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March 24, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 629.
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Rep. Upton Introduces Spectrum Relocation Bill

3/18. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced HR 1320, the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, a bill to facilitate the relocation of spectrum from federal users, such as the military, to commercial users, such as Third Generation (3G) wireless service providers. The bill would, among other things, create a "Spectrum Relocation Fund", to funded out of auction proceeds, to pay for relocation costs of federal entities whose spectrum is reallocated.

Rep. Fred UptonRep. Upton (at right) stated in a release that "We must relocate federal government incumbents to comparable spectrum in order to make way for the commercial wireless industry, but the road to relocating government entities to comparable spectrum is unpaved and filled with potholes ... This legislation would pave that road, establishing procedures to ensure a timely, certain, and privately -- yet fully funded relocation of federal incumbents to comparable spectrum."

The bill would provide that any federal entity that uses a frequency band covered by the bill "that incurs relocation costs because of the reallocation of frequencies from Federal use to non-Federal use shall receive payment for such costs from the Spectrum Relocation Fund ..."

The bill would apply to the 1710-1755 MHz band, and "any other band of frequencies reallocated from Federal use to non-Federal use after January 1, 1995, that is assigned by competitive bidding pursuant to section 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j))."

Rep. Upton introduced a very similar bill late in the 107th Congress. See, HR 5638, also titled the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act

The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on HR 1320 on Tuesday, March 25 at 2:00 PM. Rep. Upton is the Chairman of this Subcommittee. The witnesses will include Nancy Victory, Director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA has spectrum management responsibilities for spectrum allocated for federal users.

The original cosponsors of the bill are Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Rep. Lee Terry (R-IA), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

FTC/DOJ Oppose Restraints on E-Commerce Posed by Unlicensed Practice of Law Rules

3/20. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division wrote a letter to the Georgia State Bar's Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law in response to its inquiry regarding preparation of deeds and other real estate conveyance instruments. The FTC and DOJ focused on the impact that an overly broad restriction on the practice of law would have on Internet competition and electronic commerce. See also, DOJ release and FTC release.

The Georgia bar committee posed the following question: "Is the preparation and execution of a deed of conveyance (including, but not limited to, a warranty deed, limited warranty deed, quitclaim deed, security deed, and deed to secure debt) considered the unlicensed practice of law if someone other than a duly licensed Georgia attorney prepares or facilitates the execution of said deed(s) for the benefit of the seller, borrower and lender?" (Parentheses in original.)

The DOJ and the FTC (which has recently been examined state based barriers to e-commerce) wrote that "a ban on the preparation of deeds and the facilitation of their execution by anyone other than a licensed Georgia attorney could reduce competition from out-of-state service providers. In the real estate mortgage market, for example, lenders outside Georgia may compete by offering lower interest rates or more attractive loan packages than similar in-state institutions. These lenders may lack facilities in Georgia. They may hire out-of-state providers to prepare deeds and may contract with Georgia lay providers to facilitate the execution of those deeds. Some of these lenders may conduct their entire loan application and approval process via the Internet, simultaneously reducing costs and increasing customer convenience. A ban on competition from anyone other than a licensed Georgia attorney has the potential to impair this competition between lenders, and also to impair the ability of lenders and others to compete via the Internet."

The DOJ and FTC also argued that "these potential restrictions are likely to impede substantially the growth of e-commerce. The Internet is changing the way many goods and services are delivered, and consumers benefit from the increased choices and convenience and decreased costs that the Internet can deliver." They added that "when restrictions may foreclose potential new Internet competitors, one should proceed cautiously, mindful of the unintended consequences that may unduly limit the choices of consumers."

The DOJ and FTC concluded that they "urge the Standing Committee either to adopt an opinion concluding that it is not the practice of law to prepare deeds and facilitate their execution or to decline to issue any opinion at all."

U.S. & Australia Complete First Round of FTA Negotiations

3/21. The U.S. and Australia held the first round of negotiations on March 17 through 21 for a free trade agreement (FTA). On March 21, Australia's chief negotiator Stephen Deady and the U.S. chief negotiator Ralph Ives held a press conference. See, transcript [11 pages in PDF].

