its change management process, and
related issues. We look forward to working with the company
and with the Georgia and Louisiana utility commissions to
provide them with any additional guidance they need to
understand and satisfy the demanding requirements in this
Margaret Greene, President - Regulatory & External Affairs
for BellSouth, stated that "When we asked the FCC in
October for permission to sell long distance services in
Georgia and Louisiana, we were armed with the unqualified
endorsements of the Georgia and Louisiana public service
commissions. We believed that we had built a very solid case
that presented compelling evidence of BellSouth's compliance
with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ... We still believe
this is true; however, we will comply with the FCC's request
for additional information to supplement the record and
believe that this will result in a timely and decisive
Groups representing CLECs
expressed approval of the withdrawal. Russell Frisby,
President of CompTel,
said in a release
that "The FCC's request for BellSouth to provide
additional information sends a clear message to the Bell
companies that their business tactics to delay and block
competitive carriers will not succeed." See also, ALTS
|NIPC Warns of Vulnerability
in Windows XP
|12/20. The FBI's NIPC
issued its Advisory
01-030, titled "Universal Plug and Play
Vulnerabilities". It states that the "The NIPC is
tracking what Microsoft refers to as a critical vulnerability
in the universal plug and play (UPnP) service in Windows XP,
Millennium Edition (ME), and Windows 98 or 98SE systems. This
vulnerability could lead to denial of service attacks and
system compromise.." See, Microsoft's
page with information and patches. It states that
"Microsoft strongly urges all Windows XP customers to
apply the patch immediately." See also, eEye Digital
|Second Circuit Affirms in
Sprint v. Connecticut Siting Council
|12/17. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion
Spectrum v. Connecticut Siting Council,
affirming the judgment of the U.S. District Court (DConn)
which declared that the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) erred
when it interpreted the provisions of Connecticut General
Statutes § 16-50i(a)(6) to exclude from its jurisdiction the
telecommunications towers and associated equipment used in
Sprint's PCS systems and that CSC did have such jurisdiction,
and ordering CSC to accept, process and act upon requests for
authority to construct such telecommunications towers and
associated equipment in the same manner as other applicants in
|12/20. The House and Senate passed HConRes 295, a resolution
providing for the sine die adjournment of the first session of
the 107th Congress. The House and Senate are scheduled to
reconvene for the second session in late January.
Before adjourning, the House passed the economic stimulus bill
by a vote of 224 to 193 during an all night session that
stretched into December 20. See, Roll
Call No. 509. However, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD)
prevented it from coming to a vote in the Senate. This bill,
HR 3529, is named the Economic Security and Worker
Nor did the Congress pass legislation implementing the
NextWave settlement agreement before adjourning. The agreement
requires passage of legislation by December 31, 2001.
The adjournment also leaves pending many other tech related
bills, including the Tauzin Dingell bill, and bills pertaining
to spam, tax credits for broadband deployment, distance
learning, Internet gambling, and trade promotion authority.
|Xerox v. Palm
|12/20. The U.S.
District Court (WDNY) ruled that Palm's Graffiti
handwriting technology for hand held computers infringes a
Xerox patent. Palm promptly announced that it will appeal.
Xerox is the assignee of U.S.
Patent No. 5,596,656, which is titled "Unistrokes for
Computerized Interpretation of Handwriting." Xerox filed
a complaint in federal Court in Rochester, New York, against
3Com Corporation, U.S. Robotics Corporation, U.S. Robotics
Access Corporation, and Palm
Computing, Inc. claiming that the Graffiti software in its
PalmPilot line of hand held computers infringed its unistrokes
Eric Benhamou, Ch/CEO of Palm, said in a release
that "We assert that the Graffiti handwriting technology
does not infringe the Xerox patent and that Palm has strong
arguments to support its defense ... Palm will defend itself
vigorously and does not intend for this litigation to affect
its business strategy or business model nor that of its
|Federal Circuit Affirms in
Interactive Pictures v. Infinite
|12/20. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Interactive
Pictures v. Infinite Pictures, a patent
infringement case. Interactive Pictures is the holder of U.S.
Patent 5,185,667, titled "Omniview motionless camera
orientation system". It filed a complaint in U.S.
