|USTR Announces Agreement for FTA with Singapore
|11/19. The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. and Singapore have reached an
agreement in substance on a free trade agreement (FTA).
The USTR has not released a draft of any agreement, or even a detailed
summary. It did, however, issue a one page
release [PDF]. It states that the agreement contains "Strong intellectual
property protections, including significant improvements in the protection of
intellectual property in the digital age, as well as better legal tools for
enforcing intellectual property rights in Singapore", as well as "Strong
anti-circumvention provisions generally, but specifically with regard to
textiles trade and intellectual property rights".
This release also states that the agreement contains "Market access
commitments to Singapore's telecommunications network, including network access,
rights of way and access to cable landing stations at cost-based rates on
non-discriminatory terms. Rights to re-sell telecom services, access to leased
elements of the network, cost-based interconnection between networks, and strong
disciplines on regulatory transparency also included. State-of-the art
provisions on e-commerce, including national treatment and Most Favored Nation (MFN)
obligations for products delivered electronically, affirmation that service
disciplines cover all services delivered electronically, and permanent duty-free
status of products delivered electronically."
Zoellick (at right) and George Yeo of the
of Trade and Industry spoke about
the agreement at an press conference in Singapore. See,
Zoellick said little about tech related provisions of the agreement. He stated
merely that "We have special provisions dealing with electronic commerce. ... We
have major advances in the area of intellectual property, and both countries put
a strong premium on being economies based on intellectual property protection."
Zoellick also addressed the schedule. He stated that "in the coming weeks we
will be completing the drafting of the legal text". He later added that "we need
to complete the legal drafting of this agreement. I hope that will be done in a
matter of weeks. So as I've been saying, I hope we can complete the document by
the end of the year."
Willard Workman, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stated in a
release that "We
are looking for the FTA to provide additional access for American companies
in financial and professional services, greater protection for investment and
intellectual property rights, as well as bilateral cooperation in customs and
business facilitation ... Once we verify that the agreement is
adequate in these priority areas, and we have confidence that it would, the
Chamber will be a forceful advocate of the agreement and will lead the charge
to mobilize our members to help secure Congressional passage of the FTA."
|House Committee Holds Hearing on
Lack of Computer Security at Federal Agencies
|11/19. The House Government Reform
Committee's Subcommittee on Government
Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations held a hearing
titled "Computer Security in the Federal
Government: How Do the Agencies Rate?" The Subcommittee used this hearing
to release its
third annual report [MS Word] grading executive branch agencies on their
computer security efforts.
The Department of
Justice (DOJ) received an F. The DOJ is responsible for, among other
things, investigating and prosecuting computer crimes through its
Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).
The Department of
Commerce received a D+. The DOC includes such entities as the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA).
The Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Steve
Horn (R-CA), said in his
opening statement that "I am disheartened to announce that again this year,
the government has earned an overall grade of F for its computer security
efforts. Despite the Administration's welcomed focus on this important problem,
14 agencies scored so poorly that they earned individual grades of an F."
The Department of Transportation (DOT) received
the lowest score, while the
Social Security Administration received the highest score of the rated agencies.
Kenneth Mead, Inspector General of the DOT, said in his
prepared testimony [MS Word] that the "DOT still has a long way to go to
adequately secure its computer systems." He also pointed out that the "DOT has
561 mission critical systems that are used to perform such functions as
directing air traffic, rescuing distressed ships, and distributing money to
build the Nation's highway and transit systems." He asserted that "DOT is making
progress addressing computer security issues."
Robert Dacey, Director of Information Security Issues at the
General Accounting Office (GAO) submitted
testimony [36 pages in PDF] titled "Computer Security: Progress Made, But Critical Federal
Operations and Assets Remain at Risk".
This testimony reports that "Although GAO's current analyses of audit and
evaluation reports for the 24 major departments and agencies issued from October
2001 to October 2002 indicate some individual agency improvements, overall they
continue to highlight significant information security weaknesses that place a
broad array of federal operations and assets at risk of fraud, misuse, and
This testimony also addresses problems at the DOJ. It states that "In
April 2002, the IG for the Department of Justice reported serious
deficiencies in controls for five sensitive but unclassified systems that
support critical departmental functions, such as tracking prisoners; collecting,
processing, and disseminating unclassified intelligence information; and
providing secure information technology facilities, computing platforms, and
support facilities. The most significant of these deficiencies concerned the
technical controls that help prevent unauthorized access to system resources.
