|Powell Discusses VOIP Regulation
10/19. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Chairman Michael Powell gave a
[5 pages in PDF] at the Voice on the Net Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. He said
that the FCC needs a "new Constitution for the regulation of services" such
as voice over internet protocol (VOIP). But, he did not spell out the contents of this new
He said that there is a VOIP revolution under way. He compared this
revolution to the revolutions in which thirteen American colonies won their
independence from the British Empire, and then drafted the Constitution, over two centuries ago.
Powell (at left)
proclaimed that "We, too, need a new Constitution
for the regulation of services, one befitting that revolution. Many regulators
have protested change, saying that VoIP is just a different way to make a phone
call. But isn't that the point! It is a different way, and it deserves a
different regulatory structure that reflects its unique qualities."
"I support a different way for voice over the Internet," said
Powell. "It's wrong, just plain wrong to not recognize the potential of VoIP, or
to see it through the lens of the old telephone network regulatory model. VoIP
is a data application and as such has all the hallmarks of the Internet itself."
He did not offer his view of what the new regulatory constitution
should be. However, he did touch vaguely on some of its elements.
He said that "There is no need to organize the regulatory regime
around per minute prices and costs as we have done with common carriers. VoIP
service is offered in flat bundles, recognizing the efficiency and small
incremental costs of information services. We have seen the great advantages of
cell phone buckets of minutes and what that did to increasingly erase the idea
of long distance as a distinct service. VoIP will complete the circle and
collapse any such geographic distinctions in all voice service."
He also stated that "Like the Internet, IP data communications
knows no borders. ... If it were true of the Internet generally, it is
unquestionably true of VoIP. This has profound implications for the traditional
common carrier regulatory model. And bold action is needed."
"The first step in getting policy pointed in the right direction
is for the Commission to step forward and affirmatively establish jurisdiction
over these services. That is why I will present to my colleagues for a decision
the question of whether VoIP services -- like Vonage -- should be subject to
exclusive federal jurisdiction. We cannot avoid this question any longer. To
hold that packets flying across national and indeed international digital
networks should be subject to state commission economic regulatory authority is
to dumb down the Internet to match the limited vision of government officials.
That would be a tragedy", said Powell.
He added that "I look forward to working with my state and
federal colleagues -- indeed my international colleagues -- to ensure that a
minimal, well-harmonized regulatory environment is applied to VoIP services."
Powell said nothing in his prepared text about most of the regulatory
issues pertaining to VOIP that are currently being debated. For example, he said nothing
about specific issues, such as CALEA, universal service, E911, consumer protection,
disability access, state and local taxation, numbering, or voice spam. Nor did he address
what a new regulatory paradigm might be.
Nor did he discuss whether the FCC should mandate network neutrality. However, he
again outlined what he calls "Internet Consumer Freedoms". He said
that these are "(1)
Freedom to Access Content: Consumers should have access to their choice of legal content;
(2) Freedom to Use Applications: Consumers should be able to run applications of their
choice; (3) Freedom to Attach Personal Devices: Consumers should be permitted to attach
any devices they choose to the connection in their homes; and (4) Freedom to Obtain Service
Plan Information: Consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service
plans." But again, he stopped short of saying that any of these should be mandated by
|8th Circuit Addresses Derivative Works and
10/19. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(8thCir) issued its
opinion [10 pages
in PDF] in Mulcahy v. Cheetah, a copyright case involving the issues of
derivative works and fair use.
Rita Mulcahy authored, and holds the copyright for, a work titled "PMP Exam
Prep." It is used by students in her course to prepare for the Project Management
Professional (PMP) Exam given by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
The PMI published a copyrighted work titled "Guide to the
Project Management Body of Knowledge". Its exams test knowledge of the contents
of this work. Mulcahy's work, in turn, is based upon this work.
Cheetah Learning is a competitor of Mulcahy. Its course materials contain
material copied from Mulcahy's work.
Mulcahy filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DMinn) alleging copyright
infringement and unfair competition. The District Court granted partial summary
judgment on the copyright claim, and an injunction, to Mulcahy.
The Court of Appeals reversed. It held that there are questions of fact on
two issues: first, whether Mulcahy's work was an unauthorized derivative work of
PMI's work, and second, whether Cheetah's copying from Mulcahy's work was fair use.
This case is Rita Mulcahy v. Cheetah Learning LLC and Jeff Schurrer,
App. Ct. No. 03-3112, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of
|GAO Reports on Federal Networks that Support
10/19. The Government Accountability Office
(GAO) released a report
[66 pages in PDF] titled "Information Technology: Major Federal Networks That
Support Homeland Security Functions".
