Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 6, 2004, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 892.
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FCC Forms Wireless Broadband Access Task Force

5/5. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell formed a Wireless Broadband Access Task Force. The FCC stated in a release [PDF] that its purpose is "to identify potential changes in wireless broadband policies that will further facilitate the deployment of wireless broadband services".

The initial co-chairs are Lauren Van Wazer of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET), and John Branscome of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). The other initial members are Erin Boone (Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis), Leon Jackler (Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau), Paul Nagle (Office of Legislative Affairs), and Meribeth McCarrick (Office of Media Relations).

Michael PowellFCC Chairman Powell (at right) stated that "I have asked this Task Force to study existing wireless broadband polices and make recommendations for possible improvements to promote the growth of both licensed and unlicensed wireless broadband services. The overarching goal of this initiative is to take a hard look at what we can do to extend the reach of broadband services to underserved areas and to provide increased competition in areas that already have access to broadband."

The FCC also issued a request for comments [PDF]. This document is titled "Public Notice" and numbered "DA 04-1266". Neither this public notice, nor the release, state that either the formation of the task force, or the issuance of this request for comments, are decisions of the five member Commission.

Initial comments are due by June 3, 2004. Reply comments are due by July 1, 2004.

The request poses 12 questions, each of which has multiple parts.

For example, the request asks "To what extent are both licensed and unlicensed wireless broadband networks providing an alternative facilities-based platform to other broadband services, including cable and DSL? To what extent have wireless broadband service providers increased broadband access and competition in rural and underserved areas? If so, are regulatory changes needed to promote or advance these trends?"

It also asks "Does the Commission currently provide sufficient spectrum suitable for wireless broadband networks?" and "Has the method for access to spectrum affected the development of wireless technologies and the provisioning of wireless broadband services?"

House Judiciary Committee Puts Off Mark Up of Tech Related Bills

5/5. The House Judiciary Committee held a meeting to mark up various bills and resolutions. It did not reach any of the technology related bills. The Committee has not yet scheduled its next mark up session.

The Committee reported unfavorably HJRes 83, a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution regarding the appointment of individuals to fill vacancies in the House of Representatives. This is also known as the Baird amendment.

The Committee also began its consideration of HR 2934, the "Terrorist Penalties Enhancement Act of 2003".

The Committee thus postponed its mark up of several technology bills. These include HR 3632, the "Anti-counterfeiting Amendments of 2003",  HR 3754, the "Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act", and HR 338  the "Defense of Privacy Act". The Committee could mark up these bills as early as next week.

Anti-counterfeiting Amendments of 2003. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced this bill, HR 3632, on November 21, 2003. It would revise and expand 18 U.S.C. 2318, which pertains to trafficking in counterfeit labels, documentation and packaging of computer programs, phonorecords, and movies. See, story titled "Rep. Smith Introduces Bill to Strengthen Ban on Counterfeit Labeling of Software, Movies and Music" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 787, November 26, 2003.

The bill contains numerous changes. For example, the bill would expand the scope of activities encompassed by counterfeit labeling to include such things as using genuine labels with an item for which they were not intended, and altering the number of authorized users of computer programs.

The Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property amended and approved this bill on March 31, 2004.

Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, introduced this bill on February 3, 2004. See, story titled "Representatives Introduce Bill to Deter Domain Name Fraud" and "House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on False Domain Name Registration Data" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 830, February 5, 2004.

This bill, HR 3754, addresses the registration of domain names with false information. Law enforcement authorities use the Whois database or registration information to identify and locate people who use web sites in connection with crimes. False registration information makes identifying the perpetrators more difficult. False registration information also makes it harder for trademark holders to pursue cybersquatters. It also makes it harder for copyrights holders and manufacturers to locate online infringers and online sellers of counterfeit goods.

This bill creates no new civil or criminal prohibition of registering a domain name with false information. Nor does it impose any requirements upon domain name registrars to verify domain name registration information, to refuse to register domain names when it knows that the registration information is false, or to cancel registrations made with false registration information.

