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April 24, 2008, Alert No. 1,753.
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Senate Commerce Committee Approves Resolution Condemning FCC Media Ownership Order

4/24. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) approved SJRes 28, which provides that "That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to broadcast media ownership" and "such rule shall have no force or effect."

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Chairman of the SCC, stated in a release that the FCC "rolled back its rules preventing media concentration, despite getting a cautionary light from the Congress that more public comment and more attention to localism and minority ownership was needed before barreling ahead."

The FCC adopted this Report and Order on Reconsideration on December 18, 2007. It released the text [124 pages in PDF] of this item on February 4, 2008.

See also, story titled "FCC Releases Text of Media Ownership Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,714, February 8, 2008, story titled "Copps and Adelstein Complain About FCC Media Ownership Agenda Item" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,688, December 13, 2007, and story titled "Martin Releases Media Ownership Proposal" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,675, November 13, 2007.

This item is FCC 07-216 in MB Docket No. 06-121, MB Docket No. 02-277, MM Docket No. 01-235, MM Docket No. 01-317, MM Docket No. 00-244, MB Docket No. 04-228, and MM Docket No. 99-360.

Ken Ferree, head of the Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF), stated in a release that "I continue to wonder what year those who are opposed to media liberalization think it is. The Senate Commerce Committee resolution rejecting the FCC's attempt to throw a life-line to struggling traditional broadcast and newspaper media outlets can only be motivated by willful ignorance of the fierce competition that now exists in the media space. Do they think this still is 1970 and that the media landscape in local markets is dominated by a couple of newspapers and a handful of broadcast stations? Are members of the Committee unaware of the almost daily reports of newspaper companies reporting negative growth? Do they not understand that broadcast advertising revenues rapidly are migrating to new media platforms -- along with audiences? Sadly, the apparent intentional refusal to acknowledge the obvious will only hasten the demise of our most venerable forms of mass communication."

In contrast, Caroline Fredrickson of the ACLU stated in a release that "Senator Dorgan's resolution aims to protect the airing of a multiplicity of voices, which fuels our democracy. Democracy is not served well by a media oligarchy where five or six corporations decide what Americans see in the news."

She added, "The consolidation of TV, radio and newspaper ownership that has occurred already limits the scope of the marketplace of ideas and hinders vigorous public debate, thereby posing a great threat to the First Amendment rights of all Americans."

Kroes Discusses Proposal for Euro Class Action Antitrust Litigation

4/22. Nellie Kroes, the European Commission's (EC) competition commissioner, gave a speech in Strasbourg, France, in which she discussed the EC paper [PDF] titled "Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules".

The EC released this paper on April 3, 2008. See, story titled "EC Releases Paper on Private Rights of Action for Violation of Competition Law" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,742, April 7, 2008.

Nellie KroesThe paper proposed creating "collective redress mechanisms". While these mechanisms might have some of the attributes of U.S. class action litigation, Kroes (at left) used her Strasbourg speech to attempt to distance the EC proposal from the U.S. system.

She stated that "There must therefore be an alternative form of collective redress to representative actions by which victims of competition law infringements combine their individual claims for harm they suffered into one single action. But let me be crystal clear on this: we are not proposing an American-style opt-out class action, where basically anyone can bring a claim on behalf of a group of unidentified victims, who are in the boat unless they explicitly decide to be out. What the White Paper proposes is an opt-in collective action, where victims have to actively decide whether or not they want to be part of the action. Besides, much of the US class action litigation excesses in competition cases is due to other factors such as treble damages, jury trials, contingency fees and overly broad and burdensome pre-trial discovery. None of this is part of the White Paper’s proposals."

She also stated that "we have designed our representative action proposals to guard against excessive litigation and the risk of abuses. Member states will be able to issue the mandate to bring representative actions to trustworthy entities only. The mandate must not be given to an uncontrolled litigation vehicle set up by lawyers who may be pursuing primarily their own financial interests. The body in charge of representative actions must rather be an entity that acts exclusively for the protection of legitimate and defined interests (e.g. consumer interests). The threat of a withdrawal of the mandate to bring representative actions by the Member State acts as an additional safeguard against abuses of the mandate." (Parentheses in original.)

4th Circuit Addresses Availability of Statutory Damages for Theft of Satellite Signals

4/21. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion [19 pages in PDF] in Directv v. Rawlins, a case regarding the availability of statutory damages in cases involving theft of satellite television signals.

This case goes to the availability of statutory damages under 18 U.S.C. § 2520(c)(2) for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511. The statute provides that "the court may assess" statutory damages of $10,000. This Court of Appeals held, as have others, that the award of statutory damages is discretionary. However, this Court of Appeals vacated the District Court's denial of statutory damages. The opinion sets forth several factors that the District Court must consider. District Courts are not free to deny statutory damages simply because their availability is discretionary.

Background. Directv provides television programming by direct broadcast satellite (DBS). It uses conditional access technology that encrypts its satellite transmissions. It then provides its paying customers with access cards that decrypt these satellite transmissions.

These access cards contain chips that instruct receivers to decrypt only those signals covered by the customer's subscription package. These access cards also monitor the customer's pay per view purchases.

