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June 9, 2006, Alert No. 1,388.
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House Approves COPE Act, Without Network Neutrality Amendment

6/8. The House amended and approved HR 5252, the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006" (COPE Act). The vote on final approval was 321-101. See, Roll Call No. 241.

Republicans voted 215-8 for the bill. Democrats voted 106-92.

The House rejected the Markey network neutrality amendment [PDF] by a vote of 152-269. See, Roll Call No. 239. Republicans voted 11-211. Democrats voted 140-58.

The House approved the Smith antitrust amendment by a vote of 353-68. See, Roll Call No. 238. Republicans voted 222-1. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) cast the only Republican vote against this amendment. He also voted for the Markey amendment, and against final passage.

This amendment provides that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify, impair, or supercede the applicability of the antitrust laws or the jurisdiction of the district courts of the United States to hear claims arising under the antitrust laws." It also provides that "The term 'antitrust laws' has the meaning given to it in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12(a)), except that such term includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the extent that such section 5 applies to unfair methods of competition."

Hence, the bill as amended, provides, in Title II, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is authorized to enforce its August 2005 policy statement [3 pages in PDF] regarding network neutrality through case by case adjudicatory proceedings. However, it lacks the broader network neutrality language of the Markey language, and the Clayton Act based network neutrality language of HR 5417, the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006", which the House Judiciary Committee approved on May 25, 2006. The Rules Committee refused to make in order an amendment containing language substantially similar to HR 5417. However, the bill now does have the limited the antitrust authority preservation language added by the Smith amendment.

See, story titled "Rules Committee Adopts Rule for Consideration of COPE Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,387, June 8, 2006.

The House approved by voice vote a manager's amendment [6 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee (HCC), and lead sponsor of the bill.

The House approved by voice vote an amendment [3 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN). This amends Titled III of the bill, regarding VOIP, to provide that "Nothing in this Act (including the amendments made in this Act) shall be construed to exempt a VOIP service provider from requirements imposed by the Federal Communications Commission or a State commission on all VOIP service providers to (1) pay appropriate compensation for the transportation of a VOIP service over the facilities and equipment of another provider; or (2) contribute on an equitable and non-discriminatory basis to the preservation and advancement of universal service."

The House approved by voice vote an amendment [3 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Bobbie Rush (D-IL) that provides for a complaint process to resolve fee disputes.

The House approved by voice vote an amendment [2 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX) that increases from $500,000 to $750,000 the penalty for an operator who discriminates by denying access to a service on the basis of income.

The House approved by voice vote an amendment [7 pages in PDF] offered by Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD) that allows local franchising authorities to issue an order requiring compliance with FCC consumer protection rules.

Rep. Sheila Lee (D-TX) withdrew her amendment [2 pages in PDF].

Rep. Joe BartonRep. Barton (at left) stated "The primary focus of this legislation is to create a streamlined cable franchising process in order to increase the number of facilities-based providers of video, voice, and data services everywhere in our great nation. Today, there are thousands of local franchising authorities, and each may impose disparate restrictions on the provision of cable service in its specific franchising area.  The requirement to negotiate such local franchises, and the patchwork of obligations local franchising authorities impose, are hindering the deployment of advanced broadband networks that will bring increasingly innovative and competitive services to all of our constituents."

He added that "The bill also seeks to strike the right balance between ensuring that the public Internet remains an open, vibrant marketplace and ensuring that Congress does not hand the FCC a blank check to regulate Internet services, an action that I believe would have a chilling affect on broadband deployment, especially, broadband innovation. We do need the FCC to stop the cheats without killing honest creativity. We don't need anybody to be the first Secretary of the Internet."

Reaction. BellSouth's Herschel Abbott stated in a release that "We congratulate and thank Chairman Barton and Representative Rush for shepherding this legislation through the House. We look forward to Senate action so that legislation can be signed by the President this year. Completion of video franchise legislation will allow faster rollout of a video service that can provide another competitive alternative to cable, offering the kind of customer service and quality that customers demand. Given the amount of debate over so called 'net neutrality' during consideration of this bill, let me again assure consumers that BellSouth will not block or degrade access to any legal content on the internet. Net neutrality is a phony issue and it ought to be laid to rest by today's vote."

See also, release of Walter McCormick, head of the USTelecom.

