Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
July 12, 2004, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 935.
Home Page | Calendar | Subscribe | Back Issues | Reference
Rep. Stearns and Rep. Boucher Introduce VOIP and Internet Regulation Bill

7/6. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced HR 4757, the "Advanced Internet Communications Services Act of 2004".

Rep. Rick BoucherRep. Boucher (at right) stated that "Our goal is to treat all advanced IP applications, including VoIP, with a light regulatory touch. Since every Internet user who is equipped for advanced services will have a broad choice of service providers, the services will be highly competitive. Accordingly, the regulations which have governed monopoly telephone networks should not apply to new competitive Internet-based technology." See, transcript and Rep. Boucher's summary of the bill.

The bill defines two types of services. First, it creates the class of "advanced Internet communications service", or AICS. It defines this as "an IP network and the associated capabilities and functionalities, services, and applications provided over an Internet protocol platform or for which an Internet protocol capability is an integral component, and services and applications that enable an end user to send or receive a communication in Internet protocol format, regardless of whether the communication is voice, data, video, or any other form."

Second, it creates the subclass of "advanced Internet communications voice service", or AICVS. It defines this as "an advanced Internet communications service that is offered to the public for a fee, and that provides real-time voice communications, and in which that voice component is the primary function of the service."

The bill then specifies the regulatory treatment of AICS and AICVS. First, it provides that an AICS (and hence an AICVS) "shall be considered an interstate service". This would have the effect of prevented states from regulating these services.

Second, the bill provides that an AICS "shall be considered neither a telecommunications service nor an information service for purposes of the Communications Act of 1934". Telecommunications services and information services are existing regulatory categories that are addressed in the Communications Act, FCC orders, and court opinions. The effect of this bill would be to remove an AICS from these regulatory categories.

The bill then goes on to provide how an AICS is to be regulated. First, the bill provides that, except as provided in the bill, neither the FCC nor any state "may regulate the rates, charges, terms, or conditions for, or entry into, or exit from, the provision of, any advanced Internet communications service."

The bill then limits the regulation of an AICS to four areas -- E–911 services, disabilities access, universal service taxation, and providing "just and reasonable compensation for use of the public switched telephone network", that is, intercarrier compensation.

This list notably omits reference to modification of technologies to facilitate surveillance by law enforcement entities, or the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

The bill also omits reference to privacy and consumer protection. However, Rep. Boucher stated that "The bill does not prohibit the states or the federal government from assuring consumer protections incident to the offering of Internet-based communications services."

The bill further provides that the FCC, which is given rule making authority, shall ensure that in applying these four types of regulation, that the requirements and obligations "apply equally to all providers of advanced Internet communications voice services".

The bill also provides that neither the FCC nor any state "may regulate the underlying Internet Protocol transmission networks, facilities, or equipment that support or transmit any advanced Internet communications voice service in a manner that results in the unequal application of regulation to any Internet Protocol network, facilities, or equipment as compared to any other such network, facilities, or equipment."

Rep. Stearns stated in a release that "In 2003, the State of Florida chose to allow VOIP to develop free from unnecessary regulation. The Legislature felt that such action was in the public interest and I believe it was the proper course of action ... This bill goes a step further by removing Advanced Internet Communications Services from debate that exists in whether to classify AICS as an information service or telecommunications service. Furthermore, by establishing that AICS are interstate services, we eliminate the regulatory uncertainty of a myriad of different state regulatory approaches which would impede investment in these new services".

The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee. Both Rep. Stearns and Rep. Boucher are senior members of the Committee.

The end of the current session of the Congress is near. It is highly unlikely that this bill, or any related bill, would be enacted in the little remaining time of the 108th Congress.

Indeed, Rep. Boucher stated that "Mr. Stearns and I are seeking to frame the debate on advanced Internet communications regulation, including VoIP regulation, in anticipation of a broader telecommunications overhaul in the Congress beginning in 2005. By suggesting basic ground rules today, we are hoping to make a substantial contribution to the rewriting of the 1996 Telecommunications Act."

Other bills that would address some of the same issues addressed by this bill include S 2281, the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", sponsored by Sen. John Sununu (R-NH), and HR 4129, also titled the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", sponsored by Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS).

See, story titled "Sununu and Pickering Introduce VOIP Regulatory Freedom Bills" and story titled "Summary of VOIP Regulatory Freedom Bills", both published in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 872, April 8, 2004.