Deady stated that "We had a very productive start to the negotiations this week with the United States. We covered a wide range of issues across 15 separate negotiating groups over the course of the week. This included ... services, investment, intellectual property, competition policy, ... and technical barriers to trade, and then broad legal administrative arrangements including things like dispute settlement in that context."

He continued that "We also tied down arrangements for discussions over the next couple of weeks, probably through video conferencing, on a number of other areas we did not discuss this week. That includes government procurement, telecommunications, e-commerce and financial services."

Ralph Ives stated that "What we are seeking from this free trade agreement is a comprehensive free trade agreement that covers the full range of areas. Steve very correctly laid out the full range of areas that we see in an FTA -- a good, world-class, comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, investment, intellectual property, the full range of issues."

Administration Will Work With Congress on EAA

3/20. Connie Correll of the Department of Commerce's Technology Administration gave a speech titled "Promoting Economic Growth, Jobs and Innovation" at an event in Washington DC titled "Women's High Tech Coalition Luncheon". She wrote in the prepared text of her speech, among other things, that the "President continues to support a streamlined and strengthened export control system that promotes US security and economic interests. EAA passed Senate last year … didn't pass House. Will continue to work with Congress." ("..." in original.)

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) sponsored S 149 (107th), the Export Administration Act (EAA) of 2001, in the 107th Congress. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 85-14, just prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The bill was also supported by the Bush administration. S 149 would have modernized export control laws. It would have eased restraints on most dual use products, such as computers and software, but increased penalties for violations. It also would have eliminated the use of Million Theoretical Operations Per Second (MTOPS) based limits to control the export of high performance computers.

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) introduced HR 2568 (107th), an administration backed bill, in the House, on July 19, 2001. However, it did not pass in the House. Instead, HR 2581 (107th), sponsored by former Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), which is a much different bill that is not supported by the administration, Rep. Dreier, or Sen. Enzi, passed the House International Relations Committee (HIRC) on August 1, 2001. The House then took no further action on any export control bill.

Rep. Dreier introduced HR 55 (108th) on January 7, 2003. It is essentially the Enzi proposal. HR 55 has been referred to the HIRC. The Committee has taken no action on the bill.

Sen. Enzi has not yet reintroduced his bill in the 108th Congress. A member of Sen. Enzi's staff e-mailed TLJ on January 24 that Sen. Enzi is still working on a revised version of his bill for the 108th Congress, and remains "optimistic".

The Department of Commerce, and its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is still often referred to as the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA), issues licenses for dual use items. These are things, including software, encryption products, and high performance computers, that might be used for either civilian or military or terrorist purposes.

The statutory authority of the BIS to operate this export control regime derives from the Export Administration Act (EAA). Congress first passed export control legislation in 1949. It has passed legislation revising the system several times since. However, the most recent statute, the Export Administration Act of 1979, lapsed in 1990. However, Presidents since then have exercised statutory authority to declare that an emergency exists, and, by executive order, extend the export control regime, absent a statute. This has enabled the BIS to continue to license the export of dual use items.

Rep. Boehlert Addresses Math and Science Education

3/20. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Chairman of the House Science Committee, gave a speech to Presidential Teacher Awardees in which he addressed the teaching of math and science.

He asked rhetorically, "what can we be doing to help attract more top students into teaching science and math? It seems to me that this is the most critical question of all ..."

"Years ago, I began proposing to give federal scholarships to top math and science majors who agree to teach for a set number of years in return for the tuition assistance. Senator Rockefeller and I got such a program enacted a decade or so ago, but it was never funded. Until now", said Rep. Boehlert. "With the enactment of the ``Math and Science Partnerships Act´´ and the renewed interest in education, we got Congress to put $7 million in this year's budget for the program, building on the $5 million that was included last year."

See also, HR 1858 (107th Congress) and S 1262 (107th). The language of these bills was included in HR 4664 (107th), National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002, which became Public Law No. 107-368 on December 19, 2002. See also, July 27, 2001 statement in the Senate by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

More News

3/21. SonicBlue announced that it, and three subsidiaries, will file Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. See, release.