Kyle McSlarrow, head of the NCTA, stated in a release that "As an industry that already operates in a fully competitive marketplace, cable supports the vision of this legislation which ensures that all providers compete on a level playing field. And with the inclusion of interconnection language for facilities-based Internet voice providers, the COPE Act is a significant step forward for voice competition in the U.S. Cable companies today provide competitive voice service to millions of American consumers, and this legislation will encourage even more robust competition in the telephone market."

He added that "By rejecting network neutrality regulation, the House has clearly stated a preference for telecom reform that allows the marketplace and not the government to pick winners and losers. And consumers will reap the benefits. We continue to believe that government should further study the emerging broadband marketplace before injecting itself into a thriving, dynamic market where investment and innovation are flourishing."

Earl Comstock, head of Comptel, stated in a release that "COMPTEL is greatly disappointed that the House today capitulated to the strong arm tactics of the Bell operating monopolies and passed legislation that advances the interests of the Bell companies at the expense of consumers and competition. By failing to adopt pro-competitive safeguards, including Net neutrality provisions, the House has set the stage for America to fall further behind Europe and Asia with respect to broadband services. This legislation provides even greater incentive for the Bell companies, like the cable companies before them, to raise prices, limit competition, and squash innovation. The House today has failed American consumers and businesses by taking a giant step toward turning the Internet into a cable duopoly."

Public Knowledge's Gigi Sohn stated in a release that "With the defeat of the Markey amendment, the House bill will have no meaningful protections for consumers or service providers against the discriminatory practices that the telephone and cable companies will employ to favor their own content and services. Today's Internet, which gives consumers control over what applications, services and content they want to access, will be replaced by an Internet that looks like a cable system -- where network providers determine who gets on and at what price."

CIIP Subcommittee Approves Section 115 Reform Act

6/8. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced HR 5533 [57 pages in PDF], the "Section 115 Reform Act of 2006", or SIRA. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property (CIIP) approved the bill, without amendment, by unanimous voice vote, on June 8.

The bill as introduced and approved makes changes to the discussion draft that was circulated on June 7, 2006, and hyperlinked in the story titled "CIIP May Mark Up SIRA" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,386, June 7, 2006.

The bill would revise 17 U.S.C. § 115 to provide digital music providers, such as Apple's iTunes, a blanket compulsory license for digital phonorecord deliveries and hybrid offerings.

Rep. Lamar SmithRep. Smith (at right), the Chairman of the CIIP Subcommittee, and sponsor of HR 5553, wrote in a statement that "Retailers and online companies should be competing with each other, not competing with piracy".

He said that this bill "paves the way for legal music services to offer a full range of music to consumers. No longer will licensing issues limit services like iTunes, Yahoo, and others from offering consumers what they want, when they want it. The legislation also puts escrowed money into artists' hands. Since 2001, advance money has been paid into escrow by the legal services to pay artists once a final rate was set. This legislation empowers the Copyright Royalty Board to set these final rates and then pay artists the money they have earned years ago."

Rep. Berman, the ranking Democrat on the CIIP Subcommittee, and cosponsor of the bill, stated at the mark up that "with this bill ... we have taken a great leap forward into the digital age". He praised the bill, offered his support, and added that "there is complete consensus that the current Section 115 needs to be fixed". However, he also said that "there is still plenty of work that needs to be done" before the full Committee marks up the bill.

He said that "By providing an environment were legal music services can flourish, the bill will enable customers to receive their choice of music at any time, at any place and in any format, while at the same time ensuring that songwriters receive adequate compensation."

No amendments were offered at this mark up. The Subcommittee approved the bill by unanimous voice vote. The members present were Reps. Smith, Berman, Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), William Jenkins (R-TN), Ric Keller (R-FL), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rick Boucher (D-VA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Cursory Summary of HR 5553. HR 5553 amends 17 U.S.C. § 115, which is titled "Scope of exclusive rights in nondramatic musical works: Compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords". Section 115 covers the licensing of the reproduction and distribution rights for nondramatic musical works.

While HR 5553 makes some changes to the current language of Section 115, it primarily adds a new Subsection 115(e) that provides for a "compulsory license for digital phonorecord deliveries and hybrid offerings".

The June 7 discussion draft did not include these "hybrid offerings". These are defined (at pages 46-47) as "a reproduction or distribution of a phonorecord in physical form subject to a compulsory license under this section where -- (i) a digital transmission of data by or under the authority of the licensee is required to render the sound recording embodied on the phonorecord audible to the end user or to enable the continued rendering of the sound recording after a finite period of time or a specified number of times rendered; or (ii) the phonorecord is made by or under the authority of the licensee at the request of a user for distribution to that user or the user’s designee."