District Court (EDTenn) against Infinite Pictures (formerly
known as Omniview) alleging patent infringement, based on the
doctrine of equivalents. Infinite asserted invalidity. The
trial jury found the patent infringed, and not invalid. It
awarded $1 Million in damages. The Appeals Court affirmed.
|US Imposes Tariffs on
Ukraine for Failure to Protect IPR
|12/20. The Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. is
imposing tariffs on certain goods from the Ukraine as a result
of the Ukraine's failure to enact legislation to crack down on
sound recording and optical media piracy.
USTR Robert Zoellick stated in a release
that "The United States is moving forcefully to protect
its rights. We've worked with Ukraine over the past two years
to avoid enacting sanctions. We hope Ukraine will now redouble
its efforts to deal with intellectual property rights piracy
and pass the legislation needed to allow us to lift
The Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) and the International Intellectual
Property Alliance (IIPA) both praised the decision. RIAA
EVP Neil Turkewitz said in a release
that "Ukraine has been one of the world's leading
producers of pirate CDs, and its failure to effectively
address the situation will essentially foreclose its present
efforts to accede to the WTO. Today's action by the Rada in
rejecting legislation supported by President Kuchma and the
world trading community will have dramatic implications on
Ukrainian society at every level -- economic, political and
Eric Schwartz, Counsel to the IIPA, stated in a release
[PDF] that: "It is disappointing that bilateral trade
relations between the United States and Ukraine have been
reduced to trade sanctions and the removal of trade benefits
when we should instead be working to open markets and improve
our trade relations. But today’s action is the result of
Ukraine’s failure to take appropriate steps against illegal
production of materials in Ukraine that it pledged it would
undertake over 18 months ago. In fact, this is the culmination
of several years of unsuccessful efforts by the U.S. and
European public and private sectors to get the government of
Ukraine to take the proper steps to take some control over
unchecked optical media piracy."
|EU US Reach Music Copyright
|12/19. The EU issued a release
in which it stated that "The European Union and the
United States today agreed on a temporary solution of their
dispute over music copyright. The dispute was over the way in
which smaller bars, shops and restaurants in the US have
hitherto played music without paying royalties. Today's
agreement came during a meeting between EU Trade Commissioner
Pascal Lamy and his counterpart, US Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick. A World Trade Organisation disputes procedure
last year found in favour of the EU. ... However, the US is
still obliged to bring its legislation into line with its WTO
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal
Lamy stated in the release that "We have agreed on a
process that will result in a US financial contribution to
support projects and activities for the benefit of European
music creators ... This is a good example of how we can manage
our problems in a co-operative manner, while keeping in mind
our international obligations and commitments."
|WTO DG Moore Releases Year
|12/20. World Trade
Organization (WTO) Director General Mike Moore released a year
end message in which he reviewed WTO accomplishments of
2001, and listed some goals for 2002.
He wrote that "This has been an outstanding year for the
World Trade Organization, perhaps the most significant in our
brief history. We have concluded a successful Ministerial
Conference in Doha, Qatar and, as USTR Bob Zoellick said, '... removed
the stain of Seattle'." He added that "we have
welcomed more than a quarter of the world's population into
our membership from Lithuania, Moldova, China and Chinese
He also wrote that "We are already planning a major
Symposium in May next year which will address the concerns
expressed by some Ministers at Doha on our relations with the
public." He stated that one suggestion for the agenda is
the "impact of technology and the digital divide".
|Commissioner Copps Opposes
Copps released a statement
regarding NBC's decision to carry liquor ads. He stated that
"A race to the bottom is never pretty to watch, whether
it's a network saying that it has to show liquor ads in prime
time because they are running on cable, or whether it's a
network pushing the limits on indecency because it says it has
to compete against prurient shows on another network. Apart
from the question of whether these ads are or are not a matter
for regulation, this is most certainly an area where we could
use some sense of social responsibility, some understanding of
what is being foisted on our children, and some vision to
reach for the stars instead of plumbing the depths."
See also, December 20 statement
by Rep. Ed Markey
(D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the House Telecom
|The Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert will not be
published on Monday, December 24, Tuesday, December 25, or
Wednesday, December 26.
|Friday, Dec 21
|8:30 AM. Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) Chairman Timothy Muris will speak at the Brookings Institute
roundtable titled "Trade and Investment Policy."
Location: Brookings Institute, Falk Auditorium, 1775
Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
|Monday, Dec 24
|The FCC will be closed.
The USPTO will be closed.
