Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
August 9, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 488.
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FCC Mandates DTV Standards and Deadlines
8/8. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required that most TV sets be built with digital TV tuners. Specifically, the FCC announced, but did not release, a Second Report and Order and Second Memorandum Opinion and Order in Media Bureau Docket No. 00-39. However, the FCC issued a press release, and FCC Commissioners and staff described the order at the FCC's meeting on August 8.
The FCC order mandates technology standards, and sets deadlines for compliance with those standards, for all but the smallest TV sets. The order requires that by 2007 all TV sets with screen sizes larger than thirteen inches and all TV receiving equipment, such as videocassette recorders (VCRs) and digital versatile disk (DVD) players and recorders, include digital television (DTV) reception capability.
The order will require consumers to spend more money for TV sets. Equipment manufacturers are free to produce TV sets with DTV tuners, but very few consumers have chosen to buy these. The FCC order will eliminate this consumer choice.
The order was adopted by a vote of 3-1. Commissioner Kevin Martin dissented.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell wrote in his prepared statement [PDF] that "consumers will expect their television sets to go on working in the digital world just as they do today. This includes the ability to receive broadcast signals. Indeed, the expectation that TV sets receive broadcast signals is so ingrained that consumers simply assume this functionality is incorporated into their television set. That is what today’s Order is all about."
Also, while Powell acknowledged that consumers will have to pay more for TV sets, "economies and efficiencies of scale will drive these costs down."
Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy wrote in her prepared statement [PDF] that "Today's decision is a difficult balancing act between the need to continue to promote the DTV transition and a desire to protect consumers from excessive price increases for television sets." She explained that she opted for the former for several reasons. First, she wrote that "the transition from analog to digital television is statutorily mandated and is not driven by market forces". Second, "the transition remains stalled". Third, "the phaseout of analog only television sets from the market gives consumers access to digital broadcast signals during the transition and protects consumers from disruption of service at the end of the transition". Finally, "consumers necessarily will face additional costs as a result of the transition".
Commissioner Michael Copps wrote in his prepared statement [PDF] that "The bottom line is that we must get the DTV transition back on track."
Phase In Schedule. The FCC order requires that 100% of units with screen sizes over 36 inches must include DTV tuners by July 1, 2005. 100% of units with screen sizes of 25 to 36 inches must include DTV tuners by July 1, 2006. 100% of units with screen sizes of 13 to 25 inches must include DTV tuners by July 1, 2007.
Statutory Authority. The FCC release also addresses its statutory authority for issuing this order. It states that the FCC's authority "is established by the 1962 All Channel Receiver Act (ACRA), which provides the FCC with the ``authority to require´´ that television sets ``be capable of adequately receiving all frequencies´´ allocated by the FCC for ``television broadcasting.´´ The authority provided under the ACRA applies to all devices used to receive broadcast television service, not just those used to receive analog signals."
Kenneth Ferree, Chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, elaborated on statutory authority after the FCC meeting. He said that it is based upon 47 U.S.C. § 303, which provides, in part, that "the Commission from time to time, as public convenience, interest, or necessity requires, shall ... (s) Have authority to require that apparatus designed to receive television pictures broadcast simultaneously with sound be capable of adequately receiving all frequencies allocated by the Commission to television broadcasting when such apparatus is shipped in interstate commerce, or is imported from any foreign country into the United States, for sale or resale to the public".
Broadcasters. Edward Fritts, P/CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), praised the FCC's order in a release. He stated that "Today's FCC decisions represent the most important action on digital television since adoption of the DTV standard in 1996. FCC Chairman Powell and the Commission recognized the Congressional imperative to stimulate the DTV marketplace, and deserve enormous credit for taking pro-consumer steps to jump start the transition. Cable carriage and other issues still need attention to ensure that consumers have access to local digital and high definition broadcast signals. Nonetheless, today's FCC action goes a long way towards delivering the digital promise to all Americans."
The NAB also sent a letter [4 pages in PDF] to all members of Congress.
Producers of TVs and other consumer electronics devices are less enthusiastic. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) criticized the FCC's order, and stated that it will challenge it in court. See, following story, titled "CEA Will Appeal FCC DTV Order".