Section 1 of the bill merely provides the title of the bill. Section 2 (at pages 2-51) contains the bulk of the bill; it adds the new Subsection 115(e) to the Copyright Act. Section 3 (at pages 51-53) of the bill adds a new Subsection 115(f) regarding "Performance Right Reserved". Section 4 of the bill (at pages 53-55) adds a new Subsection 115(c)(7) regarding "Interim Rate Process". Section 5 of the bill (at pages 55-57) contains technical amendments to Subsections 115(c) and (d). Section 6 of the bill (at page 57) provides the effective date. Section 7 of the bill (at page 57) provides two savings clauses.

The new Subsection 115(e)(1) provides that this compulsory license covers "(A) the making and distribution of general and incidental digital phonorecord deliveries in the form of full downloads, limited downloads, interactive streams, and any other form constituting a digital phonorecord delivery or hybrid offering; and (B) all reproduction and distribution rights necessary to engage in activities described in subparagraph (A), solely for the purpose of engaging in such activities under the license, including -- (i) the making of reproductions by and for end users; (ii) reproductions made on servers under the authority of the licensee; and (iii) incidental reproductions made under the authority of the license in the normal course of engaging in activities described in subparagraph (A), including cached, network, and RAM buffer reproductions." (See, pages 2-3.)

The new Subsection 115(e)(1) provides that a "digital music provider" (which term is defined at pages 45-46) may obtain a blanket compulsory license "only from a designated agent". (See, page 3.) A blanket license means that digital music providers need not obtain hundreds of licenses from publishers. The new Subsection 115(e)(9) (at pages 13-26) addresses these designated agents.

The new Subsection 115(e)(3) provides for a free compulsory license for "the making of server and incidental reproductions to facilitate noninteractive streaming". (The term "interactive stream" is defined at pages 47-48, while "noninteractive streaming" is defined at page 49 to mean "the radio-style streaming of sound recordings of musical works for which a statutory license is available with respect to the sound recordings under section 114(d)(2)".)

Notably, the bill does not accord these reproductions fair use status. The final section of the bill (at page 57) provides that "Nothing in this Act shall affect any right, limitation, or defense to copyright infringement, including fair use, under title 17, United States Code."

The new Subsection 115(e)(3) adds that "The license shall cover reproductions made on servers under authority of the licensee and incidental reproductions made under the authority of the licensee in the course of the noninteractive streaming, including cached, network, and RAM buffer reproductions, to the extent reasonably necessary for, and solely for the purpose of, engaging in noninteractive streaming under the license in a technologically reasonable and efficient matter."

The new Subsection 115(e)(8) addresses "Royalty Rates and Terms". It provides that for new license activities, that Copyright Royalty Judges shall conduct a ratemaking proceeding to determine a final rate and terms for any activity for which a license is available under the news Subsection 115(e). It also addresses rates and terms already in effect, pending proceedings, and interim rates. (See, pages 7-13.)

Concerns of Reps. Boucher and Lofgren. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) both attended the meeting and expressed their support for the bill. However, they both identified provisions of the bill that they would like to see revised before the full Committee markup.

Rep. Rick BoucherRep. Boucher (at right) said "I do intend to support this bill." He said that this bill will encourage lawful online distribution services, and enable them to compete with the illegal peer to peer services. He then identified three areas of concern.

First, he said that "The bill basically says that the incidental copies -- buffer copies, cache copies, server copies -- will be subject to the license that is established in this bill. It is a free license, assuming that certain conditions are met. ... But, my point is that these copies are purely incidental. They have no independent economic value. These incidental copies exist only because they are necessary in order to allow the distribution for which the license is being paid. In the absence of making these temporary incidental copies, the distribution simply cannot occur. And so the buffer copy -- the caches, the server copies -- should in fact be characterized as fair use. And, they should be entirely outside the license. So what I would propose is an exemption in Section 115 for these incidental copies that have no independent economic value. And, in doing that I am merely reflecting the recommendation of the Copyright Office, which in its 104 report said these incidental copies are in fact fair use and the bill should reflect that. We don't have to subject them to this license in order to achieve the goals of this reform."

