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November 8, 2006, Alert No. 1,485.
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FCC Releases BPL Order

11/7. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text [18 pages in PDF] of its Memorandum Opinion and Order (MOO) that declares that broadband over power line (BPL) enabled internet access service is an information service.

The FCC adopted, but did not release, this MOO at its November 3, 2006, meeting.

The MOO states that "we classify Broadband over Power Line (BPL)-enabled Internet access service to be an information service under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act or Act). Additionally, we find that the transmission component underlying BPL-enabled Internet access service is ``telecommunications,创 and that the offering of this telecommunications transmission component as part of a functionally integrated, finished BPL-enabled Internet access service offering is not a ``telecommunications service.创 Further, we find that neither the Communications Act nor relevant precedent mandates that broadband transmission be a ``telecommunications service创 when provided to an Internet service provider (ISP) as a wholesale input for the ISP's own BPL-enabled Internet access service offering, but that the BPL provider may choose to offer it as such." (Parentheses in original. Footnote omitted.)

The MOO also states that "we deny requests from commenters either to condition the information service classification or to place additional requirements on BPL-enabled Internet access services."

The MOO concludes that the issues of "interference and pole attachment access" are "outside the scope of this proceeding and are better addressed in other proceedings pending before the Commission."

See also, story titled "FCC Declares that BPL is an Information Service" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,482, November 3, 2006.

This MOO is FCC 06-165 in WC Docket No. 06-10. This proceeding is titled "United Power Line Council抯 Petition for Declaratory Ruling Regarding the Classification of Broadband over Power Line Internet Access Service as an Information Service".

NCTA Seeks Delay of Integration Ban

11/8. On October 31, 2006, Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), wrote a letter to Carlos Guitierrez (Secretary of Commerce), John Kneuer (acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration), and the five Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the NTIA administered voucher program for the transition to digital television, and the FCC's integration ban.

McSlarrow still does not like the integration ban, and wants an extension.

He argued in this letter that it is unjust when one government entity imposes the integration ban on cable companies, thus raising their costs, while another government entity subsidizes converters for over the air television only households. He argued that this injustice, and the forthcoming availability of downloadable security technology, warrant a delay of the integration ban, to as late as the end of 2009.

He wrote that "the greatest number of analog televisions are in cable households ... often that second or third television in a kitchen or bedroom."

He also wrote that it is necessary that "all owners of ``over the air创 televisions who so choose, can purchase a device that converts a digital signal to analog, and do so at the least expense".

He argued that "there is no principled justification for granting eligibility for such vouchers to one class of television owners -- in ``over the air创 households -- and denying eligibility to another class of ``over the air创 television owners who also happen to have cable or satellite service on another TV in their home." He added that "we do not agree with those who would deny eligibility of vouchers to cable customers".

He concluded that one alternative would be "to make all cable households eligible for the NTIA voucher program. But that would either add enormously to the cost of the NTIA program and to the U.S. Treasury, or, since the current budgetary authority for this program is limited, severely diminish the financial support that is provided for those who are deemed eligible."

McSlarrow then discussed at length the integration ban, an FCC rule that precludes cable operators from offering set-top converter boxes that bundle both security functions, such as descrambling, and non-security functions, such as channel selection, in a single device.

This is required by Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which is codified at 47 U.S.C. 549. It is implemented by FCC rules.

Section 76.1204(a)(1) provides that "A multichannel video programming distributor that utilizes navigation devices to perform conditional access functions shall make available equipment that incorporates only the conditional access functions of such devices. Commencing on July 1, 2007, no multichannel video programming distributor subject to this section shall place in service new navigation devices for sale, lease, or use that perform both conditional access and other functions in a single integrated device."

See, Second Report and Order [37 pages in PDF], adopted and released on March 17, 2005. This order is FCC 05-76 in CS Docket No. 97-80. This proceeding is titled "In the Matter of: Implementation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices". See also, story titled "FCC Again Delays Deadline for Integrating Navigation and Security Functionalities in Cable Set Top Boxes" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,099, March 21, 2005. And see, August 18, 2006, opinion [22 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in Charter Communications v. FCC, and story titled "DC Circuit Upholds FCC Order Re Separable Security for Cable Set-Top Boxes" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,434, August 18, 2006.