Michael Powell Starts a Web Log

7/7. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell commenced the publication of a web log on July 7, 2004 on the Always On web site.

In his first posting, Powell argued for minimal regulation of new technologies, and encouraged the high tech community to become engaged in policy debates that affect it.

Powell's web log provides an opportunity for readers to post responses. The responses as of July 10 were notably pro regulatory, with most commentors urging the FCC to increase its regulation.

Michael PowellPowell (at right) wrote that "Traditionally, the economic justification for government regulation of an industry was market failure such as monopoly, negative externalities, or unmet social goals. Government's role in the marketplace should be limited because markets and entrepreneurs develop innovative solutions far more efficiently than regulators can. This is the principle behind opening the communications sector to competition. I am particularly mindful of this principle as new competitive services -- VoIP, for example -- become viable alternatives for customers."

He continued that "Un- or less-regulated competition has been a hard pill to swallow for most incumbents (as well as many regulators) who legitimately question the regulatory disparity between themselves and startups. But the correct answer is not to regulate new firms the same way incumbents have traditionally been regulated. The answer is to ``regulate down´´ as markets become competitive. Specific market failures that arise, if any, should be addressed with targeted and specific remedies. My policy toward regulating nascent communications services is thus self-reinforcing: for example, a light regulatory touch can bring VoIP services to market faster and the competitive effects, in turn, allow us to deregulate traditional service providers."

Powell also wrote that "The high-tech community traditionally shied away from regulatory debates at the FCC and state regulatory commissions", but that "it is critical that the high-tech community understand the issues and engage them."

Powell also explained that "One reason I am participating in AlwaysOn Network's blog is to hear from the tech community directly and to try to get beyond the traditional inside the Beltway Washington world where lobbyists filter the techies. I am looking forward to an open, transparent and meritocracy-based communication -- attributes that bloggers are famous for! Regulated interests have about an 80 year head start on the entrepreneurial tech community when it comes to informing regulators what they want and need, but if anyone can make up for that, Silicon Valley can."

Numerous persons have posted comments on Powell's web log. These comments may not be representative of the readers of his web log, or the high tech community that Chairman Powell seeks to engage. Nevertheless, the comments are notable to the extent that most urge the FCC to expand regulation.

For example, one person wrote that "Regulation is necessary to the extent that we should protect the interests of small business over big business, mainly because smaller companies need the protection from larger more powerful companies."

Another wrote that "My diagnostic is that the USA is blindsighted by this ideology of the deregulated markets apparently opened to the benefits of the entrepreneurs. The reality as you well know is money and lobbyes with deep pockets and lots of lawyers. Spectrum bullies and likes. The myth of the entrepreneurs is just a myth when you start dealing with real complex problems like deploying broadband, VOIP or HDTV. I sincerely hope you have learnt your mistakes on this BPL crap in regards to the dangers of deregulated markets." (All errors in spelling, syntax and usage in original.)

Another person wrote about the Regional Bell Operating Companies. "Market failure such as monopoly is the justification for government regulation. Therefore, there was a need for government regulation in 1984, 1996 and still today."

Several commentors opposed spectrum markets and/or spectrum auctions. Wrote one person, "Unregulated airways produce chaos."

There were numerous comments opposing relaxation of the regulation of media ownership.

Some argued that the FCC must prohibit broadband over powerline (BPL) services.

Several commentors expressed their distain for the property rights of service providers and content producers. For example, one commentor wrote that "WiFi is a God-given right, it should be free". Another wrote that the FCC should "Create opportunities for independent broadcasting, tiny web radio stations (without the crippling from CARP fees)". (Parentheses in original.)

Many of the suggestions transcended any proposals currently pending in Washington DC. For example, one person suggested that the FCC regulate software. He wrote that "There is high quality inovation, and then there is low quality inovation. The FCC should set standards for the inovation process for communications systems. Software for these inovations should be developed under a process like RTCA DO-178B. The programs should have well written development plans. Standards should be set for documentation of new inovation submittals. Hardware should go through a formal development planning, design, and qualification process with formal documentation. Without these steps, the process is much less likely to be repeatable, and more likey to be error prone. A formal safety analysis of the new system should be done as well."