It adds new civil remedies and criminal penalties for violation of existing statutes, where the violation also involves registering a domain name with false information. For example, it amends the Copyright Act to provide that, for the purpose of calculating statutory damages for infringement, the infringement shall be considered willful if the infringement also involves registering a domain name with false information.

This bill has been criticized by the ACLU, Public Knowledge and other groups. See also, story titled "Groups Oppose Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 891, May 5, 2004.

Defense of Privacy Act. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-IN) introduced this bill, HR 338, on January 27, 2003. This bill would amend Title 5 to require that when federal agencies promulgate rules, that they take into consideration the impact of such rules on the privacy of individuals. See, story titled "Rep. Chabot Introduces Federal Agency Privacy Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 596, February 3, 2004.

This is a reintroduction of HR 4561, the Federal Agency Protection of Privacy Act, which was sponsored by former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) in the 107th Congress. It passed in the House Judiciary Committee on September 10, 2002, and the full House on October 7, 2002, under suspension of the rules. The companion bill in the Senate, S 2492, was sponsored by former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA). It saw no action. See also, story titled "House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Federal Agency Privacy" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 423, May 2, 2002.

The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, and Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on HR 338 on July 22, 2003. See, opening statement of Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), opening statement of Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), and prepared testimony of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). See also, prepared testimony of Bob Barr (American Conservative Union), prepared testimony of Jim Dempsey (Center for Democracy & Technology), and prepared testimony of Laura Murphy (American Civil Liberties Union).

Other Bills. The Committee may also soon mark up HR 1302, the "Federal Courts Improvement Act of 2003". This is a large bill containing diverse provisions. One provision, found in Section 104, would change the way federal judges report to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts regarding wiretap orders.

The Committee may also soon mark up HR 1731, the "Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act". This bill pertains to penalties for "aggravated identity theft", including identity theft that is associated with terrorism crimes and certain enumerated felonies.

The Committee may also soon mark up S 1301, the "Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2003". This bill has already passed the Senate. It would criminalize video voyeurism. This crime is defined with language, which, if quoted in this issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert, would cause the mail servers of some subscribers to block delivery of this issue.

Rambus Files Antitrust Suit Against Micron, Hynix, Siemens & Infineon

5/5. Rambus filed a complaint [38 page PDF scan] in state court in California against Micron, Hynix, Siemens and Infineon alleging violation of California antitrust law, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition, in connection with alleged efforts to eliminate competition and stifle innovation in the market for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips.

The complaint states that "This case involves concerted and unlawful efforts by a group of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world to eliminate competition and stifle innovation in the market for computer memory technology and computer memory chips."

It alleges that the defendants "who collectively wield substantial power in the global market for computer memory technology and chips, combined and conspired in violation of the antitrust laws to boycott Plaintiff Rambus, Inc. ("Rambus") and its memory technology, and to restrict the production of, and raise the price for, Rambus-designed memory chips. Defendants did so in an effort to promote the industry-wide adoption of an alternative to Rambus's memory chip design, an alternative that they believed would be more profitable to Defendants, and to drive Rambus-designed chips out of the computer memory market."

The complaint alleges conspiracy to restrict output and fix prices in violation of the Cartwright Act (California Business and Professional Code 16720, et seq.), conspiracy to monopolize in violation of the Cartwright Act, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition (Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, et seq.)

Rambus seeks treble damages, punitive and exemplary damages, and injunctive relief. See also, Rambus release.

Micron's Dave Parker stated in a release that "Rambus failed in the marketplace because of excessive manufacturing costs and minimal RDRAM demand. Several memory manufacturers, including the world's largest, continue to produce RDRAM products sufficient to meet its limited, worldwide market demand. It is unfortunate that Rambus is trying to blame the market failure of its RDRAM technology on others, like Micron, who ultimately responded to marketplace demands."

He added that "We believe Rambus is attempting to deflect attention away from the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) ongoing suit against Rambus for alleged antitrust violations".