CEA Will Appeal FCC DTV Order
8/8. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) P/CEO Gary Shapiro stated after the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) meeting on August 8 that the CEA will challenged the FCC's DTV order in court. He did not state when, or in which circuit court, but he stated that "Our board met last week and unanimously authorized us to go forward with a lawsuit on this." Shapiro added that "We don't think there is legal grounds, or policy grounds, for this."
Shapiro spoke to reporters outside the FCC's Commission Meeting Room just after the meeting. He said that "So few Americans are using antennas now. Only -- less than ten percent of American homes rely for their primary -- on antenna. This whole solution has nothing to do with the transition to HDTV. It has to do with a well intentioned but misguided effort to return broadcasters to glory years when there were only three networks and everyone had this big ugly antenna. The fact is, Americans have rejected antennas. ... They want cable. They want satellite. They want prerecorded. And, they want their broadcasting over cable."
Shapiro added that "Broadcasters, despite getting seventy billion dollars worth of spectrum for free from the government" have not provided compelling programming. He continued that "Consumers love HDTV. But, they don't want to want to have to spend extra money to get an over the air signal, when, in reality, ninety percent of them are relying on cable and satellite. So, this so called solution will have nothing to do with the HDTV transition, quite frankly. What we think will happen from this -- it will turn consumers off potentially. If they have to buy something that they know they are not going to use, and they know they are spending a lot of extra money for it, we have great concerns it will start to affect HDTV deployment in a negative way. We think the Commission is very well intentioned. But, the answer here really is, if seventy percent of Americans are relying on cable to get their broadcast signal, then let's set a national plug and play cable standard, as Congress has asked the FCC to do, time and time again. We don't think the Commission has the authority to regulate how TV sets are built, and we intend to challenge this action in court."
One reporter asked, "Are you a little surprised that a Republican dominated Commission would slap a regulation as onerous on you guys?" Shapiro responded, "Well, as the Chairman and a number of the Commissioners indicated, this is government intervention into the marketplace. I think the Chairman used the words, ``industrial policy´´. We believe that the government should not tell consumers what they have to buy. ... But, the fact is, that by forcing every consumer to buy a digital tuner, we are concerned about the repercussions, whether consumers will say, this isn't for me."
Shapiro added that the CEA would not file a petition for review until after the FCC publishes its order in the Federal Register. Then, it would have sixty days to either request reconsideration, or file a petition for review with a Court of Appeal. He did not state whether the CEA would request reconsideration first. Nor did he state in which circuit the CEA would file. He did say that the plaintiff would be the CEA.
The CEA also issued a release which quotes Shapiro as stating that "The FCC has just imposed a multi-billion dollar annual TV tax on American consumers".
FCC Chairman Michael Powell anticipated, and rebutted, the CEA's arguments in his written statement [PDF] in support of the DTV order. He noted that the CEA is "vehemently opposed to phasing in DTV tuners in television sets" but is in favor of requiring consumers to purchase an external set-top box. Powell wrote that "This would be a far more expensive proposition for consumers, given that these boxes currently cost about $500. It is incredible that CEA supports an alternative that would cost consumers 150% more than CEA's own cost projections for the DTV tuner ($500 for the set top box vs. $200 for the tuner)."
Powell also argued that the "CEA's claim that a tuner requirement would be an unreasonable burden on television manufacturers is refuted by the willingness of Thomson and Zenith to voluntarily incorporate DTV tuners on a phased-in basis."
Commissioner Martin Dissents from DTV Order
8/8. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Kevin Martin dissented from the adoption of the DTV order. He said that he prefers market based forces to government regulation, and that this order will impose increased costs on all consumers who buy TV sets, while only a small percentage will use mandated tuners to receive over the air broadcasts.
Martin wrote in his dissent that "I prefer market based forces to government regulation, and I am particularly cautious when regulation imposes a cost to consumers or requires consumers to purchase a product they may not use. In such situations, I believe the better course of action usually is to refrain from regulation and instead to provide consumers with a choice. If government intervention is necessary, however, I believe it must be clear that the benefits outweigh the costs."