The Department of Justice has proposed that the FCC pre-approve new communications technologies in the FCC's CALEA proceeding. However, almost all commentors in that proceeding that addressed this subject roundly criticized the proposal, except companies that stand to profit from selling surveillance products.

Another commentor wrote that the FCC should " 'force' these telcos into turning on their fiber and thereby lowering the costs of bandwidth."

Another commenter wrote that "Perhaps the FCC could come up with a formula that rewards the established carriers based on service levels and pricing advantages -- in other words, providers who meet or exceed meaningful thresholds for affordability and customer service would have to subsidize new competitors less."

Very few commentors argued for minimal regulation. However, there was one area where many commentors supported less regulation. They do not want the FCC to fine Howard Stern.

FCC Settles With AT&T in Proceeding Regarding Do Not Call Registry Violations

7/9. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order and Consent Decree regarding AT&T's non-compliance with the Do-Not-Call requirements of Section 227 of the Communications Act.

AT&T agreed to pay a fine (which is defined as a "voluntary payment") of $490,000. AT&T also agreed to dismiss its related lawsuit against the FCC. AT&T also agreed to inform its telemarketing employees, and the employees of its vendors, of their legal obligations with respect to the Do Not Call Registry. The FCC agreed to close its investigation of AT&T.

The FCC's November 3, 2003 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forefeiture [12 pages in PDF] had sought a $780,000 fine. The FCC alleged that AT&T made telephone solicitation calls to 29 consumers on 78 separate occasions after those consumers had requested that AT&T not call them again. See, story titled "FCC Fines AT&T For Violation of FCC Do Not Call Rules" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 771, November 4, 2003.

AT&T contested the NAL. It denied placing telemarketing calls to some of the named subscribers but admitted having placed calls in error to many of the complaining customers. AT&T also filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (DC) against the FCC alleging violation of the Freedom of Information Act, which is codified at 5 U.S.C. § 552. AT&T had submitted a FOIA request for information about the consumer complaints. This case is AT&T Corp. v. FCC, D.C. No. 1:04CV00249.

This Order and Consent Decree is FCC 04-169. See also, FCC release [PDF].

FTC Charges Web Site Operator with Violation of Privacy Policy

7/7. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an administrative complaint [6 pages in PDF] against Gateway Learning Corporation alleging violation Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) in connection with its alleged violation of a privacy policy that it published in its web site. The FTC and Gateway also simultaneously entered into an Agreement Containing Consent Order [7 pages in PDF].

While the FTC does have limited statutory authority to regulate privacy practices in the context of the operation of web sites, such as that contained in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), there is no general statute regulating the privacy practices all web site operators. The FTC, however, does consider it to be an unfair and deceptive trade practice within the meaning of Section 5(a) of the FTCA if a web site operator publishes a privacy policy in its web site, and then violates that privacy policy.

Section 5(a) of the FTCA, which is codified at 15 U.S.C. § 45, 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."

The complaint states that Gateway sells products under the name "Hooked on Phonics". It also maintains a web site, in which it published a privacy policy. This policy stated that "We do not sell, rent or loan any personally identifiable information regarding our consumers with any third party unless we receive a customer’s explicit consent. We do share information with third parties that help us run our operations or provide services to customers (e.g., credit card processing and shipping companies), but only to the extent necessary to provide these services."

The complaint continues that subsequently Gateway "began renting personal information provided by consumers on the Gateway Learning Web site, including first and last name, address, phone number, and purchase history, without seeking or receiving any form of consent from such consumers."

The complaint continues that still later Gateway amended to privacy policy to disclose that it did share personal information, and that web site users could opt out of this sharing by providing a request to Gateway.

The FTC stated in a release that "This is the first FTC case to challenge deceptive and unfair practices in connection with a company's material change to its privacy policy."

FTC Reports on Marketing of Violent Games, Movies and Music to Children

7/8. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report [100 pages in PDF] to the Congress titled "Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children" and subtitled "A Fourth Follow-up Review of Industry Practices in the Motion Picture, Music Recording & Electronic Game Industries".

The FTC's original report, released in 2000, found that "these entertainment industries had engaged in widespread marketing of violent movies, music, and electronic games to children that was inconsistent with the cautionary messages of their own parental advisories and that undermined parents’ attempts to make informed decisions about their children’s exposure to violent content." It also found that "advertisements for such products frequently failed to contain rating information."