Because of the repetitive nature of the security deficiencies and concerns
identified, the IG recommended that a central office responsible for system
security be established to identify trends and enforce uniform standards. The IG
also included other specific recommendations intended to improve departmentwide
computer security for both classified and sensitive but unclassified systems."
Rep. Horn is retiring. He did not seek re-election this year.
|Greenspan Explains Resiliency of Financial
Markets to Collapse in Telecom Sector
|11/19. Federal Reserve Board
Greenspan gave a
speech titled "International Financial Risk Management". He spoke
to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC.
He addressed how new financial instruments, along with new computer and telecom
technologies, have made it possible to transfer risks, and hence, lessen the
impact on financial markets of events such as the collapse of stocks in the
"Financial derivatives, more generally, have grown at a phenomenal pace over
the past fifteen years. Conceptual advances in pricing options and other complex
financial products, along with improvements in computer and telecommunications
technologies, have significantly lowered the costs of, and expanded the
opportunities for, hedging risks that were not readily deflected in earlier
decades", said Greenspan. "These increasingly complex
financial instruments have especially contributed, particularly over the past
couple of stressful years, to the development of a far more flexible, efficient,
and resilient financial system than existed just a quarter century ago."
He continued that "Greater resilience has been evident in many segments of the financial
markets. One prominent example is the response of financial markets to a
burgeoning and then deflating telecommunications sector. Worldwide borrowing by
telecommunications firms in all currencies amounted to more than the equivalent
of one trillion U.S. dollars during the years 1998 to 2001. The financing of the
massive expansion of fiber optic networks and heavy investments in
third generation mobile phone licenses by European firms strained debt markets."
"At the time, the financing of these investments was widely seen as prudent
because the telecommunication borrowers had very high valuations in equity
markets, which could facilitate a stock issuance, if needed, to take down bank
loans and other debt. In the event, of course, prices of telecommunication
stocks collapsed, and many firms went bankrupt. In decades past, such a sequence
would have been a recipe for creating severe distress in the wider financial
system. However, compared with decades past, banks now have significantly more
capital with which to absorb shocks, and they employ improved systems for
managing credit risk. In conjunction with this improvement, both as cause and
effect, banks have more tools at their disposal with which to transfer credit
risk and, in so doing, to disperse credit risk more broadly through the
After reviewing some of these new instruments, he stated that "such
instruments appear to have effectively spread losses
from defaults by Enron, Global Crossing, Railtrack, WorldCom, Swissair, and
sovereign Argentinian credits over the past year to a wider set of banks than
might previously have been the case in the past, and from banks, which have
largely short term leverage, to insurance firms, pension funds, or others with
diffuse long term liabilities or no liabilities at all."
|Congress Passes Small Webcaster Amendments Act
|11/15. The Senate amended and passed
the Small Webcaster Amendments Act of 2002, by unanimous consent on Thursday,
November 14. On November 15, the House approved the bill, as amended by the
Senate, by unanimous consent.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, explained the bill on the Senate floor. (See, Congressional
Record, November 14, 2002, at Page S11138.)
"The advent of webcasting -- streaming music online rather than broadcasting
it over the air as traditional radio stations do -- has marked one of the more
exciting and quickly growing of the new industries that have sprung up on the
Web. Many of the new webcasters, unconstrained by the technological limitations
of traditional radio transmission, can and do serve listeners across the country
and around the world."
But, he added, "we must not neglect the artists who create and the businesses
which produce the digital works that make the online world so fascinating and
worth visiting. With each legislative effort to provide clear, fair and
enforceable intellectual property rules for the Internet, a fundamental
principle to which we have adhered is that artists and producers of digital
works merit compensation for the value derived from the use of their work."