Martin (at right) continued that "Currently, consumers can choose whether to spend the extra money to purchase a television that includes a digital tuner. This Order sets out deadlines by when television manufacturers must include digital tuners, so that all but the smallest televisions will be able to receive digital broadcast signals "over the air." Today, however, few consumers  receive their video programming only through over the air broadcasting. Instead, the vast majority of consumers receive broadcast programming through their cable or satellite provider. Even as the transition to digital is made, these consumers will probably prefer to continue to receive their video programming through cable or satellite. Thus, taking action on digital broadcast tuners alone, as we do to today, confers a real benefit only on the relatively small percentage of consumers (approximately fifteen percent) who do not rely on cable or satellite for broadcast reception. The costs, however, will be borne by every consumer who buys a television. I therefore fear that the costs of this requirement, as an isolated action, exceed the benefits, and I am not persuaded that it is the right step."
Martin was appointed to the FCC last year by President Bush. He is a Republican who previously worked as a legal advisor to former FCC Commissioner Harold Furcthgott Roth. Of the current set of Commissioners, he is the strongest proponent of free market economics and less regulation. 
FTC Files and Settles Complaint Against Microsoft Regarding Privacy and Security
8/8. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought and settled an administrative complaint [6 pages in PDF] against Microsoft alleging violation of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) in connection with Microsoft's privacy and security practices. The complaint focuses on Microsoft's sign-on and online wallet services named Passport and Passport Express Purchase.
For example, the complaint alleges that Microsoft "represented, expressly or by implication, that it maintained a high level of online security by employing sufficient measures reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances to maintain and protect the privacy and confidentiality of personal information obtained from or about consumers in connection with the Passport and Passport Wallet services", whereas, in fact, Microsoft "did not maintain a high level of online security ..."
The FTC and Microsoft simultaneously entered into an Agreement Containing Consent Order [8 pages in PDF]. Microsoft admitted to no violations of federal law. Microsoft will pay no fine. However, the agreement, which has a twenty year duration, imposes numerous requirements for Microsoft's information security program.
The FTC has statutory authority under many statutes regarding privacy. For example, recently the Congress has given it authority to regulate financial privacy (under the Gramm Leach Bliley Act) and children's privacy (under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). However, this action is based on no specific grant of authority regarding privacy practices. It is based on the broad Section 5(a) of the FTCA.
This action demonstrates a willingness on the part of the FTC to take action against companies based on their actions related to consumer privacy, even in the absence of legislation that specifically addresses that conduct. This action alleged violation of Section 5(a) of the FTCA, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 45. It provides, in part, that "Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful."
This action is also notable to the extent that the complaint does not allege any instance of consumer harm. For example, in another recent FTC action involving the security of consumer personal information, involving Eli Lilly, the company actually disclosed the e-mail addresses of hundreds of consumers who used the drug Prozac. See, administrative complaint [PDF] and Agreement Containing Consent Order [PDF] in that action. In contrast, in the present action, there is no allegation that the security of any consumer personal information has been compromised.
This action is a major victory for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and other groups, which filed a pair of complaints with the FTC regarding Microsoft's privacy practices and its Passport service.
The EPIC and others submitted their original complaint [PDF] to the FTC on July 26, 2001, and an updated complaint [PDF] on August 15, 2001. Both complaints pertained to Microsoft's Passport and privacy, and alleged violation of Section 5 of the FTCA. See also, story titled "EPIC Complains about Microsoft Passport" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 250, August 16, 2001, and story titled "EPIC Complains to FTC About Windows XP" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 236, July 27, 2002.
Microsoft put a pleasant spin on the action. It stated in a release that it "reached an agreement" with the FTC, without mentioning either that a complaint had been filed, or that it had been accused of violating federal law.
At least one group was not pleased with the FTC's action. Steve DelBianco, VP of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), stated in a release that this is a "wakeup call for the entire industry".
He said that "This complaint and order effectively sets a new standard for making privacy and security promises to consumers. ... The bar has been raised when the FTC requires a twenty year consent order without a single actual breach of security or privacy. While we applaud the commission’s decision to hold the industry to the highest standards, we are worried about a consent order that seems disproportionate to the actual findings of the investigation.
