|Rep. Goodlatte Introduces
Bill to Exempt ISPs from Criminal Liability
|2/12. Rep. Bob
Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced HR 3716,
the "Online Criminal Liability Standardization Act of
2002", a bill that would exempt ISPs from criminal
liability for third party content stored on their servers.
The bill provides that "no interactive computer service
provider, or corporate officer of such provider, shall be
liable for an offense against the United States arising from
such provider’s transmitting, storing, distributing, or
otherwise making available, in the ordinary course of its
business activities as an interactive computer service
provider, material provided by another person." The bill
further provides that "The liability limitation created
by this section does not apply if the defendant intended that
the service be used in the commission of the offense."
Rep. Goodlatte also issued a release which stated that
"Currently, Internet Service Providers are generally
protected from civil liability under federal and state
law for content on the Internet posted by a third party."
U.S.C. § 230, which provides, in part, that "No
provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be
treated as the publisher or speaker of any information
provided by another information content provider."
Rep. Goodlatte continued: "However, ISPs may face criminal
charges in a number of instances if one of their employees has
knowledge or reason to know of illegal activities occurring
across the service provider's system, regardless of whether
the service provider has criminal intent and can prevent the
illegal activity. In some cases, criminal liability can
occur even if the employee is simply aware that an activity is
occurring on the system, without being aware that the activity
He cited the example of BuffNET,
an ISP in New York, that was investigated and charged in
connection with pormographic content posted to a bulletin
board by third parties.
Rep. Goodlatte addressed his bill at the February 12 hearing
of the House
Judiciary Committee's Crime Subcommittee on HR 3482,
the "Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2001". He
suggested that HR 3716 be made a part of HR 3482, which
is scheduled for subcommittee mark up on February 14.
At that hearing, Clint Smith, who testified on behalf of the U.S. Internet Service Providers
Association, said that Rep. Goodlatte's bill "would
appear to be a great benefit to the ISP community." Smith
added that it would also enhance cyber security by fostering
greater cooperation among law enforcement agencies and ISPs.
Smith stated that "an impediment to cooperation is ISP
concern about liability", and that "clarity in the
legal framework will enhance cooperation".
|Netscape v. Microsoft is a
Brouhaha, Not a Tussle
|2/13. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion
Parallel North v. E Street Denim, an antitrust
case. The Appeals Court affirmed the dismissal of a private
antitrust action brought by one local retailer against
another. In so doing, the Appeals Court referenced the
antitrust complaint filed by Netscape against Microsoft last
"The Microsoft/ Netscape (Netscape's corporate parent is
AOL Time Warner) brouhaha is the sort of battle one thinks
about when considering lawsuits under federal antitrust laws.
One does not ordinarily conjure up the same sort of images
when thinking about two little retail stores in suburban
Chicago duking it out over blue jeans and T-shirts. But that's
what we've got before us on this appeal. The district judge
thought that the tussle didn't measure up as an antitrust suit
and he dismissed it. As we see it, the district judge got it
right, and his dismissal of the suit is affirmed."
Science Committee Holds Hearing on R&D Budget
|2/13. The House Science Committee
held a hearing titled "R&D Budget for Fiscal Year
2003: An Evaluation".
Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the Committee, said in
statement that "Even a casual glance at the budget
makes clear what the R&D priorities are -- biomedical
research and the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.
These are reasonable -- even self-evident -- priorities and
they deserve to be funded more generously than are other
programs. That's what it means to be a budget priority. But
I'm concerned that the proposed budget treats these items not
just as priorities, but as panaceas. And that, I fear, is a
See also, prepared statement of witnesses: John
Marburger (Director, Office of Science and Technology
Colwell (Director, National Science Foundation), Samuel
Bodman (Deputy Secretary, Department of Commerce), and Bruce
Carnes (Department of Energy).
|2/13. The National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) published in its web
site a copy of Amendment
1 to the contract with NeuStar for management of the .us
2/13. World Trade Organization
(WTO) Director General Mike Moore submitted a progress report
to the WTO's General Council regarding implementation of the
Doha Development Agenda.
2/12. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division filed
comments [28 pages in PDF] with the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of
Performance Measurements and Standards for Unbundled Network
Elements and Interconnection". It wrote that "The
adoption of a national model for performance measurement has
potential benefits. If the Commission decides to adopt a
national model, however, it should take care to build on the
continuing state efforts and ensure that it does not undermine
the progress already made in developing and enforcing
performance measures and standards. A national model should
not preempt existing state measurement schemes or remedy
plans. In addition, the list of performance measures in a
model must be broad enough to include all measures that are
necessary and appropriate to ensure the continued availability
of data needed to promote the opening of local
telecommunications markets, to maintain its openness once
achieved, and thus to secure the benefits of local competition
for all consumers." This is CC Docket No. 01-318.
to Require Publication of SEC Filings in Company Web Sites
|2/13. The Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) announced that it intends to propose changes in
corporate disclosure rules to improve the financial reporting
and disclosure system. The SEC listed several changes,
including requiring public companies to publish their SEC
filings in their web sites.