McSlarrow wrote that "This rule requires that, by July 1, 2007, cable operators must reengineer the cable boxes they lease so that these boxes use an insertable security card (a ``CableCARD创) that performs the same ``security创 and ``descrambling创 functions that current 搃ntegrated创 boxes already perform. The additional cost of these cards and the reengineered box components amounts to a $72-$93 price increase for the box above the cost of an integrated box that performs exactly the same functions. That translates into a price increase of $2-$3 per month per box for consumers using these boxes."

He added that "This requirement is all the more puzzling since there is a newer technology on the near-term horizon -- downloadable security -- which is a more efficient, less costly and more consumer-friendly option than the CableCARD for separating security in both cable-supplied leased boxes and ``cable ready创 devices purchased at retail."

McSlarrow argued that it is incomprehensible that while the Congress is providing $40 subsidy for digital-to-analog converters, the FCC "should simultaneously force consumers to pay $2-$3 per month per box more for leased set-top boxes that will help facilitate the digital transition for millions of viewers without any government subsidy."

He argued for a delay of the integration ban.

In addition, on November 2, 2006, 11 cable programming companies sent a letter to the FCC arguing that money spent complying with the integration ban will not be spent on programming or deploying new services. These companies support the NCTA's request for a delay.

In an item related to the voucher program, the NTIA published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that it "will be holding individual meetings with interested parties on November 14-15, 2006 in connection with its digital-to-analog converter box coupon program described in the July 25, 2006 ``Request for Comment and Notice of Proposed Rules to Implement and Administer a Coupon Program for Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes'' (NPRM). All interested parties are invited to schedule an individual meeting." See, Federal Register, November 8, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 216, at Page 65476.

CEA Files Bi-Directional Digital Cable Compatibility Proposal with FCC

11/7. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) filed a letter [4 pages in PDF] with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on November 7, 2006, that contains a "comprehensive proposal to achieve bi-directional digital cable compatibility".

This filing reflects that there is consensus among a large group of consumer electronics (CE) and information technology (IT) companies, but that they remain in conflict with cable and content companies.

The CEA seeks rule changes in the FCC's proceeding to implement the Telecommunications Act of 1996's requirement regarding the competitive availability of navigation devices. However, the filing goes beyond this. It pertains to a wide range of digital consumer devices that work on cable systems. In addition, the proposal goes to the networking of devices, and use made of content accessed via cable systems.

The CEA advances arguments and proposals regarding intellectual property rights.

Overview of the CEA Proposal. The CEA letter asserts that the proposal "will allow CE and IT manufacturers to compete fairly with cable providers for customers seeking access to interactive digital cable services. And more to the point, the Proposal will allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of competition as Congress and the Commission have long intended."

The CEA proposes that competitive manufacturers be allowed, but not obligated, to include OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) in devices that access basic interactive services, including switched digital, electronic program guide (EPG), video on demand (VOD), and impulse pay per view (IPPV).

The CEA further proposes that competitive manufacturers must implement OCAP to access advanced interactive services -- "perhaps on-line games, email and 憄lay-along interaction coordinated with specific video content. Rather than absorbing all the cost and uncertainty associated with OCAP, competitive manufacturers would be permitted to offer functionally equivalent bi-directional products that build on existing digital cable compatibility technologies."

The CEA further proposes that competitive manufacturer be allowed to develop and deploy their own user interface, and to "innovate in the areas of navigation, parental controls, accessibility to users with disabilities, use of consumer-produced content ..., and interaction with third-party applications".

Also, representatives of Dell, Hitachi, Intel, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and other CE and IT companies filed a letter in support [12 pages in PDF]. The two letters contain much of the same language.

