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March 6, 2006, Alert No. 1,323.
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AT&T and BellSouth Announce Merger

3/5. AT&T and BellSouth announced in releases that the two companies will merge. See, BellSouth release and AT&T release.

The releases state that "Under terms of the agreement, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, shareholders of BellSouth will receive 1.325 shares of AT&T common stock for each common share of BellSouth. Based on AT&T’s closing stock price on March 3, 2006, this exchange ratio equals $37.09 per BellSouth common share. This represents a 17.9 percent premium over BellSouth's closing stock price on March 3, 2006, and a total equity consideration currently valued at approximately $67 billion."

Ed Whitacre, who is currently Ch/CEO of AT&T, will be Chairman, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of the merged entity. Duane Ackerman, who is currently Ch/CEO of BellSouth, will remain Ch/CEO of BellSouth operations for "a transition period". Three members of BellSouth's Board of Directors will join the AT&T board.

The two companies added that the corporate headquarters for the combined company will remain in San Antonio, Texas, and that Cingular's headquarters will remain in Atlanta, Georgia.

The merger requires regulatory approvals, including by the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It also requires shareholder approvals. However, the two companies stated that the merger "is expected to close within approximately 12 months".

The releases add that "Since AT&T and BellSouth are not actual competitors in the local, long distance and video markets, and because BellSouth is not a significant competitor with AT&T in the enterprise market, the merger will not reduce competition in any of those markets."

AT&T recently merged with SBC. Cingular, a wireless service provider, is a partnership of SBC and BellSouth. The releases state that "One of the most immediate benefits of the transaction will be to streamline and enhance management and operations at Cingular."

The releases state that "the combined company will be better able to speed the convergence of new and improved services for consumers and businesses, and embrace the industry’s shift to Internet Protocol network-based technologies".

The releases also make statements about the benefits of the merger. It will "benefit customers", "promote competition", and be "more innovative".

The release also states that it contains "forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These estimates and statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially from these estimates and statements. Such estimates and statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger ..."

Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge, stated in a release that "The merger of AT&T and BellSouth makes it imperative that the principles of Net Neutrality be included in any merger approval from government agencies and in any telecommunications legislation passed by Congress."

She added that "Both AT&T and BellSouth have been forthright in their statements about their desire to exert greater control over the Internet. It is up to those who make public policy to make certain that the principles of an open Internet continue through this greater consolidation of the telecommunications industry. It is vitally important that the Internet remains open and accessible to consumers and to service providers and remains the source of innovation it has been over the past two decades."

Internet Companies Write House Commerce Committee Regarding Net Neutrality

3/1. Sixty-four companies, interest groups and others sent a letter [2 pages in PDF] to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee, to urge that any telecommunications and internet reform legislation include a "meaningful and enforceable net neutrality requirement".

The entities that joined in the letter include Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft,, Ticketmaster, Skype, Ticketmaster and Yahoo. The entities also include CompTel, the Consumer Electronics Association, and the Public Knowledge.

The letter is short, but states that "the Internet is at risk of losing" its "openness" and its "end-to-end design". The letter is vague as to how "net neutrality" should be preserved by statutory language. The letter mainly serves to identify supporters of a net neutrality mandate.

Microsoft Denies Vista Will Include Back Door for Government Agencies

3/2. Niels Ferguson published a statement in the Microsoft Developers Network's (MSDN) System Integrity Team Blog (SITB) regarding backdoors in Microsoft's forthcoming operating system named Vista.

He responded to a story titled "UK holds Microsoft security talks" in the BBC News web site, published on February 16, 2006, and authored by Ollie Stone-Lee. The story states that "UK officials are talking to Microsoft over fears the new version of Windows could make it harder for police to read suspects' computer files."

The BBC story summarizes testimony given to a Parliamentary Committee by Ross Anderson, a professor at Cambridge University. The story states that "Professor Anderson said people were discussing the idea of making computer vendors ensure ``back door keys´´ to encrypted material were made available."

Microsoft's Ferguson responded, "Over my dead body."