Sen. Leahy then reviewed the legislative history relevant to compensation of
artists. "In 1995, we enacted the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings
Act, which created an intellectual property right in digital sound recordings,
giving copyright owners the right to receive royalties when their copyrighted
sound recordings were digitally transmitted by others. Therefore when their
copyrighted sound recordings are digitally transmitted, royalties are due. In
the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA, we made clear that this law
applied to webcasters and that they would have to pay these royalties. At the
same time, we created a compulsory license so that webcasters could be sure of
the use of these digital works. We directed that the appropriate royalty rate
could be negotiated by the parties or determined by a Copyright Arbitration
Royalty Panel -- or CARP -- at the Library of Congress."
"Despite some privately negotiated agreements, no industry wide agreement on
royalty rates was reached and therefore a CARP proceeding was instituted that
concluded on February 20, 2002. The CARP decision set the royalty rate to be
paid by commercial webcasters, no matter their size, at .14 cents per song per
listener, with royalty payments retroactive to October 1998, when the DMCA was
passed", said Sen. Leahy. "On appeal, the Librarian in June, 2002, cut the rate
in half, to .07 cents per song per listener for commercial webcasters."
"The retroactive fees were to be paid in full by October 20th and would have
resulted in many small webcasters in particular, going out of business."
Sen. Leahy then described this latest version of the bill. "The legislation
reflects a compromise for all the parties directly affected by this legislation
-- small webcasters that could not survive with the rates set by the Librarian
and copyright owners and performers who under this bill will give certain
eligible webcasters an alternative royalty payment scheme."
Sen. Leahy (at
right) explained that "This legislation does three things to
help small webcasters pay royalties and stay in business. ... First, the
Librarian royalty rate is based on a per performance formula, which has the
unfortunate effect of requiring webcasters to pay high fees for their use of
music, even before the audience of the webcaster has grown to a sufficient size
to attract any appreciable advertising revenues. Without any percentage of
revenue option (as provided by the legislation), the webcasting industry would
be closed to all but those with the substantial resources necessary to subsidize
the business until the advertising revenue caught up to the per performance
royalty rate. The bill provides a percentage of revenue option for small
businesses with less than $500,000 in gross revenue in 2003 and $1.25 million
dollars in 2004. The bill also provides for minimum fees and a percentage of
expenses floor on the royalties, to assure that copyright owners and artists
receive some payment for performance of their music." (Parentheses in original.)
"Second," said Leahy, "for noncommercial webcasters, such as college
webcasters, the bill corrects an anomaly in the Librarian's decision. Under that
decision, nonprofit entities held FCC licenses were given a lower per
performance rate than were commercial entities. However, the decision made no
such provision for noncommercial entities that were not FCC licenses. The bill
extends the lower rate to all nonprofit entities."
"Finally, the bill reduces the retroactive burden on many of the small
commercial webcasters by allowing them to make their payments based on a
percentage of revenue or percentage of expense, but also allows both small
commercial and noncommercial webcasters to pay these retroactive fees in three
payments over the span of a year."
The Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) stated in a
release that "The parties support the Senate compromise that addresses the
concerns of certain broadcasters about the small webcaster legislation passed by
the House of Representatives. The Senate language authorizes SoundExchange,
whose governing board is composed of artists and record companies, to reach
agreements with small commercial and noncommercial webcasters that can be
applied to all artists and record companies."
"The recording industry did not seek nor propose this authorization. Although
the intent of the House bill was to preclude the use of the rates and terms in
the bill as precedent in future negotiations and rate proceedings, certain
broadcasters were concerned that it did not adequately achieve that objective
and proposed the approach in the Senate compromise as a means of addressing that
John Simson of the SoundExchange
stated in a
release that "This legislation is a positive step forward for webcasters,
artists and record labels because it brings some long awaited certainty to the
marketplace. We are pleased that Congress found a way to implement the rates and
terms for small webcasters that the House proposed last month. We will work
expeditiously toward putting those rates and terms into effect as Congress has
"On another important issue, we are pleased that revisions to the bill
offered the opportunity for record companies and artists to extend a six month
stay of payments for noncommercial webcasters. This provides all parties time to
address the unique circumstances of noncommercial webcasters and reach an
|Senate Passes Homeland Security Bill
|11/19. The Senate passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, by a vote of 90-9.
The bill creates a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Democrats (plus Jeffords) cast all of the votes in opposition: Akaka, Byrd,
Feingold, Hollings, Inouye, Jeffords, Kennedy, Levin, and Sarbanes. See,
Call No. 249.