This letter states that "We believe that this proposal, if implemented, will substantially increase consumer choice by quickly and effectively bringing a wide variety of two-way ``plug-and-play创 devices to market. As the Commission is well aware, more than two years of negotiations between the cable, CE and IT industries have not yielded a mutual agreement on a bi-directional specification. In addition to frustrating the goals of Section 629 of the Communications Act, this delay has harmed both the cable and CE and IT industries and, most importantly, consumers. Cable customers who wish to obtain even the simplest interactive digital services presently have no alternative to leasing a cable operator-supplied box and relying on multiple remote controls and devices. Consumers deserve an easier, more elegant, option: a single, integrated device that displays and allows them to navigate among the interactive video services of their choice."

These letters provide overviews of the proposal and policy arguments. The CEA sets forth more specifically what it wants the FCC to do in attachments to its letter. See, Attachment A [6 pages in PDF] titled "Access to Basic Interactive Services: Technical Requirements", and Attachment B [4 pages in PDF] titled "Access to Basic and Advanced Interactive Services: Regulatory, Licensing and Testing Requirements".

The CEA wants the FCC to amend Part 76 of its rules. The proposals would affect a wide range of electronic devices that enable access to interactive digital cable services, and the networking of those devices.

The CEA proposes that cable operators be required to support Unidirectional Digital Cable Receiver (UDCR) and Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR), also known as Unidirectional Devices, by maintaining access to all linear broadcast digital cable audio/video content and services in parity with the availability of those same services on leased devices.

The CEA's proposals would limit the contract terms that cable operators could negotiate. The proposals would also limit the intellectual property rights, including patent and copyrights, of cable operators.

Appendix A states that "Cable providers shall not, by contract, agreement, patent right, intellectual property right or otherwise, prevent Unidirectional Devices compliant with both Section 76.1203 (incidence of harm) and Section 76.1209 (theft of service) of the Commission抯 Rules from accessing the same linear broadcast digital cable audio/video content offering available to subscribers having cable provider leased devices."

It further proposes that "Manufacturers of Unidirectional Devices are permitted to create new navigation devices that ... have upstream transmission capability. This upstream transmission capability would permit limited interaction with the cable provider distribution network to allow the host device to provide access to SD, VOD, and IPPV content."

Moreover, it proposes that "Cable providers are prohibited from, by contract, agreement, patent right, intellectual property right or otherwise, imposing a requirement that a manufacturer implement in any hardware or software specific to any one particular network vendor. If network-specific hardware or software is necessary for attachment, navigation and reception of digital audio/video programming, it should be incorporated and confined within the cable provider conditional access technology."

The authority that the CEA cites for the proposition that the FCC has authority to limit intellectual property rights is a September 18, 2000, declaratory ruling [MS Word] of the FCC, in this same proceeding. See, FCC 00-341, and especially paragraphs 14-32.

Digital Freedom Initiative. On October 25, 2006, the CEA and other groups announced and launched a campaign titled "Digital Freedom Campaign" or DFC. The speakers asserted that consumers should be allowed to use legally acquired digital content as they choose.

Gary Shapiro, the head of the CEA, stated at that event that "new technologies, and consumers' right to use these technologies, and their fair use rights are under attack by some very big companies and associations." See, story titled "CEA and Others Announce Digital Freedom Campaign" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,476, October 26, 2006.

The CEA's November 7 FCC filing argues that "Consumers should be able to view, move, store, and access cable content that they legally obtain without restriction, other than as necessary to protect theft of service, electronic or physical harm to the network, and in accordance with reasonable content protection requirements." The technical components of the CEA's filing seek to enable this. This proposal is also one of the Digital Freedom Campaign's assertions. Although, the DFC's mission goes beyond cable content.

Statute, Regulations, and FCC Docket. The CEA filed these items in the FCC's CS Docket No. 97-80. This is the FCC's long running preceding regarding the implementation of 47 U.S.C. 549.

47 U.S.C. 549 pertains to "Competitive availability of navigation devices". It was enacted as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It is also known as Section 304 (of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) and Section 629 (of the Communications Act of 1934).