Ferguson identified himself in this statement as a "developer & cryptographer". In an earlier entry in SITB he stated that "You might not have heard about the System Integrity group. We used to be called NGSCB, which was always a temporary name but it took more than 2 years before we got around to changing it. We are part of Windows Security; our charter is to provide Integrity for the Windows platform."

Ferguson elaborated. "Well, maybe not literally---I’m not ready to be a martyr quite yet---but certainly not in any product I work on. And I'm not alone in that sentiment. The official line from high up is that we do not create back doors. And in the unlikely situation that we are forced to by law we'll either announce it publicly or withdraw the entire feature. Back doors are simply not acceptable. Besides, they wouldn't find anybody on this team willing to implement and test the back door."

Microsoft stated in its latest release on Vista, that it will be "broadly available in the second half of 2006". See also, Microsoft's Vista web site and web page titled "Windows Vista Beta 2 BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide".

Ferguson added that "We are of course talking to various governments; we want them to buy Vista and use BitLocker for their own security. We get the typical questions you always get: ease of use, performance, security, etc. We also get questions from law enforcement organizations. They foresee that they will want to read BitLocker-encrypted data, and they want to be prepared. Like any security technology BitLocker has its avenues of attack and law enforcement should know about them. For example, if they search a house and find a computer, they should also take all USB thumb drives, as these might contain a BitLocker key. This information is not secret; our users need to have the same information when they make the security vs. convenience tradeoff of choosing a key-protection option (TPM only, USB key, TPM + USB key, etc.) We plan on having a KB article with the details when Vista ships."

Microsoft Accuses EC of Secret Collaboration with Microsoft Adversaries

3/2. Microsoft submitted its Supplemental Response [16 pages in PDF] to the European Commission's December 21, 2005 Statement of Objections.

Microsoft filed its initial response on February 15, 2006, and published it in its web site on February 23. See, Microsoft web page with hyperlinks to the various components of the February 15 response.

Microsoft filed this Supplemental Response because it asserts that the EC withheld from Microsoft copies of relevant ex parte communications with the competitors of Microsoft that have complained to and assisted the EC in this proceeding. Microsoft alleges that the EC withheld from Microsoft certain documents until two days before Microsoft's deadline to respond, and continues to withhold certain other documents, thereby denying Microsoft the ability and right to defend itself.

The factual allegations made by Microsoft in this supplemental response, if true, would indicate that by U.S. legal standards, the EC has been conducting this proceeding without allowing Microsoft fundamental elements of due process of law.

In March of 2004, the EC announced its decision mandating that Microsoft remove certain code from its products sold in the Europe, and that it license certain proprietary technology and intellectual property rights to its competitors. The EC also fined Microsoft 497 Million Euros in 2004. The EC asserted that Microsoft leveraged its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems onto the markets for work group server operating systems and for media players. See, stories titled "European Commission Seeks 497 Million Euros and Code Removal from Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 863, March 25, 2004, and "European Commission Releases Microsoft Decision" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 883, April 23, 2004.

On December 22, 2005, the EC released its Statement of Objections asserting that Microsoft had failed to comply with the March 2004 decision. The EC demanded more money and disclosures from Microsoft. The EC stated in a release that it might fine Microsoft "€2 million per day".

See, story titled "EU Seeks More Money and Disclosures from Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,279, December 23, 2005.

The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division has frequently criticized the EC's 2004 decision. The US and the EC take vastly different approaches to the application of competition law to single firm conduct. See, for example, September 10, 2004 speech in Tokyo, Japan, by former Assistant Attorney General Hewitt Pate titled "Securing the Benefits of Global Competition". See also, stories titled "Pate Criticizes EC Decision Regarding Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 869, April 5, 2004; "Pate Addresses US EU Differences on Antitrust, Microsoft, and IPR" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 913, June 8, 2004; and "Pate Addresses US Competition Law And Differences With EU" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 975, September 13, 2004.

Microsoft alleges in its March 2 Supplemental Response that the EC has been conducting this proceeding "in secret collaboration with Microsoft adversaries". It further alleges that the EC, "the Trustee, and Microsoft’s adversaries were actively collaborating throughout the Fall of 2005 in a manner inconsistent with the Commission’s role as neutral regulator and the Trustee’s role as independent monitor."