This latest report states that "For the electronic game industry, the Commission’s ongoing ad monitoring and its review of company marketing documents found substantial, but not universal, compliance with industry standards limiting ad placements for M-rated games where children under 17 constitute a certain percentage of the audience – 35 percent for television and 45 percent for print. Nonetheless, these standards do not prevent the placement of ads in television programs and in game enthusiast magazines with substantial teen audiences. Advertising for M-rated games continues to appear in such media."

For the movie industry, the FTC's latest report states that the FTC's "review of internal marketing documents and ad placements for selected R-rated films showed that studios did not target advertising for those films at children under 17, and, for the most part, did not advertise those films in media with an under-17 audience share over 35%. The studios continue to advertise violent, R-rated films and DVDs on programs with large teen viewership, however. In addition, some studios have conducted promotions for R-rated films in venues likely to attract significant numbers of young teens, an apparent resurgence of a practice that previously had decreased."

For the music industry, the FTC's latest report states that the FTC's "review of ad placements for parental advisory-labeled music showed that the music industry has substantially curtailed advertising in print media popular with teens but continues to place ads on television shows with substantial teen audiences, primarily on cable music channels." It adds that the FTC "found improvement in the music industry's disclosure of labeling information in print and television advertising, the industry’s compliance with labeling requirements for product packaging has improved only slightly since September 2000."

See also, FTC release.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, July 12

The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour, and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. It will consider several non-technology related items. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will meet at 1:00 PM. It will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to SJRes 40, the "Federal Marriage Amendment".

10:00 AM. The Heritage Foundation will host two panel discussions titled "Scholars & Scribes Review the Rulings: The Supreme Court's 2003-2004 Term". See, notice and registration page. Location: 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section, and other sections, will host a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled "Trade Secrets: The Next Level". The speaker will be Milton Babirak of the law firm of Babirak Vangellow & Carr. Prices vary. See, notice. For more information, contact 202-626-3488. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H Street, NW.

6:30 PM. The U.S. Telecom Association (USTA) and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) will host an event titled "Communications Good Scout Award Dinner". The dinner will honor Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. The price to attend ranges from $250 to $20,000. Proceeds will go to the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Location: Renaissance Washington Hotel, 999 9th Street, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding Aviation Radio Service. This FNPRM is FCC 03-238 in WT Docket No. 01-289. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 12, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 70, at Pages 19140 - 19147.

Tuesday, July 13

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for morning hour, and at 10:00 AM for legislative business. It will consider HR 4766, the agriculture appropriations bill. See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:00 AM. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) will host a press conference to announce its inventor of the year award. Location: National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor. The IPO will also host an invitation only reception in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building. For more information, contact Susan Lusk at or 202 466-2396.

9:30 AM. The North American Numbering Council (NANC) will meet. Location: Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearings on the proposed reauthorization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. See, notice. The hearing will be webcast. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Wednesday, July 14

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. The agenda for July 14 and 15 includes consideration of several technology related items, including HRes 705, urging the President to resolve the disparate treatment of direct and indirect taxes presently provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO), HRes 576, urging People's Republic of China to improve its protection of intellectual property rights, and HR 4759, the "United States-Australia Free Trade Implementation Act". See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section will host a program titled "The ABC's Of Patent, Trademark And Copyright Law". The speakers will be Steven Warner (Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto), Gary Krugman (Sughrue Mion), John Hornick (Finnegan Henderson), and Aoi Nawashiro (Browdy & Neimark). Prices vary. A breakfast buffet is included. See, notice. For more information, call 202 626-3463. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H Street, NW.

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host an event titled " Forum: Developing a Safe Place on the Internet for Children". See, NTIA notice and notice in the Federal Register, June 4, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 108, at Pages 31590-31591. Location: Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW, Room 4830.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "Competition and Consumer Choice in the MVPD Marketplace -- Including an Examination of Proposals to Expand Consumer Choice, Such as A La Carte and Themed-Tiered Offerings". Press contact: Jon Tripp (Barton) at 202 25-5735 or Sean Bonyun (Upton) at 202 225-3761. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Armed Services Committee and the House International Relations Committee will hold a joint hearing on the "Role of Arms Export Policy in the Global War on Terror". The witnesses will be Lincoln Bloomfield (Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs), Lisa Bronson (Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Technology Security Policy and Counterproliferation), and Peter Lichtenbaum (Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, Bureau of Industry and Securities, Department of Commerce). The hearing notice does not disclose the extent to which the hearing might focus on the export of items involving information and communications technologies. Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.