This case is Rambus Inc. v. Micron Technology, Inc., Micro Semiconductor Products, Inc., Hynix Semiconductor America, Inc., Siemens AG, Siemens Corporation, Infineon Technologies AG, Infineon Technologies North America Corporation, and Does 1 through 50, Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco, Case No. 04-431105.

People and Appointments

5/5. Howard Buskirk joined Communications Daily. He previously worked at Telecommunications Reports. He replaces Mary Greczyn, who was named Executive Director of Freedom Technologies, Janice Obuchowski's telecommunications consulting firm.

More News

5/5. The House passed HR 4227, the "Middle-Class Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2004", by a vote of 333-89. See, Roll Call No. 144.

5/5. President Bush gave a speech in Washington DC. He stated that "In order to make sure we grow and people can find work, this country must be confident about our ability to compete in the world. We need to knock down trade barriers. We need to open up new markets around the world for America's entrepreneurs and farmers and ranchers. Empty talk about jobs and economic isolationism will not get anyone hired. The way to create jobs is to reelect a pro-growth, pro-small business, pro-entrepreneur President, George W. Bush."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Thursday, May 6

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will meet at 9:30 AM for morning business. It will then resume consideration of S 1637, the FSC/ETI bill.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of several bills, including S 1933, the "Enhancing Federal Obscemity Reporting and Copyright Enforcement (ENFORCE) Act of 2003", and S 1635, the "L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) Reform Act of 2003". See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "The 'Dot Kids' Internet Domain: Protecting Children Online". The witnesses will be Michael Gallagher (acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration), Richard Tindal (NeuStar, Inc.), Cynthia Johanson (PBS), and Teri Schroeder (I-SAFE America). The hearing will be webcast. Press contact: Jon Tripp (Barton) at 202 225-5735 or Sean Bonyun (Upton) 202 225-3761. See, notice. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold meet to markup the Committee Print of the "Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004". The meeting will be webcast by the Committee. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "Online Pormography: Closing the Doors on Pervasive Smut". The witnesses will be Howard Beales (Director, Bureau of Consumer Trade Protection, Federal Trade Commission), Kevin Lourdeau (Cyber Division, FBI), Linda Koontz (General Accounting Office), Charlie Catlett (Argonne National Laboratory), Martin Lafferty (Distributed Computing Industry Association), Norbert Dunkel (University of Florida), Robert Bird (University of Florida), Ernie Allen (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children), and Penny Nance (Kids First Coalition). The hearing will be webcast by the Committee. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) will preside. Press contact: Samantha Jordan (Barton) at 202 225-5735 or Paul Flusche (Stearns) at 202 225-5744. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Jonathan Dudas to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

Day one of a two day conference hosted by the Computer Law Association titled "2004 World Computer and Internet Law Congress". Prices vary. See, event brochure [PDF]. Location: Park Hyatt, 1201 24th Street, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the provision of international telecommunications service. This NPRM is FCC 04-40 in IB Docket No. 04-47. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 22, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 55, at Pages 13276 - 13278.

Friday, May 7

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Internet Policy Working Group (IPWG) will hold its second "Solutions Summit". This summit will focus on disability access issues associated with internet protocol technologies. See, agenda [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th St., SW.

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Medal of Technology Nomination Evaluation Committee will hold a closed meeting to discuss the relative merits of persons and companies nominated for the medal. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 19, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 75, Page 20863. Location: Room 4813, DOC, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "The Role of In House Counsel". The speakers will be Susan Fox (Disney), Phil Passanante (RCN), Doug Brandon (AT&T Wireless), and Lon Levin (XM Satellite Radio). For more information, contact Chris Fedeli at cfedeli@covad.net or Tony Lin at tony.lin@shawpittman.com. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N Street, NW, Conference Room.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless Committee will host a luncheon titled "Hot Topics for NTIA". The speaker will be Michael Gallagher (acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration), and NTIA staff. The price to attend is $15.00. FCBA registration form [PDF] required. Location: Sidley Austin, 1501 K Street, NW, 6th floor.