Microsoft wrote that "Contacts between the Commission and competitors of the company under investigation, and between the Commission and its outside experts are frequently the practice in competition cases. But the contacts disclosed by the documents in this case are entirely inappropriate for two basic reasons."

"First, these contacts are inappropriate given the ostensibly impartial roles of the Trustee and the OTR Group (``OTR´´) in this case. The Statement of Objections relies heavily on the reports of the Trustee and OTR as evidence of Microsoft’s alleged failure to comply with its obligations under the 2004 Decision. In relying on these reports, the Commission casts the Trustee and OTR in the role of independent, impartial experts. However, the Commission’s encouragement of secret contacts between Microsoft’s adversaries and the Trustee and OTR, and the undocumented communications that resulted, is entirely inconsistent with any attempt to portray the Trustee and OTR as independent and impartial experts. By encouraging and facilitating these communications to occur in the dark, and without any record of the content of the communications apparently being kept, the Commission has prevented Microsoft from knowing whether the content of the communications was distorted or accurate."

"Second, these contacts violate both the letter and spirit of the Commission’s own Decision of 28 July 2005 on the Monitoring Trustee, not to mention fundamental principles of due process", wrote Microsoft.

The March 2 filing also alleges that "Further heightening due process concerns is the incompleteness of the 13 February disclosure. Even a cursory review of the documents disclosed reveals that there are others that have not been disclosed. E-mail chains are not finished, questions are left unanswered, and documents are mentioned that are not disclosed."

The copy of this filing published in the Microsoft web site does not include a signature page, or page containing a verification or oath.

AEI Brookings Study Criticizes Proposals to Regulate Ratings Companies

3/3. The AEI Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies released a paper [62 pages in PDF] titled "Regulating the Raters: The Law and Economics of Ratings Firms". The authors are Harold Furchtgott-Roth (a former FCC Commissioner), Robert Hahn, and Anne Layne-Farrar.

They conclude that "Despite the finding that many ratings industries are concentrated, our analysis suggests that market forces generally appear to be an effective mechanism for providing consumers and producers with useful ratings. In most cases, such markets do not require government intervention. Moreover, in industries characterized by rapid technological change the government is likely to do more harm than good by intervening."

There are ratings providers in many industry sectors. There are several that are technology or media related, including Arbitron's radio audience ratings, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) categorization of the content of software games, the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) categorization of the content of movies, and Nielsen Media Research's television audience ratings.

The paper concludes that "While the proposed plan for intervening in the media ratings market appears workable in theory, we find that it is unlikely to make economic sense because there is no clear evidence of a market failure and because the probable costs of the regulation would outweigh the probable benefits."

On July 1, 2005, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and others introduced S 1372, the "Fairness, Accuracy, Inclusivity, and Responsiveness in Ratings Act of 2005" or the "FAIR Ratings Act". This bill would impose regulation of "any system designed to measure the viewing habits of television viewers and to produce commercially usable data based on such measurements".

On July 14, 2005, Rep. Vito Fosella (R-NY) and others introduced HR 3298, the "Television Viewer Consumer Protection Act of 2005", a similar bill.

Neither the Senate, House, Senate Commerce Committee, nor House Commerce Committee have yet approved either of these bills. Although, the SCC held a hearing on July 27, 2005. See, SCC web page with hyperlinks to prepared testimony and video.

FCC News

3/3. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in a release [PDF] that April 7, 2006, is the deadline to submit applications for participation in the FCC's 2006 Attorney Honors Program. The is an employment recruitment program directed at "graduating law school students and recent law school graduates".

3/2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order [6 pages in PDF] extending its relief plan to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina through targeted universal fund (USF) support. See also, FCC release [PDF]. This order is FCC 06-23 in CC Docket No. 96-45, and other dockets.