Thursday, July 15

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. The agenda for July 14 and 15 includes consideration of several technology related items, including HRes 705, urging the President to resolve the disparate treatment of direct and indirect taxes presently provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO), HRes 576, urging People's Republic of China to improve its protection of intellectual property rights, and HR 4759, the "United States-Australia Free Trade Implementation Act". See, Republican Whip Notice.

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications will hold a hearing on implementation of the Nielsen local people meter TV rating system. See, notice. The hearing will be webcast. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Congressional Internet Caucus' Advisory Committee will host a panel discussion titled "The DMCA Revisited: What's Fair?". Lunch will be served.

12:15 - 2:00 PM. The Forum on Technology & Innovation (FTI) will host a luncheon discussion titled "The Policy Implications of Open Source Software". The speakers will be Andrew Morton (lead maintainer for the Linux public production kernel), Bill Guidera (Microsoft), Cheryl Bruner (IBM), and Morgan Reed (Association for Competitive Technology). See, notice. Lunch is available at 12:15 PM. The event will be webcast by the FTI. The program will begin at 12:30 PM. Register by 5:00 PM on  July 13 by by fax at 202 682-5150 or at; provide your name, title, office, and e-mail address. Location: Room 902, Hart Building, Capitol Hill.

2:00 PM. The House Armed Services Committee's Tactical Air Land Forces Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Small Business Innovation and Technology". Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.

6:00 - 9:30 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled "Antitrust Investigations in the Era of Enron and WorldCom". The speakers will include Ray Hartwell (Hunton & Williams), Scott Hammond (Director of Criminal Enforcement, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice), and Donald Klawiter (Morgan Lewis & Bockius). Prices vary. See, notice. For more information, call 202 626-3488. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H Street, NW.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Public Notice (DA 04-1454) regarding a la carte and themed programming and pricing options for programming distribution on cable TV and direct broadcast satellite systems. This is MB Docket No. 04-207. See, notice of extension [PDF].

Friday, July 16

10:30 AM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a conference titled "Should the Net's Physical Layer be Regulated?". Christopher Yoo (Vanderbilt Law School) will give the opening address. There will be a panel discussion by Joe Waz (Comcast), Rick Whitt (WorldCom), Adam Thierer (Cato Institute), and Randolph May (PFF). Kenneth Ferree (Chief of the FCC's Media Bureau) will be the luncheon address. See, notice and registration pages. For more information, contact Brooke Emmerick at 202 289-8928 or Press contact: David Fish at 202 775-2644 or Location: Washington Mandarin Oriental hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave., SW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice Committee and Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "The Basics of A La Carte Cable Pricing". For more information, contact Natalie Roisman at, or Jason Freidrich at Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K Street, NW, 2d Floor.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM) and Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding digital audio broadcasting (DAB). This item is FCC 04-99 in MB Docket No. 99-325. See, story titled "FCC Announces FNPRM and NOI Regarding Digital Audio Broadcasting" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 878, April 16, 2004, and notice in the Federal Register, May 17, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 95, at Pages 27874 - 27885.

Trade News

7/6. Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced HR 4759, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) introduced S 2610, bills to implement the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

7/7. The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on implementation of the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. See, opening statements and prepared testimony.

7/8. The House Ways and Means Committee approved HR 4759 by voice vote. The House is scheduled to consider HR 4759 on either July 14 or 15. See, Republican Whip Notice.

7/9. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released a state by state summary of U.S. exports to Australia.

People and Appointments

7/9. Paul Clement became the acting Solicitor General, upon the resignation of Ted Olson.

7/8. Derek Harrar was named VP of Business Development at Comcast Cable. See, Comcast release. Alexandra Soumbeniotis was promoted to National Director, Partnership Sales, at Comcast Cable. See, Comcast release.

7/8. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announced the election of new members of its Content Division's Board of Directors. See, release [PDF].

More News

7/9. The AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies published a paper [56 pages in PDF] titled "The Impact of Driver Cell Phone Use on Accidents". It was written by Robert Hahn and James Prieger. See also, brief summary.