He also asserted that the EPIC had "fabricated dozens of accusations". He concluded that "While Microsoft has both the financial and legal wherewithal to survive this kind of ``witch hunt,´´ a smaller e-commerce company would not be so lucky. Just the hint of a government investigation in today’s climate could be devastating to an un-established e-commerce company in the process of building a trusting relationship with its customers."
Harris Miller, President of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), stated in a release that "the 'net' effect of this decision is to raise the bar for all companies doing business in cyberspace."
Rep. Boucher Writes FCC re DTV Transition
7/25. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell regarding transition to digital television. He urged the FCC to deal with both DTV tuners and digital cable signals.
Rep. Boucher wrote that "I am among those who have urged action with respect to mandatory inclusion of DTV tuners in larger screen size television receivers, where enhanced resolution would be evident to consumers.  Taking this action alone, however, would confer a benefit, at most, on the fifteen percent of consumers who do not rely on cable or satellite for signal acquisition, while imposing significant, redundant costs on all other purchasers.  This is why I have also urged you, twice, to take steps to resolve obstacles to the use of DTV receivers to tune digital cable signals as well."
Rep. Boucher also stated that "I further understand that, while technical obstacles toward joint inclusion of cable and broadcast DTV tuners have been substantially overcome, the ``PHILA´´ license issues, as to which I have written you twice before, are no closer to resolution."
He urged the FCC to "use its jurisdiction to call the parties together, to hammer out acceptable license terms plus any proposed amendments to FCC regulations, to assure that the final license provisions exert only such licensee powers as FCC rules allow."
CATO Opposes DTV Mandates
8/5. Adam Thierer, Director of Telecommunications Studies at the Cato Institute, wrote a essay titled "The HDTV Fiasco Gets Worse: TV Set and Cable Mandates On the Way".
He wrote that "America's 15 year high definition television (HDTV) industrial policy experiment has been a failure by almost any standard. Although this long and miserable history is too long to recall here, suffice it to say, the grand vision of the broadcast industry and public policymakers has become an expensive joke. And just when you think things can't get worse, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are now readying new rules to roll the burden of rolling out a service nobody wants onto the backs of television set manufacturers and cable network providers."
Thierer concluded that "the government's ``damn the consequences´´ HDTV industrial policy has absolutely zero probability of working according to schedule and is likely to derail entirely. Ironically, it will probably be the broadcasters themselves who eventually put an end to it with small rural affiliates recognizing they simply cannot afford to keep up this charade. The real question is, how long do we have to wait before this happens and how many more victims will this industrial policy fiasco claim before policymakers finally admit defeat?"
Legislators Urge DOJ to Use Intellectual Property Laws Against P2P Systems
7/25. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), and other Representatives and Senators, wrote a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft urging the Department of Justice to "vigilantly enforce intellectual property laws on the Internet to punish online theft of our copyrighted works and to deter such conduct.
They elaborated that "Such an effort is increasingly important as online theft of our nation's creative works is a growing threat to our culture and economy." They cited the "staggering increase in the amount of intellectual property pirated over the Internet through peer to peer systems".
Rep. Smith (at right) and the others offered three suggestions. First, "Prosecute operators of peer to peer systems who intentionally facilitate mass piracy". Second, "Prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer to peer networks". And third, "Create more Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIPs) units around the country with expanded authority to prosecute Internet piracy".
Rep. Smith and Sen. Biden are the Chairmen of the Crime Subcommittees in the House and Senate.
WorldCom Restates Earnings, Again
8/8. WorldCom stated in a release that "its ongoing internal review of its financial statements has discovered an additional $3.3 billion in improperly reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 1999, 2000, 2001 and first quarter 2002."
WorldCom added that "This amount is in addition to the previously reported $3.8 billion in overstated EBITDA in the year 2001 and first quarter 2002. As a result, WorldCom intends to restate its financial statements for 2000. Previously the company announced that it intends to restate its financial statements for 2001 and first quarter 2002."
NTIA Announces Agenda for Convergence Roundtable
8/8. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the agenda and speakers for its Wednesday, August 14, roundtable to address issues relating to the convergence of communications technologies, including the Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM) Protocol.