Subsection (a) provides that "The Commission shall, in consultation with appropriate industry standard-setting organizations, adopt regulations to assure the commercial availability, to consumers of multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, of converter boxes, interactive communications equipment, and other equipment used by consumers to access multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, from manufacturers, retailers, and other vendors not affiliated with any multichannel video programming distributor. Such regulations shall not prohibit any multichannel video programming distributor from also offering converter boxes, interactive communications equipment, and other equipment used by consumers to access multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, to consumers, if the system operator抯 charges to consumers for such devices and equipment are separately stated and not subsidized by charges for any such service."

Subsection (b) provides that "The Commission shall not prescribe regulations under subsection (a) of this section which would jeopardize security of multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, or impede the legal rights of a provider of such services to prevent theft of service."

Part 76 of the FCC's rules pertain to "Multichannel Video and Cable Television Service".

Section 76.640 [3 pages in PDF] pertains to "Support for unidirectional digital cable products on digital cable systems". The CEA proposes that the FCC amend this section.

NCTA Reaction. Neal Goldberg, General Counsel of the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), stated in a release that "The cable industry has encouraged CE companies to manufacture digital TVs and other devices so that consumers can access cable's advanced services without a set-top box.  The more 'cable ready' products available to consumers, the more consumers will choose cable over our video competitors. In fact, CableLabs has published technical specifications and related agreements that facilitate the development and deployment of two-way digital cable ready TV sets by CE manufacturers. A number of CE manufacturers have signed these agreements with CableLabs, and at least one, Samsung, demonstrated a working two-way digital cable ready TV set at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show."

He continued that "To expedite delivery of more two-way devices to the marketplace, NCTA submitted to the FCC 11 months ago a deregulatory proposal that would establish straightforward technical specifications for use by any manufacturer wanting to build these devices. However, the FCC has yet to submit cable's proposal for public comment."

He concluded that "To the extent that CE companies -- for the first time -- have developed a consensus proposal for bringing two-way devices to the marketplace, this new proposal should be discussed at the continuing inter-industry discussions that have been underway since 2003. Cable will continue to support a minimal regulatory approach that leverages existing marketplace solutions rather than looking to the government to micromanage and potentially harm the evolution of a thriving retail environment."

Internet Governance Forum Discusses IDNs

11/2. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) met in Athens, Greece, on October 30 through November 2, 2006. The topics discussed included internationalized domain names (IDNs), access to the internet, interoperability, the conversion to IPv6, security, and freedom of expression on the internet.

See also, the IGF's web page with hyperlinks to transcripts of speeches and panel discussions.

Vint Cerf, the Chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), gave a speech on October 30.

He stated that "As increasing amounts of information find their ways into the Internet抯 archives, it is vital that we preserve their accessibility, renderability and interpretability. Digital documents often need to be interpreted by specific software packages to be rendered in understandable form."

Cerf said that "We will need to assure that the bits we preserve on digital media can also be read and understood not only by people but by computers programmed to help us manage this ocean of information. Steps are needed to assure that the information we accumulate today will be usable not merely decades but centuries and even millennia into the future. We need to preserve access to application software, operating systems and perhaps even hardware or simulators so as to retain the ability to make effective use of our digital archives."

Cerf also discussed IDNs, and urged preservation of global interoperability. He said that there is a strong interest in "the ability to register domain names written in the characters used in their preferred languages and therein lies a huge technical challenge. Such domain names are sometimes called ``International Domain Names创 or IDNs for short."

He stated that "One of the most important aspects of the Internet is the ability for every user to make unambiguous references to every registered domain name. Historically, this global feature has been achieved in part by restricting host domain names to be expressed in a small subset of the Latin characters A-Z, the digits 0-9 and the hyphen ``-创. It is well understood that this will not suffice for users whose native languages use characters other than these. At the same time, it is vital to preserve the global ability to refer to and use every domain name. This global interoperability needs to be preserved especially as new languages are supported by the UNICODE system through the addition of new characters needed to express them."