3/20. A trial jury of the U.S. District Court (EDTex) returned a verdict in favor of Microtune in its patent infringement lawsuit against Broadcom. The jury found that Microtune's U.S. Patent No. 5,737,035 titled "Highly integrated television tuner on a single microcircuit" is valid and that Broadcom infringed it. See, Microtune release.

3/19. F5 Networks filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (WDWash) against Radware, NetScaler and Array Networks alleging infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 6,473,802, titled "Method and System for Storing Load Balancing Information with an HTTP Cookie". See, F5 release.

3/19. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and others introduced S 664, the Investment in America Act of 2003, a bill to make permanent the research and development tax credit. It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Hatch has introduced similar bills in prior Congresses. See also, release and statement in the Senate.

3/20. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and others introduced S 676, a bill to establish a WTO Dispute Settlement Review Commission. Sen. Baucus said in his floor statement [2 pages in PDF] that "The bill that we are introducing would create a Commission to review decisions of the World Trade Organization. Why is this legislation necessary? Simply put – we must ensure that the United States is getting the benefit of the agreements we negotiated. WTO panels have handed down several decisions recently that go well beyond the scope of their authority." He referenced the disputes over the Byrd Amendment and softwood lumber, but not the FSC/ETI tax regime. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Monday, March 24

The House will meet at 2:00 PM in pro forma session only. The Senate will meet at 2:00 PM. The Supreme Court will return from recess.

8:30 AM. Treasury Secretary John Snow will speak at the Tax Executive Institute's 53rd Mid Year Conference. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, Constitution Ballroom, 1000 H Street, NW.

8:30 AM. Zeicher Risk Analytics & CERT will hold a press conference on cyber security. For more information, contact Tim O'Regan at 202 785-3611. Location: Lisagor Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

4:00 PM. Polk Wagner (University of Pennsylvania Law School) will present a draft paper titled "Is the Federal Circuit Succeeding? An Empirical Look at Claim Construction". For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at 202 994-6138 or Location: George Washington University Law School, Faculty Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 720 20th Street, NW.

Deadline to submit applications to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for financial assistance for FY 2003 for its 2003 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) in several areas, including electronics and electrical engineering and information technology. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 20, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 34, at Pages 8211-8226.

Tuesday, March 25

The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and at 2:00 PM for legislative business; it will consider several non tech related items under suspension of the rules.

9:30 AM. The House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census will hold a hearing titled "Data Mining: Current Applications and Future Possibilities". The hearing will also focus on privacy and abuse concerns surrounding this technology. The scheduled witnesses are Sen. Paula Dockery (Florida State Senate), Mark Forman (OMB), Jeffrey Rosen (George Washington University Law School), Jen Que Louie (Nautilus Systems), and Gregory Kutz (GAO). Location: Room 2154, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2004 for the Department of Homeland Security. Location: Room 106, Dirksen Building.

2:00 PM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on HR 1320, the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act. The witnesses will include Nancy Victory (NTIA). The hearing will be webcast. Press contact: Ken Johnson or Jon Tripp at 202 225-5735. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

5:00 PM. The House Rules Committee will meet to adopt a rule for consideration of HR 1104, the Child Abduction Prevention Act. This wide ranging bill. It includes the Amber Alert communications network provisions. Also, Section 201 would amend 18 U.S.C. § 2516 to expand the list of predicate offenses that may serve as the basis for the issuance of a wiretap order. Each new predicate relates to sexual exploitation crimes against children. Section 201 is similar to HR 1877 (107th Congress) which passed the House on May 21, 2002 by a vote of 396-11. See, Roll Call No. 175. See, copy of bill [25 pages in PDF] as amended and approved by the House Judiciary Committee on March 18. Section 201 pertains to wiretap orders. Location: Room H-312, Capitol Building.

Wednesday, March 26

The House will meet at 10:00 AM. It may consider HR 1104, the Child Abduction Prevention Act; see, copy of bill [25 pages in PDF] as amended and approved by the House Judiciary Committee on March 18.