3/3. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text of its Twelfth Annual Report [PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming", and numbered MB Docket No. 05-255. The FCC adopted, but did not release, this order at its meeting of February 10, 2006. See, story titled "FCC Describes Annual Report on Video Competition" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,308, February 13, 2006. The deadline to submit initial comments on this report is April 3, 2006. The deadline to submit reply comments is April 18, 2006.

People and Appointments

2/28. Qwest Communications announced in a release that Philip Anschutz and Cannon Harvey will not stand for re-election to Qwest's Board of Directors at the upcoming annual meeting.

More News

3/2. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, without amendment, S 2178, the "Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006". Also on March 2, the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) approved HR 4709, the "Law Enforcement and Phone Privacy Protection Act of 2006", by voice vote, without amendment.

3/3. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [PDF] titled "Electronic Government: Agencies Face Challenges in Implementing New Federal Employee Identification Standard". This report is GAO-06-178.

2/28. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it has "determined to terminate sanctions imposed on certain EC Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom)." (Parentheses in original.) The USTR added that "This determination is based on assurances from the European Communities that EC telecommunications operators are no longer subject to discriminatory requirements, and that purchasing by EC telecommunications operators are now based solely on commercial considerations, not EC procurement rules." See, Federal Register, February 28, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 39, at Page 10093.

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RIM and NTP Settle Blackberry Related Patent Litigation

3/3. Research in Motion (RIM) and NTP announced that they have "signed a definitive licensing and settlement agreement. All terms of the agreement have been finalized and the litigation against RIM has been dismissed by a court order this afternoon. The agreement eliminates the need for any further court proceedings or decisions relating to damages or injunctive relief." See, RIM release.

RIM makes Blackberrys. However, RIM holds patents that pertain to technology for integrating existing e-mail systems with radio frequency (RF) wireless communication networks, to enable mobile users to receive e-mail over a wireless network. NTP filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (EDVa) against RIM in 2001 alleging infringement of its patents. The District Court entered judgment of infringement for NTP, awarded damages, and enjoined RIM from further infringement. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) has overturned parts of the District Court's judgment, but let stand others. The Supreme Court has denied certiorari.

The release states that "RIM has paid NTP $612.5 million in full and final settlement of all claims against RIM, as well as for a perpetual, fully-paid up license going forward. This amount includes money already escrowed by RIM to date."

It adds that "The licensing and settlement agreement relates to all patents owned and controlled by NTP and covers all of RIM's products, services and technologies. NTP grants RIM an unfettered right to continue its business, including its BlackBerry related business. The resolution permits RIM and its partners to sell RIM products and services completely free and clear of any claim by NTP, including any claims that NTP may have against wireless carriers, channel partners, suppliers or customers in relation to RIM products or services, (including BlackBerry Connect and Built-In technology), or in relation to third party products and services, to the extent they are used in connection with RIM products and services."

This case is NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., Sup. Ct. No. 05-763, App. Ct. No. 03-1615, and D.C. No. 3:01CV767.

See also, stories titled "Federal Circuit Issues New Opinion in NTP v. RIM" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,197, August 17, 2005, and "Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Blackberry Patent Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,295, Tuesday, January 24.

PFF Paper Advocates Empowering Authors

2/28. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a paper [9 pages in PDF] titled "Artists and Culture: Empowering the Former to Foster the Latter". Patrick Ross of the PFF is the author.

He writes that the content companies that serve as intermediaries and distributors are represented in Washington DC, as are their ideological opponents from academia and advocacy groups who advocate free culture. Much of the paper is a rebuttal of Lawrence Lessig's book titled "Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity" [Amazon].

Ross argues that in addition to the free culture movement, the end users, and the content companies, there are also the artists who create the works that make up the culture. He argues that "it is critical that the artist be given greater respect".

He concludes that "While there will always be those who appoint themselves guardians and protectors of our culture, we can recognize that they aren't truly needed. That is, they aren't needed as long as artists retain their longstanding role in the culture. Artists, through the flexible exercise of their rights bundles, allow the culture to be enriched. No corporation can lock that culture down, and no p2p pirate can significantly erode that culture, as long as society collectively thanks its artists by respecting property rights."

