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November 21, 2005, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,257.
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AG Gonzales Addresses IPR Enforcement in Beijing

11/18. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave a lengthy speech in Beijing, People's Republic of China, devoted solely to intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement.

Alberto GonzalesGonzales (at right) stated that "almost 40 percent of the 500 commercial piracy cases now under investigation by the FBI have ties to China. The range of pirated and counterfeit products originating here stretches across a wide range of industries, including counterfeit pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, handbags and clothing, and pirated digital works, such as movies, music, software, and computer games."

He said that the "partnership between China and the United States ... must include a mutual commitment to enforce the intellectual property rights that form the foundation of our dynamic global economy."

He said that "our work must proceed on several fronts. We must strengthen our global enforcement efforts, ensure strong intellectual property rights laws, increase law enforcement resources devoted to intellectual property enforcement, and work to increase the number of joint U.S.-China operations. Intellectual property crime is now undeniably global in nature. The digital age has created a borderless world for large criminal conspiracies -- so our law enforcement efforts must be global and borderless as well. Every member of the global economy has a responsibility to keep counterfeit goods out of the global market."

He continued that "To combat this growing threat, law enforcement agencies from China and the United States must work together to develop and prosecute international piracy cases. Individually, we must both have strong domestic enforcement, and I support China’s efforts to increase its capacity in this area. But we cannot work alone. Yesterday, I personally urged my counterparts here in China to continue China’s growing cooperation with U.S. law enforcement in combating intellectual property crime."

Gonzales also reviewed recent Department of Justice (DOJ) activities and initiatives related to IPR, including a legislative proposal titled the "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005". See, draft [17 pages in PDF] and story titled "AG Gonzales Proposes Intellectual Property Protection Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,252, November 14, 2005.

Gonzales said that "This legislative package would strengthen penalties for repeat copyright criminals, expand criminal intellectual property protection, and add critical investigative tools for both criminal and civil enforcement. Those who steal the hard work and innovation of honest entrepreneurs and workers should not be allowed to enjoy the profits of such activity. This legislation would also make clear that exporting infringing goods is the same as importing them ... and should be punished accordingly."

House Science Committee Holds Hearing on Nanotech

11/17. The House Science Committee held a hearing titled "Environmental and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology: What Research is Needed?"

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) wrote in his opening statement [PDF] that there must be "environmental research and a appropriate regulatory framework for nanotechnology". See also, opening statement [2 pages in PDF] of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the Committee.

Clayton Teague, Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, wrote in his prepared testimony [8 pages in PDF] that currently, "the Federal Government is funding forefront environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research to establish a strong foundation and much progress in understanding EHS implications has been made", but that "more research is needed".

See also, prepared testimony [PDF] of Richard Denison (Environmental Defense), prepared testimony [PDF] of Krishna Doraiswamy (DuPont Central Research and Development), prepared testimony [PDF] of Matthew Nordan (Lux Research Inc.), and prepared testimony [PDF] of David Rejeski (Smithsonian Institution).

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Future of Science and Universities

11/18. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) held a hearing titled "Future of Science".

Eric Cornell, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was the only witness not from a university. He focused on quantum computing in his prepared testimony [5 pages in PDF]. He explained what this topic is. He then argued that "Teams from around the globe are conducting research trying to solve the riddle of quantum computing. If the US stays on the sidelines, then we will watch others make profound discoveries that will ultimately improve the competitiveness of their industries and quality of life."

Peter Agre, of Duke University, wrote in his prepared testimony [6 pages in PDF] that "I greatly fear that we will be overtaken by other countries." He wrote that "I worry that US government funding for scientific research may some day come with absolute restrictions that prevent change of focus when unexpected discoveries appear. I also worry that US government funding for scientific research will be reduced at this time of a huge federal budget deficit."

He also cautioned about visa restrictions. "Much outstanding research undertaken in US laboratories is performed by scientists that came here from other countries. For reasons including increased restrictions on visas for scientists who wish to work and study in the US, the number of graduate students and scientists coming here is now declining."

He also argued that scientists are being mistreated by prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ). He cited the examples of Wen Ho Lee and Thomas Butler. He argued that in the case of Wen Ho Lee, "our standing with East Asian students has not been restored."

James Heath of the California Institute of Technology wrote in his prepared testimony [5 pages in PDF] about training more scientists in the U.S. He wrote that "The WWII and Sputnik generations of American scientists largely developed the information technologies and biomedical and chemical industries that provide for much of the U.S. economy today. The nanotech and biotech revolutions are, in large part, being developed by foreign-born scientists that immigrated to the U.S. for graduate school."

Now, he said that "Asian countries, in general, are increasingly able to attract their own scientists back from the U.S. by providing them with exciting opportunities and significant resources." He warned that "If the U.S. is to maintain its competitive advantage" it "must also take strong steps towards encouraging and preparing our children to actively participate in developing this future by becoming the scientists and engineers ..."

Samuel Ting, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), focused on research in physics in his prepared testimony [8 pages in PDF]. He advocated "support to basic research in universities to train students and to attract the world's best minds to work in the U.S. He also advocated "U.S. participation in international collaborations". He also said that "it is important to ensure that the location of the next generation of accelerators be in the United States".

See also, written statement of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

More Capitol Hill News

11/18. The Senate Finance Committee approved S 2027, the "U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act", by a vote of 20-0.

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved S 1789, the "Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2005".

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it again held over consideration of S 751, the "Notification of Risk to Personal Data Act".

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it again held over consideration of HR 683, the "Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005".

People and Appointments

11/19. President Bush nominationed Michael Michalak "a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Senior Official to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum". See, White House release.

11/18. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting nominations for its Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB). There is no deadline. See, Federal Register, November 18, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 222 at Pages 69952 - 69953.