Second, he said that "This free license is only available as long as the application for which the license is sought does not in any way encourage time shifting. So, if the person who is seeking a license also produces a product  that happens to have a record function, that could be used for time shifting , then that individual entity, or its music services, would not be entitled to the free license. And, that strikes me as particularly .inappropriate. It looks like an attempt to import some of the principles of the Perform Act, which is very controversial, into what I hope at the end of the day will be a non-controversial reform of Section 115. And, so I would strongly urge that this condition, that the product not be encouraging a time shifting, be eliminated in any event."

Third, he argued that "The bill as it is drafted this morning tends to conflate reproductions and performances. And, one of the goals of this reform is to try to get away from the classic double dip, where one copyright holder got paid for the mechanical copy, and another for the performance. Yet, we have placed that same inequity back into the bill by simply conflating reproductions and performances, declaring that a stream, in which no permanent copy is made, is a reproduction, because of the incidental copies that are made. And, that, in turn, leads to the consequence of that license holder, of that particular applicant, who has a streaming technology, having to pay twice, assuming, of course that, with regard his product he does have, with the language of the bill, something that would encourage time shifting, in which case he would not qualify for the free license, with regard to that part of the product."

Rep. Lofgren said that the bill is "an important step forward". She said that she shares Rep. Boucher's concerns, and added that they "can be solved".

She also said that the bill, as introduced, "would preclude TiVo".

Rep. Smith said that he would work with Rep. Boucher and others.

Reaction. Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of the Digital Media Association (DiMA), David Israelite, P/CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) and Mitch Bainwol, Ch/CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued a joint statement regarding HR 5553: "Our member companies -- digital music providers, music publishers and recording companies -- stand much to gain from legislation that will bring music licensing into the digital era. We have been working hard over the past months to reach agreement about how to best approach this complicated and difficult task, and we are pleased that the bill introduced by Representatives Smith and Berman today reflects much of that work."

They added that "While we have not reached complete agreement on all aspects of this legislation, we are optimistic that in the coming weeks we will work together with Chairman Smith and Representative Berman to ultimately pass historic legislation that will promote greater innovation and competition among digital music providers, deliver fair compensation to music creators and most importantly, greatly expand music choice and enjoyment for music fans."

Gigi Sohn, head of the Public Knowledge, stated in a release after the vote that "We are disappointed that the bill was approved by the Subcommittee. But we were heartened by the comments of Rep. Boucher and Rep. Lofgren, who accurately recognized that incidental copies of movies or music should not be subject to a copyright license. These copies, made in the buffer of a computer, iPod or other device, simply exist so that the song can be heard or a movie can be viewed and have no economic value. We also agree with comments by Mr. Boucher and Ms. Lofgren that the bill threatens the ability of consumers to listen to music at any time they choose and that it could threaten the existence of digital recording functions, such as TiVO. We look forward to working with the Subcommittee between now and markup at the full Judiciary Committee."

More News

6/8. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Xerox v. 3Com, a patent infringement case involving computerized interpretation of handwritten text. This action involves assertions by Xerox that 3Com's handwriting recognition technology named "Graffiti", which is in Palm's Pilot, infringes Xerox's U.S. Patent No. 5,596,656. The District Court granted summary judgment of invalidity that several claims of the Xerox patent are invalid. The Court of Appeals reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. This case is Xerox Corporation v. 3Com Corporation, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, App. Ct. No. 04-1470, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, Judge Michael Telesca presiding.

Court of Appeals Upholds All of FCC's CALEA Order

6/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its divided opinion [29 pages in PDF] in ACE v. FCC, petitions for review of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) August 5, 2005, order [59 pages in PDF] that provides that facilities based broadband service providers and interconnected voice over internet protocol (VOIP) providers are subject to requirements under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The Court of Appeals denied the petition.

Judge David Sentelle wrote the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Janice Brown joined. Judge Harry Edwards wrote an emphatic dissent. He wrote that the FCC "forgot to read the words of the statute", that its order "manufactures broad new powers out of thin air", and that its legal argument in defense of the broadband service providers portion of the order is "utter gobbledygook".

The FCC's order is FCC 05-153 in ET Docket No. 04-295 and RM-10865. See also, stories titled "FCC Amends CALEA Statute" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,191, August 9, 2005; "FCC CALEA Order Challenged" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,240, Wednesday, October 26, 2005; and "Court of Appeals Hears Oral Argument in Challenge to FCC's August 5 CALEA Order" and "Commentary: Administrative Process and the FCC" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,365, May 8, 2006. See also, ACE brief [71 pages in PDF] and FCC brief [52 pages in PDF] filed with the Court of Appeals.