The report states that "we identified 34
major networks that support homeland security functions -- 32 operational and 2
in development. Twenty-one of the 34 are single-agency networks, indicating that
they are used only for internal agency communications. Further, 6 of the 34
networks share information with state and local governments; 4 share information
with the private sector. One of the 2 networks under development -- the
Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Secure Data Network -- is
intended to become a significant vehicle for future sharing of homeland security
information with state and local governments and classified information among
civilian agencies. The other network in development, the Department of Justice’s
JUTNet (Justice United Telecommunications Network), is to replace the
department’s existing network and transport information among departmental
The report adds that "Agencies also identified the Internet as a major
network for supporting homeland security functions. Cost data were not available
for all networks, but of the networks for which data were available, estimates
totaled about $1 billion per year for fiscal years 2003 and 2004."
The report also states that "agencies provided descriptions of
over 100 applications as examples of those that use existing networks, including
the Internet, to share information in support of homeland security. For example,
DHS’s United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)
collects, maintains, and shares information on foreign nationals with the
Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, and Transportation using its ICENet
(Immigration and Customs Enforcement Network). And, the Department of Defense’s
Modernized Intelligence Data Base supports anti-terrorist activities through
near-real-time, synchronized dissemination of military intelligence using its
JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System) network."
(Parentheses in original.)
Kenneth Juster (at
right), head of the Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS),
gave a speech
titled "Cybersecurity: A Key to U.S.-India Trade" in New Delhi, India. He
said that cybersecurity "is one of the keys to unlocking the full potential of
the trade and technology relationship between the United States and India. All
levels of society today -- from individuals, to companies, to governments --
rely on information technology and information networks in their daily lives --
to communicate, to manage activities, to transact business, and to provide
essential services to the public." He added that "consumers and corporations
will seek to ensure that their personal information and business proprietary
data are secure, and that information services are reliable and protected.
Without an adequate level of security, we run the risk of backlash among
consumers and loss of confidence among business people, which could severely
limit progress in our trade and technology relationship."
10/19. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) announced that it has established a nanotechnology cross-reference
digest. It is designated Class 977/Dig.1, and titled "Nanotechnology". See,
Greenspan, Chairman of the
Federal Reserve Board, gave a
speech titled "The mortgage market and consumer debt" in which he stated
that "improvements in lending practices driven by information technology have
enabled lenders to reach out to households with previously unrecognized
borrowing capacities. This extension of lending has increased overall household
debt but has probably not meaningfully increased the number of households with
already overextended debt."
10/19. The Department of Commerce (DOC) announced that it will award $399,500
for the establishment of an office in Beijing for China Standards and Conformity
Assessment (CSCA). This is an initiative of The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME), The American Petroleum Institute (API), ASTM International,
and CSA America. See, DOC
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Wednesday, October 20
The House is in recess until November 16, 2004. See,
Republican Whip Notice.
The Senate is in recess until November 16, 2004.
8:00 AM. The Federal Communications Bar
Association (FCBA) will host a breakfast. The speaker will be Dan Glickman,
the new head of the Motion Picture Association of
America (MPAA). Location: Capitol Hilton, 16th & K Streets, NW.
9:30 - 11:00 AM. The
Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will host
a panel discussion titled "Privacy vs. Security: A False Choice?".
The speakers will be Paul Rosenzweig (Heritage
Foundation), David Sobel
(Electronic Privacy Information Center), and
Robert Atkinson (Director of the PPI's Technology and New Economy Project).
notice. Location: PPI, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 400.
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The
Department of Justice (DOJ), the
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA),
CourTV, and other entities will host a forum for students on intellectual property
theft. Attorney General John
Ashcroft will speak at 11:00 AM. Deputy Attorney General James Comey will also participate. The DOJ
notice states that "All event activities are open press". Location: Great Hall,
DOJ, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
10:00 AM. Jeffrey Carlisle, Chief of the Federal Communications
Commission's (FCC) Wireline Communications Bureau
(WCB), will hold an event titled "briefing for members of the media". RSVP
to Mark Wigfield at 202 418-0253. Location: FCC, 445 12th St., SW, Room TW A-402/A-442.
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The Cato Institute
will host a panel discussion titled "The Next Big Thing in Copyright? The
Induce Act and Contributory Liability". Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts
12:15 PM. The New America Foundation
(NAF) will host a brown bag lunch. The speaker will be Leo Hindery (Chairman of
HL Capital and Former CEO of TCI and AT&T Broadband). RSVP to Jennifer Buntman at
202 986-4901 or email@example.com.
Location: NAF, 1630 Connecticut Ave., NW, 7th Floor.