11/18. Thomas Barthold will be named acting Chief of Staff of the Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), effective immediately upon George Yin's departure. Barthold is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff.

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of Emilio Gonzalez to be Director of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved four judicial nominees: Joseph Bianco (to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Timothy Burgess (District of Alaska), Gregory Van Tatenhove (Eastern District of Kentucky), and Eric Vitaliano (Eastern District of New York).

11/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it held over consideration of the nominations of Carol Dinkens and Alan Charles Raul to be the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

11/18. Steve Norton was named speechwriter at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). He previously wrote for Congressional Quarterly (CQ). He has also worked for LEGI-SLATE, an online news service owned by the Washington Post Company, and the National Journal's CongressDaily. See, USTR release.

Reps. Terry and Boucher Propose New Internet Taxes

11/17. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) released a discussion draft [31 pages in PDF] of a bill to be titled the "Universal Service Reform Act of 2005". The bill would impose new taxes on a range of internet services for the purpose of subsidizing the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF) programs, including funding of rural telecommunications carriers, and funding of the scandal ridden schools and libraries program.

The bill states in its recitation of findings and purposes that "The current State and Federal mechanisms used to collect and distribute universal service support are not sustainable in a competitive and rapidly changing technological environment."

Rep. Lee Terry

Rep. Terry (at left) and Rep. Boucher wrote in a joint release that they "encourage interested parties to provide comments on the draft by December 23, 2005."

See also, joint section by section summary, and Rep. Boucher's short summary.

The bill would also expand the subsidized entities to include providers of "high speed broadband services", and "an evolving level of telecommunications services that the Commission shall establish periodically".

The bill would tax new information services to subsidize old and less efficient telephone technologies. It states that "Universal service support mechanisms should be used to provide incentives for continued investment in and enhancements to the public switched telephone network ...", or PSTN.

The bill would add a new term to the Communications Act, "communications service provider", or CSP. The bill would then require all CSPs to pay taxes to the FCC.

A CSP would include "any entity that ... uses ... Internet protocol addresses ... to offer a service or a capability ... that provides or enables real-time voice communications; and ... in which the voice component is the primary function".

A CSP would also include any provider of access to any kind of electronic communications network, including networks accessed by DSL, cable, fiber, power line, and spectrum.

The bill would include any entity that "offers for a fee, directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, a physical transmission facility, whether circuit-switched, packet-switched, a leased line, or using radio frequency transmissions, regardless of the form, protocol, or statutory classification of the service, that allows an end user to obtain access, from a particular end user location, to a network that permits the end user to engage in electronic communications (including telecommunications) with the public." (Parentheses in original.)

The bill also exempts the USF from the Anti-Deficiency Act.

The bill does not use the term "tax". Rather, it refers to the mandatory "contribution" of money to the federal government. Nor does the bill use the term "subsidy". Rather, it refers to "support".

Walter McCormick, P/CEO of USTelecom (USTA), stated in a release that "Congressmen Boucher and Terry have taken a leadership role in crafting legislation that takes a common sense approach to preserving the future for universal service. This legislation is another important step toward updating the nation's telecom laws and we applaud Congressmen Boucher and Terry for their dedication to ensuring a sustainable universal service fund. We also strongly recommend that important concepts in this legislation, like broadening the base of support for the fund, tightening the ETC requirements and providing certainty on compliance with the Anti-Deficiency Act, should serve as the core universal service components for comprehensive reform."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, November 21

The House will next meet on Tuesday, December 6, 2005.

The Senate will next meet on Monday, December 12, 2005.

2:00 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host a webcast event titled "China Transactions: The IP Paradigm". The speakers will be Chris Cooper & Ken DeWoskin of Price Waterhouse Coopers. See, notice. For more information, contact Mark Uncapher at muncapher at itaa dot org.

Deadline to submit nominations to the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Technology Administration for its 2006 Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship (ComSci) Program. Only full time career federal employees in a professional or management series at the GS/GM-13 level or above are eligible. See, notice.

Tuesday, November 22

1:00 - 2:00 PM. The National Science Foundation (NSF) National Science Board will meet. The Board will discuss a report [12 pages in PDF] titled "National Science Board 2020 Vision for the National Science Foundation". See, notice in the Federal Register, November 16, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 220, at Pages 69604 - 69605. Location: NSF, Public Meeting Room 120, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.

Wednesday, November 23

Deadline to submit comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the source of income derived from international communications activity. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 19, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 180, at Pages 54859 - 54878.

Thursday, November 24

Thanksgiving Day.

There will be no issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal offices will be closed. See, Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) list of federal holidays.

Friday, November 25

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding closed captioning rules for video programming. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 26, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 185, at Pages 56150-56157. This NPRM is FCC 05-142 in CG Docket No. 05-231.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the the specific relocation procedures applicable to Broadband Radio Service (BRS) operations in the 2150-2160/62 MHz band, which the FCC previously decided will be relocated to the newly restructured 2495-2690 MHz band. The FCC also seeks comment on the specific relocation procedures applicable to Fixed Microwave Service (FS) operations in the 2160-2175 MHz band. This NPRM is FCC 05-172 in ET Docket No. 00-258. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 26, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 206, at Pages 61752 - 61762.

Monday, November 28

Deadline to submit written comments to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding their joint workshop on October 25, 2005, titled "Competition and Real Estate Workshop". See, FTC notice and notice in the Federal Register, September 8, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 173, at Pages 53362 - 53364.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding whether its roaming requirements for commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers should be modified, expanded, or eliminated. This NPRM is FCC 05-160 in WT Docket Nos. 05-265 and 00-193. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 28, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 187, at Pages 56612 - 56620.

Deadline to submit nominations for members of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee to the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). See, NTIA release.

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