8:00 AM. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will give a speech on tax bills and economic policy. Location: Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave., NW, in Rooms Columbia A and B on the lower level.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on pending judicial nominees, including Edward Prado (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit), Cecilia Altonaga (Southern District of Florida), Richard Bennett (District of Maryland), Dee Drell (Western District of Louisiana), Leon Holmes (Eastern District of Arkansas), Susan Braden (Federal Claims), and Charles Lettow (Federal Claims). Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Online Communications Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "wireline broadband issues". The speaker will be Brent Olson, Deputy Chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau's Competition Policy Division. No RSVP is necessary. Location: Kelley Drye & Warren, 1200 19th St., NW, Suite 500.

Deadline to submit requests to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to participate as a panelist in its workshops regarding the role of technology in helping consumers and businesses protect the privacy of personal information, including the steps taken to keep their information secure. The FTC will hold a workshop titled "The Consumer Experience" on May 14, and another workshop titled "The Business Experience" on June 4. See, FTC release and notice in the Federal Register, February 26, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 38, at Pages 8904 - 8906.

Thursday, March 27

The House will meet at 10:00 AM. It may consider HR 1104, the Child Abduction Prevention Act; see, copy of bill [25 pages in PDF] as amended and approved by the House Judiciary Committee on March 18.

8:00 AM - 2:30 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host a conference titled "Securing Cyberspace: A Government Industry Partnership for the Future". At 8:30 AM, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, will speak. At 8:55 AM, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Chairman of the House Science Committee, will speak. At 9:55 AM, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), will speak. At 1:30 PM, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will speak. The ITAA states that the event is "By invitation only" and "Expected Attendees: Hill Members and Staff, Public Media, Industry Reps. & other Public/Private Sector partners". See, notice. Location: Room G-50, Dirksen Building.

9:00 AM. The Global Business Dialogue will hold a press conference on WTO rules. For more information, contact Judge Morris at 202 463-5074. Location: First Amendment Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing on HR ___, the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Act. The hearing will be webcast. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

11:00 AM. The Cato Institute will host a book forum on the book The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues [Amazon sales rank on March 23: 1,844,100]. The speakers will be Daniel Klein (co-editor), Jerry Ellig (Acting Director, Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission), Donald Boudreaux (George Mason University), and Robert Atkinson (Progressive Policy Institute). Lunch will follow. See, notice and registration page. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.

4:00 PM. The House Armed Services Committee's (HASC) Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing on on Department of Defense (DOD) science and technology policy and programs for fiscal year 2004.  The scheduled witnesses include Anthony Tether, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). The Total Information Awareness (TIA) office is a part of the DARPA. The other scheduled witnesses are Ronald Sega, Director of Defense Research and Engineering at the DOD, Michael Andrews, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, and James Engle, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology & Engineering. Location: Rayburn Building.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a CLE seminar titled "What Every Practitioner Needs to Know about Telecommunications Access - Policy and Practice Related to Persons with Disabilities". The speakers will be Bryan Tramont (FCC), Tom Chandler (FCC), Richard Ellis (Sprint), Mike Fingerhut (Sprint), Pam Gregory (FCC), Karen Strauss (Gallaudet University), Paul Schroeder (American Foundation for the Blind), and Claude Stout (Telecommunications for the Deaf). The prices to attend range from $50 to $80. RSVP to Wendy Parish at Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1750 K St., NW, 10th Floor.

Friday, March 28

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding a proposed set of rules pertaining to "plug and play" cable compatibility. On December 19, 2002, fourteen consumer electronics companies and seven cable operators announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding a national plug and play standard between digital television (DTV) products and digital cable systems. See, document [78 pages in PDF] consisting of the MOU, proposed rules to be promulgated by the FCC, and a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell and others. See also, FCC release [MS Word] of January 7 announcing the FNPRM, and notice in the Federal Register, January 16, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 11, at Pages 2278 - 2283. This is CS Docket 97-80, and PP Docket 00-67. For more information, contact Susan Mort in the FCC's Media Bureau at 202 418-7200 or

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice and Legislation Committees will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be Bill Baily (Majority Counsel, Senate Commerce Committee) and James Assey (Minority Counsel, Senate Commerce Committee). RSVP to Wendy Parish at Location: NCTA, 1724 Massachusetts Ave., NW, 2nd floor conference room.

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