He emphasized that domain names are simply unique identifiers, and are not general natural language expressions. He reiterated that they "must be unique, and names registered today must continue to work into the distant future, no matter what new characters are added to UNICODE to support the expression of additional written languages."

He also reported that the "ICANN is already conducting tests to determine the readiness of the root zone file and its associated root servers and resolvers to house or work with internationalized top level domains. Adding IDNs at all levels in the domain names system potentially affects every application that makes use of domain names."

He elaborated that "The mechanisms of the domain name system make demands on the normalization and matching of domain name strings that far exceed the simpler requirement that natural language strings be renderable using UNICODE. A misstep in the specifications of the IDN rules could easily and permanently break the Internet into non-interoperable components. New work in the Internet Engineering Task Force and in the ICANN committee on IDNs, among others, is pointing the way towards specific solutions."

See also, ICANN report titled "Towards a Multilingual Global Internet: Avoiding the Risk of Fragmentation".

Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society, gave a speech at the IGF on October 30 in which she addressed IDNs. She said that IDNs "are sometimes wrongly seen as a mere technical issue".

She said that "Notwithstanding the important considerations on stability that need to be addressed, there is above all a legitimate political imperative for the Internet to offer different language scripts. Apart from users who want to be able to use, for example, Chinese ideograms or Arabic scripts, there is the real danger that prolonged delay in the introduction of IDNs could lead to a fragmentation of the Internet."

She added that "we should also think about multilingualism in Internet governance mechanisms themselves. The Internet that we know and value today has much of its roots in the developed world, in particular in Europe and in the USA. English has been, and will continue to be, a very important and very useful ``lingua franca创 that facilitates cross-border and inter-cultural cooperation between worldwide communities, such as scientists, engineers and academics, or in the economic sectors."

Reding also discussed freedom of expression on the internet. She said that the "flow of information that it facilitates strengthens democratic processes, stimulates economic growth and allows for cross-fertilizing exchanges of knowledge in a way never seen before. Too often however, this very freedom is under attack from those that do not value freedom of expression or disregard the economic and social benefits of allowing a free flow of information within and across borders."

"Freedom is too often seen as a threat by those who do not value human rights or want to impose their vision of the world or their religious beliefs. A key objective for the European Commission is therefore to keep the Internet as an open and censorship-free zone where all the world's citizens can communicate freely with each other without needing to seek the permission of anyone else, not least their governments, to do so, in line with internationally recognised fundamental rights", said Reding.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, November 8

The House will not meet. It may return from it elections recess on Monday, November 13, 2006. See, Republican Whip Notice. However, the adjournment resolution, HConRes 483, provides for returning on Thursday, November 9, at 2:00 PM.

The Senate will not meet. See, HConRes 483.

9:00 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee will meet. The agenda includes "Graphics Processors Technology", "Frequency Standards", "Telephony Signaling", "Phase Noise", and "Frequency Synthesizer Assemblies". See, notice in the Federal Register, October 25, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 206, at Page 62416. Location: Room 3884, Hoover Building, 14th Street between Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues, NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Diversity Committee and Young Lawyers Committee will host a panel discussion titled "The Role of Mentoring in the Legal Profession". The speakers may include Kyle Dixon (Wilmer Hale), Marvin Ammori (Georgetown University Law Center), Judy Harris (Reed Smith) and James Sandman (Arnold & Porter). RSVP by November 3 to Colin Sandy at csandy at neca.org or LadyStacie Rimes at 202-682-5995. Location: Sidley Austin, , 6th Floor, 1501 K Street, NW.

Day three of a four day a partially closed conference hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) titled "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade". The topics to be addressed include "The Changing Nature of Consumer Products, Mobile Devices and Marketing, Data Security and Privacy, Convergence, The Evolving Internet, Payment Systems and Trends, Advertising and Marketing Trends, and Demographic Shifts". The November 9 session is closed to the public. See, notice and conference web site. Location: George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. States Trade Representative's (USTR) Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) regarding barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services and overseas direct investment for inclusion in the USTR's annual report titled "National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers", or "NTE". See, notice in the Federal Register, August 14, 2006, Vol., No. 156, at Pages 46525-46527.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service in response to the FCC's public notice [PDF] requesting comments regarding the use of reverse auctions to determine high cost universal service funding to eligible telecommunications carriers. This proceeding is WC Docket No. 05-337 and CC Docket No. 96-45. See, notice in the Federal Register, August 25, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 165, at Pages 50420-50421.