This opinion is a significant victory for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and National Security Agency, which seek to maintain universal surveillance capabilities across all communications and information technologies.

Opponents of the FCC's order from the technology sector, academia, and the privacy and civil rights community have argued that it will increase prices consumers pay for services, harm network and information security, reduce technological innovation, drive businesses offshore, and harm privacy.

The CALEA provides that telecommunications carriers must design their equipment and networks to facilitate lawfully conducted wiretaps and other intercepts. Broadband service providers are not carriers, either under the plain meanings of the Communications Act, or under FCC determinations. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice asked the FCC to write rules concluding that, for the purposes of the CALEA, broadband service providers are carriers. The FCC complied. Petitions for review were then filed. The just issued opinion denies these petitions, thereby upholding the FCC's determination.

The FCC based its determination on two separate grounds. First, it concluded that the definition of "telecommunications carrier" in CALEA is different and much broader than the definition of that term in the Communications Act, and can encompass providers of services that are not classified as telecommunications services under the Communications Act. Second, it asserted that the services covered by the order replace a substantial portion of conventional telecommunications services. There is a series of articles in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert 960, August 17, 2004, which offer the legal analysis that neither of these two legal arguments is tenable.

Dissent. Judge Edwards wrote in his dissent that "In determining that broadband Internet providers are subject to CALEA as ``telecommunications carriers,´´ and not excluded pursuant to the ``information services´´´ exemption, the Commission apparently forgot to read the words of the statute. CALEA does not give the FCC unlimited authority to regulate every telecommunications service that might conceivably be used to assist law enforcement. Quite the contrary. Section 1002 is precise and limited in its scope. It expressly states that the statute's assistance capability requirements ``do not apply to [ ] information services.´´ Id. Broadband Internet is an “information service” – indeed, the Commission does not dispute this. Therefore, broadband Internet providers are exempt from the substantive provisions of CALEA."

He added that "The FCC apparently believes that law enforcement will be better served if broadband Internet providers are subject to CALEA’s assistance capability requirements. Although the agency may be correct, it is not congressionally authorized to implement this view."

He also wrote that "What we see in this case is an agency attempting to squeeze authority from a statute that does not give it. The FCC’s interpretation completely nullifies the information services exception and manufactures broad new powers out of thin air."

Judge Edwards did agree with the majority, however, regarding the portion of the FCC's order pertaining to interconnected voice over internet protocol (VOIP) providers. He wrote that "There is no doubt that VoIP replaces a substantial portion of local telephone exchange service -- it offers exactly the same functionality as phone service. And, in contrast to broadband service, the Commission has explicitly refrained from designating VoIP as an information service under the Communications Act".

Reaction. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stated in a release [PDF] that "Enabling law enforcement to ensure our safety and security is of paramount importance. Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the Commission’s decision concluding that VoIP and facilities-based broadband Internet access providers have CALEA obligations similar to those of telephone companies. I am pleased that the Court agreed with the Commission’s finding, which will ensure that law enforcement agencies' ability to conduct lawful court-ordered electronic surveillance will keep pace with new communication technologies."

Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) stated in a release that "This ruling threatens both civil liberties and to technology innovation". He added that "Congress intended to exclude the Internet from the wiretap design mandates, because the Internet is fundamentally different from the telephone network. The FCC wanted a certain result from the get-go, and they twisted or ignored the words of the statute to get it. This decision threatens the privacy rights of innocent Americans as well as the ability of technology companies to innovate freely."

This case is American Council on Education, et al. v. FCC and USA, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, App. Ct. Nos. 05-1404, 1408, 1438, 1451 and 1453, Judges Sentelle, Brown and Edwards presiding.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Friday, June 9

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, weekly Republican Whip Notice and June 9 Whipping Post.

The Senate will meet at 9:00 AM for  morning business.

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, May 31, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 104, at Pages 30876-30877. Location: Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled "Cyber Security Challenges at the Department of Energy". See, notice. The hearing will be webcast by the HCC. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless Telecommunications Practice Committee will host a lunch titled "Wireless Emergency Alert Service". The price to attend is $15.00. See, registration form [PDF]. Location: Sidley Austin, 6th Floor, 1501 K St., NW.