Any any action or fee due Saturday, December 22, Sunday,
December 23, Monday, December 24, or Tuesday, December 25,
will be considered as timely on Wednesday, December 26, 2001.
|Senate to Hold Hearing on
Comcast AT&T Broadband and EchoStar DirecTV Mergers
|12/20. Sen. Herb Kohl
(D-WI) and Sen. Mike
DeWine (R-OH), the Chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary
Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights
& Competition, jointly announced that their Subcommittee
will hold a hearing on the proposed mergers of Comcast and
AT&T Broadband, and EchoStar and DirecTV.
The two issued a release in
which they stated that "The deal between AT&T and
Comcast, already the nation's largest and third largest cable
companies, would create a cable giant with over 21 million
subscribers. We have serious concerns about the impact that
such consolidation will have on consumers, especially given
the increasing level of concentration in the entire media
industry. Consumers already face rising cable bills, and we
fear that further concentration in this industry may only
heighten this trend. We continue to believe that more
competition, rather than additional consolidation, is needed
in this industry. We recognize, however, that this deal does
have the potential to bring cable telephony to a far greater
number of consumers, therefore bringing important and needed
competition to the local telephone market."
They added that "We anticipate holding a hearing on this
proposed merger early next year within the context of
consolidation in the subscription television market, including
a review of the proposed Echostar DirecTV deal."
The National Association of
Broadcasters (NAB), which opposes the EchoStar DirecTV
merger, issued a release
in which it states that it commissioned a public opinion poll,
and that it concluded therefrom that a majority of respondents
want the government to block the deal. The NAB stated that
respondents were asked whether they agree with the following:
"Television providers are too important to allow the
elimination of competition. The federal government should not
allow the only two satellite television companies to merge
into just one."
Robert Sachs, P/CEO of the NCTA,
said in a statement
that "The AT&T Broadband/ Comcast merger brings
together two of the top management teams in the cable business
and positions the companies well to compete with phone giants
the likes of SBC and Verizon, and the proposed EchoStar/
DirecTV direct broadcast satellite powerhouse. Consumers will
be the beneficiaries of vigorous competition between the
cable, telephone and satellite industries."
|FTC Seeks Comment on Use of
Disgorgement as Remedy
|12/20. The FTC announced that it is
seeking public comments on the use of disgorgement as a remedy
for competition violations, including those involving the Hart
Scott Rodino (HSR) Premerger Notification Act, FTC Act, and
Clayton Act. See, notice
to be published in the Federal Register. Comments are due by
March 1, 2002.
|Computer and Internet
|Auction Fraud and Threatening E-Mail. 12/18. A grand
jury of the U.S. District Court (NDCal)
returned an indictment against Herbert Derungs in connection
with allegations that he auctioned over eBay baseball bats that he
falsely claimed had belonged to Derek Jeter of the New York
Yankees and Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox. The
indictment charges fraud by wire and three counts of mail
fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343
release. The indictment also charges one count of
utilizing a telecommunications device in interstate
communications with intent to threaten and harass, in
violation of 47 U.S.C.
§ 223(a)(1)(C). This section provides that "Whoever,
... makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications
device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues,
without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy,
abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or
who receives the communications." The indictment states
that Derungs sent a threatening e-mail.
Unauthorized Access. 12/17. The USAO for the Southern
District of California announced the arrest of Stephen Suplita.
A grand jury of the U.S.
District Court (SDCal) returned an indictment against
Suplita on December 14, 2001, charging that he used his
computer to gain unauthorized access to Enjoya.com Inc.'s
computer system, and that he intentionally caused damage to
the computer system. See, USAO
PACER Hacking. 12/18. Nicholas Mamich plead guilty in U.S.
District Court (DDC) to one felony count of fraud in
connection with computers, in violation 18
U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(B). Mamich hacked into the the Public Access to Court
Electronic Records (PACER) computer system operated by the
Administrative Office of the United States Courts. PACER
maintains docket information, electronically stored case
related documents, case statistic reports, and other related
information. Specifically, Mamich devised a program that
placed hidden files on the PACER servers which bypassed the
PACER billing program, so that no charges would accrue to him
for downloading files. See, CCIPS
Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods on the Internet.
12/17. Mark Dipadova was sentenced in U.S. District Court (DSCar)
to trafficking in counterfeit goods in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2320. He operated a web site that sold
counterfeit luxury items such as Rolex and Cartier watches. He
received 24 months in prison, and was ordered to pay
$138,264.85 in restitution to the owners of the trademarks
that he infringed. Strom Thurmond Jr. is the USA for South
Carolina. See, CCIPS
|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.
Copyright 1998 - 2001 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All