The SEC stated in a release
that "The Commission believes that mandated public
company disclosure should be more readily available to
investors in a variety of locations. To further this goal, the
Commission intends to propose amendments that would require
public companies to make their Exchange Act reports available
on their Internet web sites, if available, at the same time as
they are filed. This requirement would not in any way replace
or reduce a company’s obligation to file with the
|U.S. Files Complaint with
WTO Re Telecommunications in Mexico
|2/13. The Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. asked
the World Trade Organization
(WTO) for a dispute settlement panel to rule on a U.S.
complaint that Mexico has failed to open its cross border
telecommunications market as required under WTO rules.
USTR Robert Zoellick stated in a release
that "Mexico's international telecommunications market
remains dominated by a single company with a government
mandate to set high wholesale prices for calls to Mexico and
prevent competitive alternatives".
AT&T General Counsel James Ciconni stated in a release
that "The U.S. government is serving notice to Mexico --
and other trading partners -- that ignoring pro-competitive
trade commitments won't be tolerated. That's just what Mexico
has been doing for many years now: ignoring its WTO telecom
commitments and hoping its trading partners would go away. For
instance, despite its 1998 commitment, Mexico still charges
unreasonably high fees for sending traffic between the U.S.
and Mexico, causing U.S. carriers to pay rates that are five
times more than those for completing calls into Canada and
other competitive countries. The high Mexican rates are an
outrage, costing U.S. consumers and businesses well over half
a billion dollars per year."
|Rep. Crane Addresses Trade,
FSC and Taxes
|2/13. The Cato Institute
hosted a panel discussion titled "Trade War or Tax
Reform? The WTO Ruling on Tax Breaks for U.S. Exporters".
Rep. Phil Crane
(R-IL), Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means
Committee, spoke at the event. The solution, said Rep.
Crane, is for the U.S. to abolish the corporate income tax
The U.S.'s Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC)
tax scheme, which the World
Trade Organization (WTO) has held to be an illegal export
subsidy, allows a portion of a U.S. taxpaying firm's foreign
source income to be exempt from U.S. income tax. This benefits
major software companies, such as Microsoft, and equipment
makers, such as Cisco and Motorola.
Most nations have a territorial tax regime, by which they tax
the income of corporations within their territory. The U.S.,
in contrast, has a global tax regime dating back to the 19th
Century. American corporations are taxed by the United States
government for their domestic and foreign income. That is,
under the basic rules, if an American corporation sells its
products in France, the U.S. taxes the income. However, if a
French corporation sells its products in the U.S., France does
not the income of the corporation operating in the U.S.
U.S. exporters, and their many supporters in Congress and the
administration, argue that this is simply leveling the playing
field between U.S. and European companies. The EU contends
that by giving tax breaks to U.S. exporters, the U.S. is, in
effect, subsidizing exports, in violation of its trade
Rep. Crane stated that abolishing the corporate income tax
would eliminate the U.S.'s WTO FSC problems. It would also
provide an economic stimulus. He stated that many European
corporations would relocate in the U.S., to take advantage of
the U.S. tax laws. However, he also stated that abolishing the
corporate income tax may not be political viable. He suggested
as an alternate switching to a territorial tax system.
The other speakers at the event were William Reinsch (National
Foreign Trade Council), John Meagher (Price Waterhouse Coopers),
and Chris Edwards (Cato Institute).
|USTR Announces Out of Cycle
|2/12. The Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) announced the outcome of
"out-of-cycle" reviews for the adequacy and
effectiveness of intellectual property protection in the
Bahamas and Slovenia. It placed The Bahamas on the Watch List
for its failure to improve its laws protecting copyrighted
material. However, it kept Slovenia off of the Watch List.
|2/13. The Electronic Privacy Information
Center (EPIC) submitted a series of Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) requests to the FBI, Department of Defense, other
federal agencies and the District of Columbia requesting
records pertaining to video surveillance in Washington DC.
2/13. The Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) released a report
[PDF] titled "Your Papers, Please: From the State Drivers
License to a National Identification System." The report
opposes "recommendations that would turn the state driver
license into a de facto national ID card." See also,
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators release
of January 14, 2002.
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Contact: 202-364-8882; E-mail.
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|Thursday, Feb 14
|Day two of a three day conference titled Biometric
Consortium Conference. See, conference
web site. Location: Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington,
9:30 AM. The FCC will hold a
meeting. See, FCC
release. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th St., SW.