Thursday, November 9

The House may meet. See, HConRes 483.

The Senate may meet for the introduction of bills. See, HConRes 483.

CANCELLED. 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).

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Managing E-Discovery Requests Under the New 2006 Federal Rules Amendments". The speaker will be Conrad Jacoby. The price to attend ranges from $80 to $135. For more information, call 202-626-3488. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

Day four of a four day a partially closed conference hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) titled "Protecting Consumers in the Next Tech-ade". The topics to be addressed include "The Changing Nature of Consumer Products, Mobile Devices and Marketing, Data Security and Privacy, Convergence, The Evolving Internet, Payment Systems and Trends, Advertising and Marketing Trends, and Demographic Shifts". The November 9 session is closed to the public. See, notice and conference web site. Location: George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW.

Friday, November 10

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

2:00 - 3:00 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host a webcast titled "The FTC's Privacy & Data Security Jurisdiction, implications of the BJ's Wholesale Case and Other Recent Enforcement Actions". The speakers will be Stuart Ingis (Venable) and Emilio Cividanes (Venable). See, notice and registration page.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its proposed consent agreements with Information and Real Estate Services, LLC, and other real estate businesses. See, story titled "FTC Charges Real Estate Groups that Limited Publication of Listings on Certain Web Sites" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,469, October 16, 2006, and notice in the Federal Register, October 18, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 201, at Pages 61474-61478.

Saturday, November 11

Veterans Day.

Monday, November 13

The House may return from its elections recess. See, HConRes 483.

Senate may return from their elections recess at 2:00 PM. See, HConRes 483.

12:00 NOON - 1:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a panel discussion titled "The Future of Obviousness: Will Teaching/Suggestion/Motivation to Combine Remain the Test?". The speakers will include Delano Jordan (Kenyon & Kenyon). The price to attend ranges from $15 to $35. For more information, call 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Legislative Committee will host a brown bag lunch. This is a planning meeting. RSVP to Amy Levine amy dot levine at mail dot house dot gov or 202-225-3861. Location: Verizon, Suite 400 West 1300 I St., NW.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Basics of Intellectual Property Taxation". The speakers will be Kenneth Appleby (Foley & Lardner). The price to attend ranges from $80 to $135. For more information, call 202-626-3488. See, notice. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, B-1 Level.

Day one of a five day meeting of the Department of Commerce's Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 20, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 203, Pages 61958-61959. Location: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building 222, Room A230, Gaithersburg, MD.

6:00 PM. Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Short Form applications to participate in Auction No. 68, the FM broadcast auction. See, October 6, 2006, FCC Public Notice [60 pages in PDF] (DA 06-1949), and notice in the Federal Register, November 7, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 215, at Pages 65098-65113.

Deadline to submit comments to the Copyright Royalty Board regarding its amendments to the procedural regulations governing the practices and procedures of the Copyright Royalty Judges in royalty rate and distribution proceedings. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 11, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 175, at Pages 53325-53331.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to it notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding compensation of providers of telecommunications relay services (TRS) from the Interstate TRS Fund. The FCC adopted this item on July 13, 2006, and released it on July 20, 2006. It is FCC 06-106. This proceeding is titled "Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals With Hearing and Speech Disabilities" and numbered CG Docket No. 03-123. See, notice in the Federal Register, September 13, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 177, at Pages 54009-54017.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to it further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding maritime Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). The FCC adopted this item on July 20, 2006, and released it on July 24, 2006. It is FCC 06-108 in WT Docket No. 04-344. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 12, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 197, at Pages 60102-60106.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding possible changes to the Part 27 service rules applicable to existing and prospective Upper 700 MHz Guard Bands licensees as well as on proposals to modify the existing Upper 700 MHz band plan with respect to the Guard Bands. See, notice in the Federal Register, November 6, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 214, at Pages 64917-64919. This NPRM is FCC 06-133 in WT Docket Nos. 06-169 and 96-86.