At 1:00 PM there will be a panel titled "Convergence Technologies -- Their Viability and Utility in a Competitive Marketplace". At 2:45 PM there will be a panel titled "Privacy, Security, Authentication, and other Policy Issues Relating to Convergence Technologies". See, NTIA release and notice in the Federal Register. 
People and Appointments
8/6. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court (SDNY) approved the appointment of former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh as Examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy cases. See, DOJ release
Customs Service Loses 2,251 Computers
8/8. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill requesting that a report written by the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the loss of computers and other items by the U.S. Customs Service be made public. Sen. Grassley wrote in this letter that "The report on Customs states that the Customs Service -- an agency whose responsibilities include tracking material -- has managed to lose or have stolen a stunning 2,251 computers."
The OIG report is titled "Protecting the Public: U.S. Customs Control Over Sensitive Property Needs To Be Improved". It is numbered OIG-02-109, and dated August 5, 2002.
Sen. Grassley further wrote that "the U.S. Customs Service (Customs) maintains that the Treasury OIG report is ``Law Enforcement Sensitive´´ and should not be disclosed to the public. Customs' position is simply untenable. I am very concerned that Customs' view is that because information is embarrassing to management that justifies that it be labeled Law Enforcement Sensitive. Management at Customs may be sensitive to a report that shows significant waste of taxpayer money but that does not justify seeking to suppress the information."
Sen. Grassley also suggested that the actual number of lost computers could be higher than 2,251. He wrote that this number "represents approximately 5 percent of total FY 2001 inventory. The situation is so bad at Customs that the IG stated: ``We judged the risk of loss or theft of computers to be high.´´ Even more troubling, the report stated that this number may be low because: `` ... [Customs] lacked reliable property records and physical inventories for computers there was no reasonable assurance that the information on Customs' computer inventory and losses was reliable.´´"
Friday, August 9
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force will hold a public workshop titled "Spectrum Rights and Responsibilities". First, Thomas Krattenmaker (Mintz Levin) will give an historical view of spectrum rights and responsibilities. Second, there will be a panel titled "New Technologies and Spectrum Usage Rights". The moderators will be Charla Rath (Verizon Wireless) and Paul Kolodzy (FCC); the panelists will be David Farber (University of Pennsylvania), David Siddall (Paul Hastings), Peter Pitsch (Intel), Victor Tawil (MSTV), Steve Sharkey (Motorola), Bruce Fette (General Dynamics), and Gee Rittenhouse (Lucent). Third, there will be a panel titled "Modeling Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum Usage Rights". The moderators will be Michele Farquhar (Hogan & Hartson) and David Furth (FCC); the panelists will be Martin Cave (Warwick Business School), Tom Hazlett (Manhattan Institute), Steve Stroh (Focus On Broadband Wireless Internet Access), Michael Calabrese (New America Foundation), Larry Miller (LMCC/ AASHTO), David Wye (AT&T Wireless), Michael Kurtis (Kurtis & Associates), Jennifer Warren (Lockheed Martin), and Joe Gatusso (NTIA). See, FCC notice [PDF]. Webcast. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, SW.
Day two of six of the American Bar Association's annual meeting. See, TLJ's complete listing of technology law related events. Location: various hotels across Washington DC. Highlights include the following:
 • 11:00 AM. Program titled "Justice Department Takes Action Against Credit Card Companies For Unfair Trade Practices". Location: Mayflower, Senate Room, Promenade Level.
 • 2:00 PM. Program titled "Whatever Happened to Broadband?" Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:30 PM. Program titled "Antitrust and Intellectual Property for the Transactional Lawyer". Location: Hyatt Regency, Regency Foyer, Ballroom Level.
 • 3:00 PM. Program titled "Adapting the Legal Requirements for Electronic Promissory Notes and Electronic Chattel Paper to Commercial Realities". Location: Hyatt Regency, Regency A, Ballroom Level.
 • 3:45 PM. Program titled "Information Security: The Role of Law and Lawyers". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
Saturday, August 10
Day three of six of the American Bar Association's annual meeting. See, TLJ's complete listing of technology law related events. Location: various hotels across Washington DC. Highlights include the following:
 • 9:00 AM. Program titled "Applied E-Risk Management: Real Problems, Real Solutions". Location: J.W. Marriott Capitol Ballroom Salon G, B Level.
