Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
April 18, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 413.
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Landrieu Introduces Bill to Create Top Level Domain and Require E-Mail Labeling
4/16. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced S 2137, the Family Privacy Protection Act. The bill would require the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to create a new top level domain for pormographic web sites. It would also require that e-mail advertisements containing sezually oriented material be clearly labeled as such. Finally, it would criminalize the use of a camera or similar recording device to record another individual for a lewd or lascivious purpose without that person's consent. The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.
Sen. Landrieu explained her bill in the Senate. She stated that "This bill will make it a Federal crime to film someone in these circumstances without their consent. The bill provides exceptions for legitimate purposes such as police investigations and security; but the bottom line is that this legislation would hold these individuals responsible for their actions."
She continued that "The video voyeurism component, while important, is only one part of this bill. This bill also contains a provision to protect children from Internet websites with pormographic material." She elaborated that "My legislation would instruct the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to set up a new domain name for pormographic websites. The owners of these sites would have 12 months to move their sites to the new domain. This is a very simple yet effective method of protecting our children from these sites. A new domain would make ``filter´´ programs, which screen out these pormographic sites, much more effective. It would eliminate mistakes like the whitehouse dot-gov, dot-com, problem".
As for labelling of e-mail, she added that "I just want to add that I am hopeful that, in the future, we can take even stronger steps to address the problem of pormographic e-mails. However, at the moment, this bill will at least ensure that Internet users, particularly children, know that an e-mail contains sezually oriented material before opening it."
She added, "this bill passes First Amendment tests for freedom of speech." See, Cong. Rec., April 16, 2002, at S2729-2730.
Sen. Landrieu is in a tight race for re-election to the Senate from the state of Louisiana.
Sen. Dorgan Opposes Trade Promotion Authority
4/15. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) spoke in the Senate in opposition to legislation that would grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is also known as fast track authority.
He stated that "Senator Daschle, the majority leader, has now promised that before the Memorial Day recess, the Senate will be considering the administration's request for trade promotion authority; that is a euphemism for fast track. Fast track authority allows an administration to negotiate a trade agreement somewhere and bring it back to the Congress, and Congress is told: ``You are not able to change a decimal point, a period, or a punctuation mark. You must vote up or down on an expedited basis on that agreement. No changes, no amendments. No opportunity to make any alterations at all.´´ That is called fast track."
Sen. Dorgan said that "it is a fundamentally undemocratic proposition." He elaborated that  "the Constitution says -- article I, section 8 -- the Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. That is the Congress that said that. The Constitution says that the Congress has that power, not the President."
He also quipped that "Will Rogers said ... that the United States of America has never lost a war and never won a conference. He surely must have been talking about our trade negotiators." See, Cong. Rec., April 15, 2002, at S2639-2640.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), responded. He stated that "We had the pleasure of bringing up a bill that had the support by a vote of 18 to 3 of the Senate Finance Committee. That was about 4 months ago and we still don't have any commitment from the leadership to bring this critical, bipartisan trade legislation to the floor by a date certain, so we can plan on that date and be ready for one of the most important issues to come before Congress this year and eventually vote on it."
He continued that "We have had several offers: that this bill would come up sometime this spring; one time it was in March; another time, it was soon after the Easter recess; now it is maybe sometime before Memorial Day. There is a great deal of uncertainty. During this period of uncertainty, we lose opportunities for the United States to be a leader in global trade negotiation."
WTO DG Moore Addresses New Round of Trade Negotiations
4/17. Mike Moore, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave a speech titled "To Doha and beyond: a roadmap for successfully concluding the Doha Development Round" in Montreux, Switzerland.
He stated that the "Success in Doha brought to an end the uncertainty created by the failure at Seattle. We are back in business. And our business is trade liberalisation. The momentum since Doha has been equally impressive. Members have established a Trade Negotiations Committee to oversee the negotiations. They have appointed the Director-General ex-officio to chair this body. The structure of the negotiations has been determined and chairpersons of all the individual negotiating bodies decided upon."