Monday, June 12

9:30 AM - 3:00 PM. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will hold a roundtable meeting on the use of interactive data and Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). See, SEC release and story titled "SEC to Hold Series of Roundtable Meetings on XBRL" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,328, March 13, 2006. See also, June 7 release with agenda and list of speakers. Location: SEC, 100 F St., NE.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Professional Responsibility Committee will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Client Creation, Conflicts and Confidentiality in the Administrative Process". See, registration form [PDF]. Prices vary. The deadline to register is 5:00 PM on June 8. Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1776 K Street, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding its draft [122 pages in PDF] of its Federal Information Processing Standard titled "Digital Signature Standard (DSS)". This is FIPS Pub 186-3. See also, notice in the Federal Register, March 13, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 48, at Pages 12678-12679.

Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Defense's (DOD) Defense Acquisition Regulations System (DARS) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) with respect to the exemption from the Buy American Act for the acquisition of commercial information technology. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 12, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 70, at Pages 18694-18695.

Deadline to submit applications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program grants. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 69, at Pages 18271-18276.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Copyright Office regarding its proposal to amend its rules governing the submission of royalty fees to the Copyright Office to require such payments to be made by electronic funds transfer. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 81, at Pages 24829-24831.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding Draft Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 186-3 [122 pages in PDF], titled "Digital Signature Standard (DSS)".

Tuesday, June 13

8:45 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. See, notice in the Federal Register: May 24, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 100, at Page 29919. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold the third of three hearings on S 2686, the "Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006". See, notice. Press contact: 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 106, Dirksen Building.

3:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law will hold a hearing titled "State Taxation of Interstate Telecommunications Services". See, notice. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202-225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding mandatory thousands-block number pooling. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 15, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 50, at Pages 13323-13328. This NPRM is FCC 06-14 in CC Docket No. 99-200.

Wednesday, June 14

9:00 - 11:00 AM. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. See, notice in the Federal Register: May 24, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 100, at Page 29919. Location: Employees Lounge, Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD.

9:00 - 11:30 AM. The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 30, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 103, at Pages 30717-30718. Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, Capital A Meeting Room, 900 10th Street, NW.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2006 on November 6-24, 2006, in Ankara, Turkey. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 29, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 60, at Page 15798. Location: __.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section will host a panel discussion titled "Fair Use (Part II) -- Fair Use of Copyrighted Works in the Digital Environment". The speakers will include Jonathan Band and Robert Kasunic (Principal Legal Advisor, Copyright Office). The price to attend ranges from $20-$40. For more information, call 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "Views from the Hill". The scheduled speakers are James Assey (Minority Senior Counsel for Communications, Senate Commerce Committee), Will Nordwind (Counsel and Policy Coordinator, House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet), Johanna Shelton (Minority Counsel, House Commerce Committee), Lisa Sutherland (Majority Staff Director for Sen. Ted Stevens). RSVP to Frank Buono at fbuono at willkie dot com. Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K Street, NW.

RESCHEDULED FROM JUNE 7. 2:00 PM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "Violent and Explicit Video Games: Informing Parents and Protecting Children". See, notice. The hearing will be webcast by the HCC. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

7:00 - 9:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a reception. See, registration form [PDF]. Prices vary. Location: Corcoran Art Gallery, 500 17th Street, NW.

Thursday, June 15

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 22, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 98, at Page 29356. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1235, Arlington, VA.

8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Privacy Office will host a public workshop titled "Operationalizing Privacy: Compliance Frameworks & Privacy Impact Assessments", to explore policy, legal, and operational frameworks for Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) and Privacy Threshold Analyses (PTAs). See, notice in the Federal Register: May 24, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 100, at Page 29968. Location: GSA Regional Headquarters, Auditorium, 7th & D Streets, SW.

9:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will hold a hearing titled "Patent Trolls: Fact or Fiction". See, notice. Press contact: Jeff Lungren (HJC) or Terry Shawn (HJC) at 202-225-2492, or Beth Frigola (Rep. Smith) at 202-225-4236. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

POSTPONED TO JUNE 21. 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).

The Defense Science Board 2006 Summer Study on Information Management for Net-Centric Operations will hold a one day close meeting See, notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 69, Page 18292. Location: 3601 Wilson Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Arlington, VA.

Deadline for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) entity titled "Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks" to submit its report to the FCC.

Friday, June 16

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Day two of a two day meeting to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 22, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 98, at Page 29356. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1235, Arlington, VA.

9:30 AM - 5:30 PM. The Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 1, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 105, at Pages 31152-31153. Location: Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-80 [49 pages in PDF], titled "Guide for Developing Performance Metrics for Information Security".

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