Tuesday, November 14

9:30 AM - 4:00 PM. The Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) will meet. The agenda of this meeting includes discussion of the role of state attorneys general in merger enforcement, the application of antitrust in regulated industries, and the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA). See, notice in the Federal Register, October 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 208, at Pages 62991-62992. Location: Mogan Lewis, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet by teleconference to discuss proposed U.S. contributions to Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) of the International Telecommunication Union's Telecommunication Standardization Sector. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 31, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 210, at Page 63828.

11:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on pending nominations. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Progress and Freedom Foundation's (PFF) Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) project's Institutional Reform Working Group will present and discuss a paper that contains proposals for reforming the structure of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The speakers will include Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Lunch will be served. See, PFF notice and registration page. Location: Room 188, Russell Building, Capitol Hill.

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Annual Seminar Committee will host a brown bag lunch. RSVP to Yaron Dori at ydori at hhlaw dot com. Location: Harris Wiltshire & Grannis, 1200 18th Street, NW.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Joint Cable Practice and Mass Media Practice Committees will host a brown bag lunch titled "Meet the Legal Advisors". The speakers will be Heather Dixon (advisor to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin), Rudy Brioch (Jonathan Adelstein), Cristina Pauz (Robert McDowell), Chris Robbins (Deborah Tate), and Jessica Rosenworcel (Michael Copps). RSVP to Daphney Sheppard at dsheppard at sidley dot com or 202-736-8019. For more information, contact Erin Dozier at edozier at sheppardmullin dot com or Jennifer Tatel at jtatel at sidley dot com. Location: Sidley Austin, 6th floor, 1501 K St., NW.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to discuss the upcoming meeting of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector's Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) for the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference, to be held on February 19 through March 2, 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 10, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 195, at Page 59580. Location: Boeing Company, 1200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) regarding it notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, and recites its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the mandatory reporting of transactions with foreign person involving services (including telecommunications, information services, and news gathering) and intangible assets (including intellectual property). See, Federal Register, September 15, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 179, at Pages 54448-5445. The current rule is codified at 15 C.F.R. 801.10 [3 pages in PDF]. See also, story titled "Commerce Department Proposes to Mandate Reporting of International IP Transactions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,451, September 18, 2006.

5:00 - 7:00 PM. The AEI-Brookings Joint Center will host a lecture by Roger Noll (Stanford) titled "Still Reforming Regulation". See, notice. Location: American Enterprise Institute, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

Day two of a five day meeting of the Department of Commerce's Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 20, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 203, Pages 61958-61959. Location: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building 222, Room A230, Gaithersburg, MD.

Wednesday, November 15

TIME? The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold another of their series of hearings on single-firm conduct. This hearing will address exclusive dealing. Location?

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Day one of a two day public meeting of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB). See, notice in the Federal Register, July 12, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 133, at Pages 39318. Location: Room 7C13, GAO Building, 441 G St., NW.

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold another of their series of hearings on single-firm conduct. This hearing will address exclusive dealing. The speakers will be Jonathan Jacobson (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati), Howard Marvel (Ohio State University), Richard Steuer (Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw), Mary Sullivan (George Washington University), and Joshua Wright (George Mason University School of Law). See, notice. Location: Conference Room A, FTC Conference Center, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

12:00 NOON. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a lunch. The speaker will be FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. See, registration form [PDF]. Prices vary. Registrations and cancellations are due by 5:00 PM on November 9. Location: Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., NW.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a panel discussion titled "Counterfeiting -- Defining the Problem and Providing Solutions". The speakers will include Brian Brokate (Gibney Anthony & Flaherty), Travis Johnson (International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition), and Leigh Ann Lindquist (Sughrue Mion). The price to attend ranges from $15 to $30. For more information, call 202-626-3463. See, notice. Location: Bell Labs, Suite 620W, 1100 New York Ave., NW.