7/9. Microsoft, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and all of the state plaintiffs (except Massachusetts and West Virginia) filed a pleading [14 pages in PDF] titled "Joint Status Report on Microsoft's Compliance with the Final Judgments" with the U.S. District Court (DC) in the government antitrust case against Microsoft.

7/9. President Bush gave a campaign speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. One of the many topics that he covered was the PATRIOT Act. He stated that "We've now got the FBI and the CIA sharing information. We've got divisions within the FBI sharing information. Before September the 11th, we couldn't have the criminal division and the intelligence division of the FBI even talking to each other about certain cases. No wonder information slipped through the net. That's why we passed what they call the Patriot Act." He added, "let me say something about the Patriot Act. Nothing happens without court order. The same rules that we're using to catch drug lords is now -- we're finally starting to apply to terrorists. It's essential that these tools stay in place if we expect to be safe."

7/8. The American Electronics Association (AeA) wrote a letter to members of the House urging them to vote for HR 3574, the "Stock Option Accounting Reform Act". The Republican Whip Notice for the week of July 12-16  does not list this bill. The House Commerce Committee, which is seeking jurisdiction over the bill, held a hearing on stock options accounting on July 8, 2004. See, story titled "House Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Stock Options Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 934, July 9, 2004. On June 15, 2004, the House Financial Services Committee approved the bill by a vote of 45-13. See, story titled "House Financial Services Committee Approves Stock Options Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 919, June 16,  2004. See also, story titled "Capital Markets Subcommittee Approves Stock Options Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 897, May 13, 2004.

7/8. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its Plaintiffs' Proposed Findings of Fact [long download, redacted, PDF] and Plaintiffs' Proposed Conclusions of Law in the federal government's antitrust action against Oracle to block its proposed acquisition of PeopleSoft. This case is U.S. v. Oracle, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, D.C. No. C 04-0807 VRW, Judge Vaughn Walker presiding.

7/6. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) filed a motion to dismiss [32 pages in PDF] VeriSign's amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and a renewed motion to strike [7 pages in PDF]. This case is Verisign, Inc. v. ICANN, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, D.C. No. CV 04-1292 AHM (CTx), Judge Howard Metz presiding. See also, stories titled "ICANN Demands That VeriSign Cease Wildcard Feature" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 753, October 6, 2003; "VeriSign Refuses to Suspend Deployment of Wildcard Service" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 744, September 23, 2003; "ICANN Asks VeriSign to Suspend Wildcard Service" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 743, September 22, 2003; and "ICANN Moves to Dismiss Most of VeriSign's Wildcard Complaint" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 871, April 7, 2004.

7/1. The Library of Congress published a notice in the Federal Register that announces and publishes some additions to its rules, and that lists deletions from its rules. The new rules cover, for example, administration of the Library of Congress. See, Federal Register, July 1, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 126, at Pages 39837 - 39844.

6/30. The U.S. District Court (EDCal) issued its Memorandum and Order [PDF] in American Bankers Association v. Lockyer granting summary judgment to Bill Lockyer. This case is a challenge to the restrictions on the dissemination of personal information contained in the California Financial Information Privacy Act, which is codified as California Financial Code §§ 4050-4059. The District Court rejected the argument of the American Bankers Association (ABA) and others that the California act is preempted by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. It further held that limitations such as those contained in the California act are permitted by the federal Gramm Leach Bliley act. This case American Bankers Association, et al. v. Bill Lockyer, et al., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, D.C. No. Civ. S 04-0778 MCE KJM.

Notice of Change of E-Mail Address

The e-mail address for Tech Law Journal has changed. The new address is as follows:

Address Graphic

All previous e-mail addresses no longer operate. This new address is published as a graphic to avoid e-mail address harvesting, and the associated spam messages and malicious code messages. If your e-mail system does not display graphics, see notice in TLJ website.

About Tech Law Journal

Tech Law Journal publishes a free access web site and subscription e-mail alert. The basic rate for a subscription to the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert is $250 per year. However, there are discounts for subscribers with multiple recipients. Free one month trial subscriptions are available. Also, free subscriptions are available for journalists, federal elected officials, and employees of the Congress, courts, and executive branch. The TLJ web site is free access. However, copies of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert are not published in the web site until one month after writing. See, subscription information page.

Contact: 202-364-8882.
P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.

Privacy Policy
Notices & Disclaimers
Copyright 1998 - 2004 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.