He added, "I believe we can conclude the round within the three year timeframe agreed by Ministers."
SEC Sues Offshore Internet Gambling Casino for Fraud
4/15. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDFl) against The Gaming Factory and others alleging fraud in violation of federal securities laws.
The complaint states that the defendants are The Gaming Factory, Inc., a Florida corporation, The Gaming Factory, Inc., a Panamanian corporation, and two individuals. The complaint states that defendants have used a web site, and telephone solicitations, to offer and sell securities in a purported offshore Internet gambling casino.
The complaint states that the securities are unregistered, in violation of Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77e(a) and 77e(c), and that defendants have made numerous false and misleading statements in connection with the offer and sale of securities, in violation of Section 17(a)(1) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(1), Section 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77(q)(a)(2) and 77(q)(a)(3), Section 10b of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. § 240.
This is D.C. No. Case No. 02-80331-CIV. It has been assigned to Judge Middlebrooks. See also, SEC release.
Greenspan Sees Recovery in Some Forms of High Tech Investment
4/17. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before the Joint Economic Committee regarding monetary policy and the economic outlook. See, prepared testimony.
He concluded that "The U.S. economy has displayed a remarkable resilience over the past six months in the face of some very significant adverse shocks. But the strength of the economic expansion that is under way remains to be clarified. ... Still, there can be little doubt that prospects have brightened."
He stated, among other things, that "Improved profit margins over time and more assured prospects for rising final demand would likely be accompanied by a decline in risk premiums from their current elevated levels toward a more normal range. With real rates of return on high tech equipment still attractive, the lowering of risk premiums should be an additional spur to new investment. Reports from businesses around the country suggest that the exploitation of available networking and other information technologies was only partially completed when the cyclical retrenchment of the past year began. Many business managers still hold the view, according to a recent survey of purchasing managers, that less than half of currently available new and, presumably profitable, supply chain technologies have been put into use."
Greenspan continued that "Recent evidence suggests that a recovery in at least some forms of high tech investment is under way. Production of semiconductors, which in the past has been a leading indicator of computer production, turned up last fall. Expenditures on computers rose at a double digit annual rate in real terms in the fourth quarter. But investment expenditures in the communications sector, where overcapacity was substantial, as yet show few signs of increasing, and business investment in some other sectors, such as aircraft, hit by the drop in air travel, will presumably remain weak in 2002. On balance, the recovery this year in overall spending on business fixed investment is likely to be gradual."
FCC Official Addresses Broadband Policy
4/17. Scott Marcus, Senior Advisor for Internet Technology at the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Plans and Policy gave an address titled "Broadband, When? -- A View from OPP". He stated that the rate at which broadband services are being adopted by consumers compares favorably with the historical adoption rates of many other technologies, such as personal computers, cell phones, and CD players. However, it is being adopted more slowly than television was adopted.
Marcus also stated that the appropriate role for government is creating a framework for innovation and investment that eliminates barriers and disincentives. He stated that the role of government is "not to impose legacy regulations upon new and emerging services." However, he added that "at the same time, there are bottlenecks that need to be addressed."
He suggested that government should "structure regulation to emphasize facilities based competition and encourage new entrants". He also said government should defer the development of universal service obligations for new services.
Marcus spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Online Communications Committee.
People and Appointments
4/17. Carolyn Fleming was named Acting Director of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO). See, FCC release [PDF].
4/17. Dwight Adams was named head of the FBI Laboratory. He is a career FBI special agent who is a biologist with a background in DNA analysis. See, FBI release.
More News
4/17. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the consequences of the FCC's classification of cable modem service as an information service. The notice sets deadlines for comments. Comments are due by June 17, 2002. Reply comments are due by July 16, 2002. This is CS Docket No. 02-52. See, Federal Register, April 17, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 74, at Pages 18848 - 18854.