1:30 AM - 4:00 PM. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold another of their series of hearings on single-firm conduct. This hearing will address exclusive dealing. The speakers will be Stephen Calkins (Wayne State University Law School), Benjamin Klein (UCLA), Abbott Lipsky (Latham & Watkins), and Joseph Farrell (University of California at Berkeley). Farrell was previously chief economist at the FCC and Antitrust Division. See, notice. Location: Conference Room A, FTC Conference Center, 601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-103 [70 pages in PDF] titled "An Ontology of Identity Credentials, Part I: Background and Formulation".

Day three of a five day meeting of the Department of Commerce's Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 20, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 203, Pages 61958-61959. Location: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building 222, Room A230, Gaithersburg, MD.

Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) regarding the European Communities (EC) complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding U.S. zeroing and anti-dumping duty orders on certain products from the EC. See, notice in the Federal Register, October 27, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 208, at Pages 63053-63055.

Mandelson Discusses IPR and Market Access in PR China

11/7. Peter Mandelson, the European Trade Commissioner, gave a speech at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, PR China. He once again called for increased market access and intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in China.

He said that "there is also a growing perception in Europe -- and I hope Chinese leaders will not ignore this -- that China and Europe do not trade on genuinely reciprocal, equal, terms. That China does not always trade fairly. That European companies, goods and investment are too often unfairly blocked from the Chinese market by various non-tariff barriers. When I went to Shenzhen earlier this year I was struck by the fact that for every four containers leaving China for Europe, three were returning empty. And, to be frank, I don抰 think European entrepreneurialism is the problem."

He said that Europe's strategy is to demand "improved market access", as well as "social and political freedoms, intellectual property rights and fair trade."

He stated that "Five years after its accession to the WTO, despite a lot of implementation work, China has still not fulfilled some of its commitments and the EU will push to see these met. China can still do more to open its markets and liberalise trade in services and investment."

He continued that "Europe also needs to see tougher action on counterfeiting in China, which is a ball and chain on EU competitiveness and a growing problem for China itself. Last month China overtook Germany to become the world抯 fifth biggest filer for patents. So increasingly the Chinese government is seeing a joint interest in fighting this illegal activity - but we need to see more enforcement of the law."

He also said that Europe and PR China should act in partnership, and that this will "help ensure China's own internal stability".

Finally, Mandelson conceded that "We have to take on our own protectionists, because we cannot demand openness from China from behind barriers of our own."

People and Appointments

11/7. Jason Oxman joined the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) as VP of Communications. He recently worked for Comptel. Before that he worked for Covad, and for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). See, CEA release.

More News

11/7. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text [40 pages in PDF] of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of the Effects of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds". This NPRM is FCC 03-187 in WT Docket No. 03-187. The FCC adopted, but did not release, this NPRM at its November 3, 2006, meeting. The FCC has not yet set comment deadlines. Initial comments will be due 60 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register. Reply comments will be due 90 days after such publication.

11/6. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) began its conference titled 2006 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey. See, ITU release. The U.S. State Department's David Gross gave a speech on November 6. He said that "It is the responsibility of all governments to ensure that their domestic policies foster an enabling environment conducive to the deployment of these technologies, and to ensure the ability of their citizens to access and use them." He added that it is "essential that we establish enabling environments that foster predictable, transparent, pro-competitive regulatory policies for telecommunication to advance global economic development. We also place great emphasis on promoting institutional reform, preserving the role of the private sector".

11/3. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces that, effective February 1, 2007, it is eliminating the Disclosure Document Program. The USPTO wrote that this program was implemented in 1969 "in order to provide an alternative form of evidence of conception of an invention", but that "few, if any, inventors obtain any actual benefit from a disclosure document". It added that "a provisional application for patent affords better benefits and protection to inventors than a disclosure document". See, Federal Register, November 3, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 213, at Pages 64636-64639.

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