The House passed the bill on November 13 by a vote of 299-121. See,
Roll Call No. 477. However, the Senate made some minor changes. The House is
likely to approve the bill as passed by the Senate, either by voice vote or unanimous
consent later this week.
President Bush, who proposed creating the
new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last summer, stated that "The United States Congress has taken an historic and bold
step forward to
protect the American people by passing legislation to create the Department of
Homeland Security. This landmark legislation, the most extensive reorganization
of the Federal Government since the 1940s, will help our Nation meet the
emerging threats of terrorism in the 21st Century."
Bush continued that "This bill includes the major components of my proposal -- providing for
intelligence analysis and infrastructure protection, strengthening our borders,
improving the use of science and technology to counter weapons of mass
destruction, and creating a comprehensive response and recovery division."
Bush added, "I look forward to signing this important legislation." See,
The bill also transfers to the new DHS various government units with missions
related to cyber security. It also contains various provisions relating to
cyber crimes and protecting critical information infrastructures.
|Wednesday, November 20
|8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Commerce Department's
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
will host a one seminar titled "Essentials of Export Controls". It will cover
compliance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The price to
attend is $150. See,
notice. For more information, contact Yvette Springer at 202 482-6031.
Location: Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H. Street, NW.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The House
Science Committee will meet to mark up several bills that are not related
to information technology. It will then proceed with a hearing titled "The
2001 Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics and Science
Teaching: Views from the Blackboard". Webcast. Location: Room 2318,
12:00 NOON. The
FCBA's Transactional Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch on the
Sarbannes Oxley Act. RSVP to Donna Farber at
Latham & Watkins, Lincoln Square Bldg., Suite
1000, 555 Eleventh St., NW.
12:30 PM. The
FCBA will host a luncheon. The speaker will be NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The price is $45 for members,
$35 for government & law student members, and $55 for non-members.
Registrations and cancellations are due by 5:00 PM on November 15. For
more information, call 202 293-4000. Location: JW Marriott Hotel, 1331
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
|Thursday, November 21
|8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Commerce Department's
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
will host a seminar titled "Technology Export Controls". It will cover
compliance with the U.S. export and reexport controls relating to technology,
software and encryption. The price to attend is $150. See,
notice. For more information, contact Yvette Springer at 202 482-6031.
Location: Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H. Street, NW.
12:15 PM. The
FCBA's Global Telecommunications Development Committee and International
Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "Financing
Telecom Projects in Developing Countries: The Role of OPIC, Export Import
Bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)". The speakers will be
Roger Cohen (Export Import Bank), Brian Christaldi (OPIC), and Jean-Francois
Dupuy (IFC). For more information, contact Janet Hernandez at 202 736-1814.
RSVP to Julie Ilett at email@example.com
or 202 736-1819. Location: Coudert Brothers, 1627 Eye St., NW, 11th floor.
12:15 PM. The
FCBA's Cable Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers
will be John Wong and Michael Lance (Division Chief and Deputy Division Chief
of the FCC Media Bureau's Engineering Division). For more information call
Lisa Cordell at 202 939-7934. RSVP to Wendy Parish at
wendy @fcba.org. Location: NCTA, 1724
Massachusetts Ave., NW.
3:00 PM. Uma
Suthersanen will speak on "Copyright and Human Rights in Europe". She
is a Senior Research Fellow at the Queen
Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute in London. For more
information, contact Robert Brauneis at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 202
994-6138. Location: Faculty Conference Center, 5th Floor of Burns, George
Washington University Law School, 2000 H Street, NW.
6:30 - 10:00 PM. The
FCBA will host a charity auction. For more information, contact Heidi
Kurtz (FCBA) at 202 293-4000. Admission is free, and it is open to the public.
The event features a live auction, silent auctions, raffles, hours d’oeuvres
and a cash bar. Location: Capitol
Hilton Hotel, 16th and K Streets, NW.
|Friday, November 22
|Deadline to submit comments to the
ultrawideband report [110 pages in PDF] titled "Measured Emissions Data For Use In
Evaluating The Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Emissions Limits in the Frequency Bands
Used By The Global Positioning System". See also, FCC
public notice [3 pages in PDF]. The report was prepared by Stephen Jones
of the FCC's Office of Engineering and
Technology. He can be contacted at 301 362-2054 or
SKJones@fcc.gov. This is ET Docket No.