Ross also stated that "The Internet is changing the way media is produced, packaged and distributed. It likely will become increasingly common to see artists as their own distributors as the Internet removes the need for manufacturing, transportation of media, and retailing shelf space."

More IPR News

3/3. The U.S. Court of Appeals (1stCir) issued its opinion in Cipes v. Mikasa, a copyright infringement case involving reuse of photographs, in which the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the District Court for the photographer. This case is Joel Cipes v. Mikasa, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, App. Ct. No. No. 05-2402, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

2/28. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the filing of yet another round of civil complaints in U.S. District Courts on behalf of large record companies against individuals alleged to have infringed copyrights on peer to peer file sharing systems. See, RIAA release.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, March 6

The House will meet at 12:00 NOON in pro forma session only. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will meet at 1:00 PM for morning business. At 5:00 PM it will proceed to executive session to consider judicial nominations.

12:00 NOON. The Cato Institute will host a forum on the book titled An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths [Amazon], by Glenn Reynolds. See, notice and registration page. Lunch will be served. The event will be webcast by Cato. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

2:30 PM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Oman Free Trade Agreement. See, notice. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Ethics and the Internet". The speaker will be J.T. Westermeier (DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary). The topics to be covered include web based advertising, unauthorized practice of law, formation of attorney client relationships, attorney client confidentiality, online referral services and directories, online bids for legal services, and class action communications. The price to attend ranges from $70-$125. For more information, call 202 626-3488. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

Tuesday, March 7

The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 PM. The House will consider, under suspension of the rules, several items, including S 2271, the "USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006", and HR 32, the "Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act". S 2271 is the bill sponsored by Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) that the Senate approved on March 1. The Senate approved HR 32 on February 15. See, story titled "Senate Approves Bill to Criminalize Trafficking in Counterfeit Marks" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,315, February 22, 2006. See, Republican Whip Notice.

8:30 AM - 5:15 PM. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 17, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 33, at Page 8566. The public must request permission to attend by March 2. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in AT&T (formerly SBC) v. FCC, App. Ct. No. 05-1186. This is a petition for review of a final order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denying a petition for forbearance from applying Title II regulatory obligations to certain services characterized by SBC as internet protocol services. See, brief [40 pages in PDF] of the FCC. Judges Randolph, Tatel and Williams will preside. Location: Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing titled "Rural Telecommunications". The witnesses will be Thomas Dorr (Undersecretary, Rural Development Authority, Department of Agriculture), Mark Johnson (Commissioner, Regulatory Commission of Alaska), Ray Baum (Commissioner, Public Utility Commission of Oregon), Bill Squires (Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative), Larry Sarjeant (Qwest Communications), Craig Mundie (Microsoft), Joe Garcia (National Congress of American Indians), and Mark Goldstein (Government Accountability Office). See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the oversight and operation of credit rating agencies. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Competitive Technologies, Inc., et al. v. Fujitsu, an appeal from the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in patent infringement case involving plasma display panels (see, U.S. Patent Nos. 4,866,349 and 5,081,400), and 11th Amendment immunity of state universities. This is App. Ct. No. 05-1237 and D.C. No. C-02-1673 JCS. Previously, the Federal Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. See, June 30, 2004, opinion. The Supreme Court denied certiorari on October 3, 2005. See, Order List [84 pages in PDF], at page 14. Location: Courtroom 402, 717 Madison Place, NW.

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "Economic Engagement and Freedom in China". The speakers will be John Frisbie (U.S.-China Business Council), Ethan Gutmann (author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal), James McGregor (Vermilion Ventures), and Ying Ma (AEI). See, notice. Location: 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

12:00 NOON. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold an oversight hearing titled "White Collar Enforcement (Part l): Attorney-Client Privilege and Corporate Waivers". The hearing will be webcast by the HJC. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202 225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding additional payment component of default payments for the auction of new nationwide commercial Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service licenses in the 800 MHz band. This is Auction No. 65. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 28, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 39, at Pages 10034-10035.