 • 9:30 AM. Program titled "The Boston Strangler Returns - A High Tech Hearing on the Murder of Mary Sullivan". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Hoover, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:00 PM. Program titled "HIPAA Enforcement and Litigation Risk Management: The Crisis Ahead". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:00 PM. Program titled "The Virtual Lawyer: Law Practice on the ’Net -- Without a Net". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Coolidge, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:30 PM. Program titled "Telemarketing and Cybermarketing at the Crossroads: Legislative and Regulatory Developments". Location: Hyatt Regency, Columbia A, Ballroom Level.
 • 3:00 PM. Program titled "Securing and Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights Abroad: Recent Developments in International Protection of Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks". Location: Willard, Ballroom, Lower Level.
 • 3:45 PM. Program titled "Cybercrime: An International Problem for Every Lawyer, Business and Country". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
Sunday, August 11
Day four of six of the American Bar Association's annual meeting. See, TLJ's complete listing of technology law related events. Location: various hotels across Washington DC. Highlights include the following:
 • 9:30 AM. Program titled "Spying on Terrorists (and You): Public Needs v. Private Rights". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
 • 10:30 AM. Program titled "Telemarketing and Cybermarketing at the Crossroads: Legislative and Regulatory Developments". Location: Hyatt Regency, Columbia A, Ballroom Level.
 • 2:00 PM. Program titled "China -- IP Issues Of Olympic Proportions". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom North, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:00 PM. Program titled "Electronic Privacy and Surveillance in the 21st Century". Location: Marriott Wardman Park, Cotillion Ballroom South, Mezzanine Level.
 • 2:30 PM. Program titled "Expert Witnesses in Antitrust Litigation: Making (or Breaking) Your Case". Hyatt Regency Ticonderoga, Ballroom Level.
 • 2:30 PM. Program titled "Oops, I Did it Again: How Lawyers Might Inadvertently Violate Their Ethical Obligations by Using Technology They Don’t Fully Understand". Location: Hyatt Regency, Capitol Room, Lobby Level.
Monday, August 12
Day five of six of the American Bar Association's annual meeting. See, TLJ's complete listing of technology law related events. Location: various hotels across Washington DC.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) "regarding the sunset of the statutory requirements under section 272 imposed on Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) when they provide in-region, interLATA services and seeks comment on whether, and if so, under what conditions, the structural and nondiscrimination safeguards established in section 272 should be extended by the Commission either generally or with respect to specific states." See, notice in the Federal Register.
Tuesday, August 13
Day six of six of the American Bar Association's annual meeting. See, TLJ's complete listing of technology law related events. Location: various hotels across Washington DC.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The State Department's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet. See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Room 1105, State Department.
Wednesday, August 14
1:00 - 5:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a roundtable meeting regarding the convergence of communications technologies, including the Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM) Protocol that facilitates convergence between the Internet and the public switched telephone network. See, NTIA release, agenda, and notice in the Federal Register. For more information, contact Wendy Lader, NTIA Office of Policy Analysis and Development, at 202 482-1150 or wlader Location: Room 4830, DOC, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.
More News
8/8. The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), formerly known as the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA), updated its web site regarding Commercial Encryption Export Controls.
8/8. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) filed an amicus curiae brief [28 pages in PDF] with the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft, a case involving a constitutional challenge to the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). The IPO argues that the CTEA should be upheld, either under the copyright clause, or the commerce clause, of the Constitution.
8/7. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) commented on President Bush's signing of the Trade Act of 2002, which gives the President trade promotion authority. IIPA President Eric Smith stated in a release [PDF] that "For America’s copyright industries to remain successful in global markets, it is essential that the President, in consultation with Congress and the private sector, have effective and credible authority to negotiate bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements ... We can now move forward more effectively in our joint efforts to achieve strong intellectual property rights protection and, particularly, enforcement worldwide and to secure non-discriminatory market access for all U.S. creative products ... The copyright industries in the IIPA look forward to obtaining these results in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations now ongoing with Singapore and Chile, in new FTAs now being planned, and with all countries in the Americas in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), now that TPA is in place."
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