9:30 AM. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and
Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "Are
Current Financial Accounting Standards Protecting
Investors?" Location: Room 2212, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The House
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet and
Intellectual Property will hold a hearing on the "Federal
Trademark Dilution Act." Location: Room 2141, Rayburn
11:00 AM. The FTC will hold a press
availability on the FTC's "latest law enforcement action
against companies that mislead consumers with "free"
entertainment service ads". Howard Beales, Director of
the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, will speak. Reporters
unable to attend can dial in at 1-800- 298-9646; the
chairperson is Bruce Jennings; and the confirmation #11340723.
release. Location: Room 481, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
1:30 PM. The House House
Judiciary Committee's Crime Subcommittee will mark up HR
3482, the "Cyber Security Enhancement Act of
2001", sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith
(R-TX). Location: Room 2237, Rayburn Building.
12:15 - 2:00 PM. The Forum on Technology and Innovation (Tech
Forum) will hold a event relating to cyber security.
The speakers will be Richard Clarke (Special Advisor to
the President for Cyberspace Security), Vint Cerf
(WorldCom), and Bruce Schneier (CTO of Counterpane Internet
Security). The Tech Forum was founded by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), Sen. Jay Rockefeller
(D-WV), and the Council on
Competitiveness. Location: Room SC-5, U.S. Capitol
2:30 PM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee's Technology, Terrorism, and
Government Information Subcommittee will hold a hearing on privacy,
identity theft, and protection of personal information. Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-CA) will preside. The witnesses will be Sen. Judd Gregg
(R-NH), Richard Stana (GAO), Susan Fisher (Doris Tate Crime
Victim's Bureau), Doug Comer (Intel), John Avila (Walt Disney
Company), Frank Torres (Consumers Union). Location: Room 226,
|Friday, Feb 15
|The House will not be in session.
Day three of a three day conference titled Biometric
Consortium Conference. See, conference
web site. Location: Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington,
8:00 AM - 2:00 PM. The NSF's Advisory
Committee for Cyberinfrastructure will hold an open meeting.
in Federal Register. Location: Room 1150, NSF, 4201 Wilson
Blvd., Arlington, VA.
9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in New
World Radio v. FCC, No. 1110. Judges Henderson, Randolph
and Rogers will preside.
12:00 NOON. Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the USTR
regarding foreign countries that deny adequate and effective
protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and
equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on
intellectual property protection. The USTR requests comments
pursuant to its duties under § 182 of the Trade Act of
U.S.C. § 2242, which is better known as the "Special
301" provisions. See, notice
in the Federal Register.
Extended deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in its
proceeding regarding cross ownership of broadcast stations
and newspapers. This is MM Docket No. 01-235. See, notice
in Federal Register.
|Monday, Feb 18
|Presidents' Day. The FCC will be closed. The House will be
in recess on February 18 through 22.
|Tuesday, Feb 19
|4:00 PM. Deadline to submit grant applications to the
Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration
for funds for skills training programs. These grants are
financed by user fees paid by employers in the H-1B visa
program. See, notice
in Federal Register. This notice changes a deadline of
February 12 contained in a previous
Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the FCC in
response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
regarding its cable horizontal and vertical ownership
limits. See, original
notice [PDF] in Federal Register of October 11, 2001, and
[PDF] of January 29, 2002. The NCTA requested the extension.
Deadline to submit comments to the FTC
regarding its proposed settlement with Eli Lilly (which
accidentally disclosed the e-mail addresses of 669 subscribers
to a Prozac e-mail list). The proposed settlement requires Eli
Lilly to establish a security program. See, notice.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) in the matter of Ambient's application for a
determination that it is an exempt telecommunications company.
It is an electric power company that also provides broadband
Internet access and related information services over power
lines to electrical outlets in residences. See, FCC
|Wednesday, Feb 20
|9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The FTC and the Antitrust Division of the
Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold the third in a series of
joint hearings on antitrust and intellectual property.
There will be two sessions (9:00 AM - 12:30 PM and 2:00 - 4:30
PM) titled "Economic Perspectives on Intellectual
Property, Competition and Innovation". See, FTC
release and DOJ
release. Location: Room 432, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association (FCBA) and Georgetown University
Law Center (GULC) will co-host a CLE program titled
"FCC Speaks". FCC Chairman Michael Powell will speak
on "The Path to the Digital Broadband Migration" at
8:30 AM. FCC Commissioners Abernathy, Copps, and Martin will
participate in a panel discussion at 4:20 PM. The program will
also include panels titled "National Broadband
Policy", "Competition Policy Panel",
"Spectrum Allocation Policy", "Media Ownership
Working Group", "Digital Television Task
Force", and "Homeland Security Council". See, full
schedule. The price to attend is $795, $745 (GULC alumni),
$695 (FCBA members), $595 (government employees). Location:
GULC, Moot Courtroom, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.