4/16. Attorney General John Ashcroft commented on the Supreme Court's opinion [44 pages in PDF] in Ashcroft v. FSC, a case involving a constitutional challenge to the Child Pormography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA). The Supreme Court ruled that provisions of the statute banning computer generated images depicting minors engaging in sezually explicit conduct is overbroad, and violates the First Amendment. He stated that the Court "made our ability to prosecute those who produce and possess child pormography immeasurably more difficult." See, statement.
4/17. Hewlett Packard (HP) announced that "the preliminary vote tally from the March 19 special meeting of HP shareowners affirms that the proposal was approved. The preliminary vote tally, prepared by the independent inspectors of election, shows that HP shareowners voted in favor of the merger by a margin of approximately 45 million shares. Moreover, shareowners not affiliated with the Hewlett and Packard families and their foundations voted for the merger by a margin of roughly 2:1. Votes ``FOR´´ the merger totaled approximately 837.9 million. Votes ``AGAINST´´ the merger totaled approximately 792.6 million, of which almost half were affiliated with the Hewlett and Packard families and foundations. An insignificant number of votes cast remain unresolved." See, HP release.
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Thursday, April 18
The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business.
8:30 AM. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) will speak at a breakfast hosted by the Greater Washington Board of Trade's Federal PAC and CapNet. RSVP to either JaimeHjort or 202 857-5909. Location: Greater Washington Board of Trade Board Building, 1129 20th St., NW, Suite 200.
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation will host a conference titled "Digital Online Content: Creating a Market that Works". James Rogan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, will give the opening keynote address at 9:00 AM. The first panel, at 9:45 AM, is titled "The Emerging Market for Online Music". The second panel, at 11:00 AM, is titled "The Digital Challenge to Intellectual Property Rights". Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will give a luncheon address at 12:15 PM. Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW.
9:30 AM. The FCC will hold a meeting. See, agenda. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C05.
9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a pair of panel discussions titled "Gene Related Inventions: Evolving Patent Standards and Their Consequences". The first panel will address "Science, Economics, and Patent Law". The panelists will be Lee Bendekgey (Incyte Genomics), Iain Cockburn (Boston University), and Rochelle Seide (Baker Botts). The second panel will be titled "Perspectives from the Patents and Trademark Office and Capitol Hill". The panelists will be John Doll (USPTO), Chris Katopis (House CIIP Subcommittee), Maureen Mellody (office of Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)), and Gerald Mossinghoff (Oblon Spivak). See, agenda and online registration page. Location: 12th Floor, AEI, 1150 17th Street, NW.
10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee will meet to mark up many bills, including HR 3482, the Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2001, and HR 3215, the Combatting Illegal Gambling Reform and Modernization Act. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a business meeting. The agenda includes a vote on several pending judicial nominations, including that of Jeffrey Howard to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (1stCir). The agenda also includes consideration of S 2031, the Intellectual Property Protection Restoration Act of 2002, a bill to prevent states from recovering damages for infringement of state owned IPR, unless they have first waived their 11th Amendment sovereign immunity from suits against them for their infringement of the IPR of others. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:00 NOON. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a luncheon panel discussion titled "Broadband: Should All Providers Be Regulated the Same?" The speakers will be Tim Hugo (CapNet), Billy Jack Gregg (West Virginia PSC), Leroy Watson (National Grange), Gary Shapiro (Consumer Electronics Association) and Susan Lynner (Prudential Securities). RSVP to rsvp or call Danielle at 202 637-4370 Location: Reserve Officers Assoc., 1st and Constitution Ave. NE.
Day one of a two day ALI-ABA course for inside and outside counsel titled "Trademarks, Copyrights, and Unfair Competition for the General Practitioner and the Corporate Counsel". The price to attend is $685. See, online brochure. Location: Loews L'Enfant Plaza.
Day one of a two day conference titled "IT Law and the Response to Terror: New Laws, Rules and Strategies". The event is hosted by the Computer Law Association and the FCBA. See, online brochure [PDF]. Location: Monarch Hotel, 2401 M Street NW.
Friday, April 19
The House will not be in session.