Day two of a two day conference hosted by the Computer Law Association titled "2004 World Computer and Internet Law Congress". Prices vary. See, event brochure [PDF]. Location: Park Hyatt, 1201 24th Street, NW.

Deadline to submit requests to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to participate as a panelist in its June 21, 2004 workshop on the uses, efficiencies, and implications for consumers associated with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. See, FTC web page for this workshop, and notice in the Federal Register, April 15, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 73, at Pages 20523 - 20525.

Monday, May 10

1:30 - 3:30 PM. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) World RadioCommunication 2007 (WRC-07) Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group on Broadcasting and Amateur Issues will meet. See, FCC notice [PDF]. For more information, contact Ben Fisher at 202 663-8154. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N Street, NW.

POSTPONED TO JUNE 14. 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age will meet. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding deployment of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, and possible steps to accelerate such deployment. The FCC is required by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to provide an annual report to the Congress on this subject. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 8, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 68, at Pages 18508 - 18515. This is GN Docket No. 04-54.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the Emergency Alert System (EAS). See, notice in the Federal Register, April 9, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 69, at Pages 18857 - 18859.

Deadline to reply submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) requesting data and information on the status of competition in the Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) industry for the FCC's Ninth Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to Commercial Mobile Services. This NOI is FCC 04-38 in WT Docket No. 04-111. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 23, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 79, at Pages 22032 - 22042.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding two plans that propose establishing optional alternative regulation mechanisms for rate-of-return carriers. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 24, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 57, at Pages 13794 - 13803.

Tuesday, May 11

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host an event titled "How Well Does U.S. Government Broadcasting Work in the Middle East?" There will be two panel discussions, titled "The Role of Broadcasting in Public Diplomacy" and "How Do We Measure Success?". Then, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary will deliver the luncheon keynote address. See, notice and registration page. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice and Legislative Committees will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be Neil Fried (Majority Counsel for the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet), and Gregg Rothschild (Minority Counsel for House Commerce Committee). For more information, contact Cathy Bohigian (Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin) at catherine.bohigian@fcc.gov. RSVP to Wendy Parish at wendy@fcba.org. Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K Street, NW.

Day one of a two day convention hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) titled "Washington Caucus". Prices vary. See, registration page. Location: St. Regis Hotel.

Wednesday, May 12

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program Advisory Committee will hold a partially closed meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 26, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 80, at Pages 22487 - 22488.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on S 2013, the "Satellite Home Viewer Extension Act of 2004", a bill to amend 17 U.S.C. 119. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing on HR 107, the "Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2003". Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) introduced this bill on January 7, 2003, and an earlier version, HR 5544 (107th Congress), in late 2002. It would roll back the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by creating fair use exceptions to the bans on circumvention of technological measures to protect copyrighted works, and by providing an exception for scientific research into technological protection measures. See, story titled "Reps. Boucher and Doolittle Introduce Digital Fair Use Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 582, January 14, 2003, and stories titled "Reps. Boucher and Doolittle Introduce Digital Media Consumer Rights Act" and "Summary of the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 532, October 4, 2002. See, notice. Press contact: Samantha Jordan (Barton) at 202 225-5735 or Paul Flusche (Stearns) at 202 225-5744. Location: Room 2132, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON -1:30 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a lunch. John Chen, Ch/CEO of Sybase, will speak on economic growth and competitiveness, outsourcing, and the future of innovative wireless technologies. Blair Levin of Legg Mason will also speak. See, notice. Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, Salon G, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

1:30 - 3:30 PM. The WRC-07 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 2: Satellite Service and HAPS will meet. Location: Leventhal Senter & Lerman.

1:30 - 3:30 PM. The WRC-07 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 4: Broadcasting and Amateur Issues will meet. Location: Shaw Pittman.

2:00 PM. The House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census will hold a hearing titled "The Science of Voting Machine Technology: Accuracy, Reliability, and Security". For more information, contact Juliana French at 202 225-6751. Location: Room 2247, Rayburn Building.

Day two of a two day convention hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) titled "Washington Caucus". Prices vary. See, registration page. Location: St. Regis Hotel.

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