Deadline to submit comments to the The
in response to its requests for comments regarding whether to revise, clarify
or adopt any additional rules in order to more effectively carry out
Congress's directives in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).
notice in the Federal Register, October 8, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 195, at
Pages 62667 - 62681.
Deadline to submit a request to participate in roundtable meetings hosted
by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
regarding small business views on foreign patent challenges. The USPTO
is seeking comments, and holding roundtable meetings, pursuant to a
recommendation contained in a General Accounting
Office (GAO) report
[PDF] titled "Federal Action Needed to Help Small Businesses Address Foreign
Patent Challenges". This report was released on August 22, 2002. See also,
story titled "GAO Reports Foreign Patent Challenges Facing Small Businesses"
in TLJ Daily
E-Mail Alert No. 497, August 23, 2002. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 28, 2002, Vol. 67, No.208, at
Pages 65786 - 65787.
|Monday, November 25
|Deadline to submit comments to the The
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
regarding the product recall notices exception to the Electronic Signatures in
Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act. The Act provides, at §101, for the
acceptance of electronic signatures in interstate commerce, with certain
enumerated exceptions. §103 of the Act provides that "The provisions of
section 101 shall not apply to ... (2) any notice of ... (D) recall of a
product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or
safety". The Act also requires the NTIA to review, evaluate and report to
Congress on each of the exceptions. See,
notice in the Federal Register.
|Tuesday, November 26
|2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Bureau of Industry
and Security's (BIS) National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) will
hold a partly open, and partly closed, meeting. The NIAC advises the President
on the security of
information systems for critical infrastructure supporting other sectors of
the economy, including banking and finance, transportation, energy,
manufacturing, and emergency government services. The agenda of this meeting
includes deliberation regarding comments received on the draft document
titled "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace". (Comments were due by
November 18.) The scheduled speakers include Richard Davidson (Director of NIAC), Richard Clarke,
Juster (Director of BIS). For more information contact Eric Werner at 202
notice in the
federal register. Location: Truman Room, White House
Conference Center, 726 Jackson Place, NW.
|People and Appointments
|11/19. The Senate confirmed Dennis Shedd to be a Judge of the
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by a vote of 55-44. He is currently a
Judge of the U.S. District Court. It was an almost strait party line vote, with
several Southern Democrats and others crossing over to vote for confirmation:
Byrd (WV), Graham (FL), Hollings (SC), Inouye (HI), Lincoln (AR), Miller (GA),
and Nelson (NE). See,
Call No. 250.
11/19. President Bush announced his intent to nominate
Ellen Weintraub to be a
Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission
(FEC) for the remainder of a six year term expiring April 30, 2007. She will
replace Commissioner Karl Sandstrom. She is an attorney in the Washington DC
office of the law firm of Perkins Coie.
She focuses on representing Democrats in election law matters. From 1990 through 1996
she worked for the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. She has the
support of both Senate sponsors of the recently enacted campaign finance bill,
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). Her husband
works for Sen. Feingold. See,
11/19. James DeLong will join the
Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) as a full time Senior Fellow and
Director of the PFF's new Center for the Study of Digital Property, effective
December 1, 2002. He currently works at the
Competitive Enterprise Institute. See, PFF release.
11/18. BT named Matthew Bross to be its Chief
Technology Officer. He previously worked for Williams
|11/19. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its
opinion [PDF] in Jebian
v. Hewlett Packard,
a challenge to an ERISA plan's denial of benefits to a software engineer with
back problems who was formerly employed by Hewlett Packard.
11/19. The Federal Election Commission (FEC)
fined the Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Political Action Committee $900 for
not filing a December Monthly 2001 report. See,
11/19. November 18 was the published deadline to submit comments to the President's Critical Infrastructure
Protection Board (PCIPB) regarding the document titled "National
Strategy to Secure Cyberspace", which was released on September 18. See,
notice in the Federal Register. However, on November 19, the PCIPB published a
in the Federal Register stating that, notwithstanding its previously
announced deadline of September 18, it requests
ongoing public comments. See, Federal Register, November 19, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 223,
at Pages 69741 - 69742. For more information, contact Tommy Cabe at 202
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