Wednesday, March 8

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

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) may hold an executive business meeting. See, notice. The SJC frequently cancels or postpones meetings without notice. Press contact: Blain Rethmeier (Specter) at 202 224-5225, David Carle (Leahy) at 202 224-4242 or Tracy Schmaler (Leahy) at 202 224-2154. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

TENTATIVE. 10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) will meet to mark up HR __, the "Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act". The hearing will be webcast by the HCC. See, notice. Press contact: Larry Neal (Barton) at 202 225-5735. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. The witnesses will be James Lambright (acting President of the Ex-Im Bank), Gerald Rama (SVP of PNC Bank), and Al Merritt (President of MD International). See, notice. Location: Room __, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in LG Electronics v. Bizcom Electronics, an appeal from the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in a case involving the issue of patent misuse. This is App. Ct. No. 05-1261. Location: Courtroom 210, 717 Madison Place, NW.

10:00 - 11:30 AM. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 17, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 33, at Page 8566. The public must request permission to attend by March 2. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing on the Copyright Office's (CO) report [133 pages in PDF] titled "Report on Orphan Works". The witnesses will be Jule Sigall (primary author of the report), Allan Adler (Association of American Publishers), David Trust (Professional Photographers of America), and Maria Hyun (Guggenheim Museum). See, notice. See also, story titled "Copyright Office Recommends Orphan Works Legislation" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,302, February 2, 2006. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

2:30 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development will hold a hearing titled "Piracy and Counterfeiting in China". The witnesses will be Chris Israel (Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement at the Department of Commerce), Franklin Vargo (National Association of Manufacturers), Andy York (Leupold & Stevens), and William Alford (Harvard Law School). Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding its (1) notice of proposed rulemaking, and (2) proposed revenue procedure, pertaining to tax return preparers' use and disclosure of tax return information in an electronic environment. See, IRS notice in the Federal Register that describes and recites proposed changes to its rules implementing 26 U.S.C. § 7216, Federal Register, December 8, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 235, at Pages 72954 - 72964. See also, IRS web site notice [16 pages in PDF] that describes and contains the proposed revenue procedure. And see, story titled "IRS Releases Proposed Rules Regarding Electronic Tax Preparation" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,268, December 8, 2005.

Thursday, March 9

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

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a day long conference titled "The Digital Age Communications Act: Towards a New Market-Oriented Communications Policy in 2006". See, agenda and registration page. Location: Capitol Hilton, 1001 16th St., NW.

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Cato Institute and the Brookings Institution will jointly host a one day event titled "The Marketplace of Democracy: A Conference on Electoral Competition and American Politics". The agenda includes a panel discussion from 10:30 - 11:45 AM that includes Brad Smith, who is a professor at Capital University Law School, a former member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and an opponent of FEC regulation of internet based speech. See, notice, agenda and registration page. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

9:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. The event will be webcast by the FCC. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C05 (Commission Meeting Room).

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Nash v. Microsoft. This is App. Ct. No. 05-1385. Location: Courtroom 402, 717 Madison Place, NW.

3:15 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold a hearing on the nomination of Robert McDowell to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). See, notice. Press contact: Melanie Alvord (Stevens) at 202 224-8456, Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202 224-3991, or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202 224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 562, Dirksen Building.

TIME? The Board of Directors of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) will meet. Location: AIPLA, Headquarters Board Room, Arlington, VA.

Friday, March 10

The Republican Whip Notice states that "no votes are expected in the House".

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Patent Office Professionals Association v. FSLA, App. Ct. No. 05-1173. Judges Henderson, Garland and Edwards will preside. Location: Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

5:00 PM EST. Deadline to submit requests to testify at the Copyright Office's hearings on possible exemptions to the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 23, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 36, at Pages 9302-9303. See also, stories titled "Copyright Office Announces Proceeding on DMCA Anti-Circumvention Exemptions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,229, October 7, 2005, and "Copyright Office Announces Hearings on Exemptions to Anti-Circumvention Provisions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,318, February 27, 2006.

Monday, March 13

2:00 - 3:00 PM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP) will hold a monthly meeting. See, notice. For more information, contact Scott Eisner ncfevents at uschamber dot com or 202 463-5500. Location: U.S. Chamber, 1615 H Street, NW.