9:00 AM - 5:15 PM. The George Washington University Law School (GWULS) will host an event titled Symposium on Patents and Standard Setting. See, agenda in GWULS web site. Registration is required. For more information, contact Martin Adelman at madelman Location: GWULS, Moot Court Room, 2000 H St., NW.
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host an event titled "Privacy Online: A Report on the Internet Practices and Policies of Commercial Websites". The speakers will include FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle, Paul Misener (Amazon), David Klaus (Privacy Leadership Initiative), and Peter Ford (Australian Attorney General's Dept.). See, PFF notice. Location: Room B369, Rayburn Building.
2:00 - 4:00 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "Freeing the Chinese Internet". The speakers will be Arthur Waldron (AEI), Paul Baranowski (Peekabooty Project), Ethan Gutmann (PNAC), and Greg Walton (Human Rights in China). See, online registration page. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.
Day two of a two day ALI-ABA course for inside and outside counsel titled "Trademarks, Copyrights, and Unfair Competition for the General Practitioner and the Corporate Counsel". The price to attend is $685. See, online brochure. Location: Loews L'Enfant Plaza.
Day two of a two day conference titled "IT Law and the Response to Terror: New Laws, Rules and Strategies". The event is hosted by the Computer Law Association and the FCBA. See, online brochure [PDF]. Location: Monarch Hotel, 2401 M Street NW.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the FCC regarding its annual report to Congress regarding progress made in achieving the objectives of the ORBIT Act, 47 U.S.C. § 646. The next FCC Orbit Act report is due to Congress on June 15, 2002. See, FCC notice [PDF].
Deadline to register to attend the "Copyright Conference" hosted by the USPTO, the purpose of which is to "discuss current domestic and international issues vital to the development of e-commerce with members of the business and intellectual property communities." See, USPTO notice. Registration is required.
Monday, April 22
Day one of a three day conference of the Electronics Industry Alliance. See, agenda [Word]. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) will speak at a luncheon at the spring convention of the Electronics Industry Alliance. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Extended deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the appropriate regulatory requirements for incumbent local exchange carriers' provision of broadband telecommunications services. See, notice in Federal Register and Order [PDF] extending deadline from April 1 to 22.
Tuesday, April 23
Day two of a three day conference of the Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA). See, agenda [MS Word]. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
9:30 - 11:30 AM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a lecture by Jerry Hausman of MIT titled From 2G to 3G: Wireless Competition for Internet Related Services. See, program summary and online registration page. Location: 12th Floor, AEI, 1150 17th St., NW.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Saga Broadcasting Corp v. FCC, No. 01-1249. Judges Ginsburg, Sentelle and Henderson will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave. NW.
10:00 AM. The House Appropriations Committee's CJS Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the FY 2003 budget for the USPTO. Location: George Washington Univ., Loudoun Campus.
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will speak on contributions that the electronics industry has made to military preparedness at a luncheon at the spring convention of the Electronics Industry Alliance. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, and Business and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing titled Cable Competition and the ATT Comcast Merger. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) will preside. This hearing had originally been scheduled for April 10. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
7:00 - 10:00 PM. Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security, will speak at a dinner at the spring convention of the Electronics Industry Alliance. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Wednesday, April 24
Day three of a three day conference of the Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA). See, agenda [MS Word]. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel.
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM. The Consumer Electronics Association will host an event titled "Digital Television (DTV) Summit: Moving to Mass Markets". Location: Washington Convention Center.
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. The meeting will be open to the public in part, and closed to the public in part. The open agenda includes a presentation on web based remote hardware management, a presentation on microelectro- mechanical technology and applications, and a presentation on battery and fuel cell technology. See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Herbert Hoover Building, Room 3884, 14th Street between Pennsylvania Ave. and Constitution Ave., NW.
1:00 - 4:30 PM. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Technology Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting on technology related issues in the financial services and commodity markets, including cyber security. See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Room 1000, CFTC headquarters, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW.
2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space will hold a hearing on S 2037, a bill providing for the establishment of a national emergency technology guard. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.