6:00 - 8:15 PM. The DC Bar Association's
Computer and Telecommunications Law Section will host a continuing legal education
(CLE) program titled "Ethics and the Internet". The speaker will
be J.T. Westermeier
(Piper Rudnick). See,
Prices vary from $80 to $115. For more information, call 202 626-3488. Location: D.C.
Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H St., NW.
|Thursday, October 21
9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in In Re AT&T,
No. 03-1397. Judges Ginsburg, Sentelle and Randolph will preside. Location: Prettyman
Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.
12:00 NOON. The Heritage Foundation
will host a panel discussion titled "Secure Flight: Screening for Terrorists
on Passenger Planes". The speakers will be Justin Oberman
(Transportation Security Administration), Lisa Dean
(TSA), and Paul Rosenzweig (Heritage). See,
notice. Location: 214
Massachusetts Ave., NE.
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar
Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. Jeffrey
Carlisle, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Wireline Competition Bureau will speak on
"VOIP and Cable". RSVP to Frank Lloyd 202 434-7309 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Location: 9th Floor,
Mintz Levin, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
4:00 PM. Michael Carrier (Rutgers University Law School) will present a
paper titled "Cabining Intellectual Property Through a Property
Paradigm" at an event hosted by the Dean Dinwoodey Center for Intellectual
Property Studies at the George Washington University
Law School (GWULS). For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at 202 994-6138
or email@example.com. The event is free and
open to the public. See,
Location: GWULS, Faculty Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 716
20th Street, NW.
5:30 - 7:30 PM. The DC
Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section will host an event titled
"Intellectual Property Law Section Fall Reception". See,
Prices vary from $25 - $50. For more information, call 202 626-3463. Location: The
Club at Franklin Square, 1300 Eye Street, NW, Lobby Level.
6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications
Bar Association (FCBA) will host the first part of a two part continuing
legal education (CLE) seminar on Homeland Security. Prices vary. See,
Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.
|Friday, October 22
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications
Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch.
Harry Martin (President of
the FCBA) and Michele Farquhar (President-Elect of the FCBA) will speak on involvement
in the FCBA and building a career in communications law. For more information, contact
Jason Friedrich at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Pam Slipakoff at Pam.Slipakoff@fcc.gov.
Location: Drinker Biddle & Reath, 1500 K Street NW, Suite 1100.
LOCATION CHANGE. 12:30 - 2:00 PM. The Congressional Internet Caucus
Advisory Committee, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) will host a panel discussion titled
"Computer Security: What Your Constituents Need to Know". The speakers
will be FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle, Susan Koehler (Microsoft), Martha Lockwood,
(NCSA), and Wendy Tazelaar (WellsFargo.com). Lunch will be served. Registration is required;
contact email@example.com or
202 638-4370. Location: Cannon Caucus Room.
|Monday, October 25
Day one of a five day conference hosted by the Office of the Secretary of
Defense (OSD) Networks and Information Integration (NII) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
titled "7th Annual DoD Spectrum Management Conference". See,
Radisson Hotel, Annapolis, Maryland.
|Tuesday, October 26
9:30 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS/BXA)
Sensors and Instrumentation
Technical Advisory Committee (SITAC) will hold a partially closed meeting. The
agenda includes discussion of Wassenaar Export Group proposals on
semiconductor lasers and cameras. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 8, 2004, Vol. 69, No.195, at Page
60352. Location: Room 3884, DOC, 14th Street between Constitution and
Pennsylvania Aves., NW.
Day two of a five day conference hosted by the Office of the Secretary of
Defense (OSD) Networks and Information Integration (NII) and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff titled "7th Annual DoD Spectrum Management Conference". See,
Radisson Hotel, Annapolis, Maryland.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Library of Congress in response
to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding continuation, with a few
modifications, of the procedures adopted by the Copyright Office in 1995 that permit
copyright applicants to request reconsideration of decisions to refuse registration. See,
notice in the Federal Register, July 13, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 133, at Pages
|Wednesday, October 27
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The
Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Technology Advisory Council will meet. The topic will be ultrawideband
(UWB) technology. See, FCC
notice [PDF], and
notice in the Federal Register, September 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 187, at
Page 57915. Location: FCC, 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-C305.
2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's
Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 14, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 198, at
Day three of a five day conference hosted by the Office of the Secretary
of Defense (OSD) Networks and Information Integration (NII) and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff titled "7th Annual DoD Spectrum Management Conference". See,
notice. Location: Radisson
Hotel, Annapolis, MD.
Deadline to submit comments to the Department of
Commerce's Technology Administration in response
to its request for comments regarding the recycling of electronics equipment, such as flat
panel monitors. See, TA
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