Directv obtained business records of a seller of pirate access devices that reflected that John Rawlins purchased some of these devices. The ordinary purpose of these purchases is to access Directv programming beyond the level of a paid subscription.

DBS and cable operators bring actions to deter theft. They seek to obtain damages, costs and attorneys fees at levels that will actually deter.

In the present case, Directv filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (WDNC) against Rawlins alleging violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2511. Rawlins defaulted. Directv obtained a judgment, but the District Court declined to award it statutory damages. Directv did not seek actual damages. The District Court awarded only injunctive relief, attorneys fees and costs.

Directv brought the present appeal, solely on the issue of availability of statutory damages for violation of Section 2511. The award of statutory damages for violation of Section 2511 could provide a significantly greater deterrent.

Statutes. Section 605(a), which was enacted as part of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, provides that "no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception ...".

Section 2511, which was enacted as part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), pertains to "Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited". It creates a civil remedy for interception of certain communications, including satellite piracy. It provides, in part, that "any person who ... intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication ... shall be punished as provided in subsection (4) or shall be subject to suit as provided in subsection (5)."

18 U.S.C. § 2520 pertains to "Recovery of civil damages authorized". Subsection 2520(a) provides that "... any person whose wire, oral, or electronic communication is intercepted, disclosed, or intentionally used in violation of this chapter may in a civil action recover from the person or entity, other than the United States, which engaged in that violation such relief as may be appropriate."

Subsection 2520(c)(2) provides that "the court may assess as damages whichever is the greater of -- (A) the sum of the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff and any profits made by the violator as a result of the violation; or (B) statutory damages of whichever is the greater of $100 a day for each day of violation or $10,000."

Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.

It wrote that in determining whether to award damages for violation of Section 2511, Section 2520(c)(2) is controlling. It further held that the award of statutory damages is discretionary.

This is consistent with several other Court of Appeals opinions. See, for example, opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (11thCir) in Directv v. Brown, 371 F.3d 814, and story titled "11th Circuit Holds Award of Liquidated Damages for Violation of ECPA is Discretionary" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 908, June 1, 2004.

See also, Dorris v. Absher, 179 F.3d 420 (6th Cir. 1999), and Reynolds v. Spears, 93 F.3d 428 (8th Cir. 1996). However, the 7th Circuit reached a different conclusion in Rodgers v. Wood, 910 F.2d 444 (1990).

The Court of Appeals vacated in the present case because the District Court abused its discretion. For example, the Court of Appeals held that it was inappropriate to consider Directv's lack of evidence of actual use of the pirate access devices as a factor weighing against the award of statutory damages. It reasoned that this evidence was not presented because Rawlins defaulted.

In addition, the Court of Appeals held that it was a further abuse of discretion not to give weight to the affidavit of a Directv employee that addressed the "severity of the violation; the degree of harm to the victim; the relative financial burdens of the parties; and the purposes to be served by imposing the statutory damages amount."

The Court of Appeals also wrote that the District Court should consider the amount that the defendant paid for pirate access devices. It is pertinent to the defendant's ability to pay damages.

The Court of Appeals rejected Directv's argument that statutory damages are mandatory when the harm is not de minimus.

See also stories titled "4th Circuit Rules DBS Providers Can Sue Pirates for Damages" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,117, April 18, 2005, and "11th Circuit Limits Private Suits by DBS Providers Against Pirates" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 922, June, 21, 2004.

This case is Directv, Inc. v. John Rawlins, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 06-1430, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Statesville, D.C. No. 5:04-cv-00129, Judge Richard Voorhees presiding.

Oxford and Cambridge Sue Georgia State for Online Infringement of Scholarly Works

4/15. The Oxford University Press (OUP), Cambridge University Press (CUP) and SAGE Publications filed a complaint [57 pages in PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDGa) against Carl Patton and others, in their capacities as officers of Georgia State Universities (GSU), alleging direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement in connection with online copying and distribution of academic and scholarly works as course materials for students, without authorization.

Summary of the Complaint. The complaint states that this action "arises from Georgia State's systematic, widespread, and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works, including those owned or controlled by Plaintiffs, through a variety of online systems and outlets utilized and hosted by the University for the digital distribution of course reading material. Georgia state has facilitated, enabled, encouraged, and induced Georgia State professors to upload and post to these systems -- and Georgia State students simultaneously to download, view, print, copy, and distribute -- many, if not all, of the assigned readings for a particular course without limitation, without oversight, and without the requisite authorization and appropriate compensation to the copyright owners of such materials."

It complaint alleges that "The unauthorized digital distribution of copyrighted course readings at Georgia State is pervasive, flagrant, and ongoing." It continues that GSU "continues to offer digitized course offerings through the Georgia State Library electronic course reserves service, through Georgia State's Blackboard/WebCT Vista electronic course management system, and through Georgia State departmental web pages and hyperlinked online syllabi available on websites and computer servers controlled by Georgia State."

It elaborates that GSU distributes "course reading materials online in compilations of digital excerpts containing an entire semester's worth of reading". This provides students "the ability to view, download, and print without authorization a number and range of copyrighted works".

The complaint states that the scope "vastly exceeds the amount and type of copying that might credibly be justified as fair use in an educational setting."

It also asserts that "Unless George State's infringing digital distribution practices are enjoined, Plaintiffs, authors, and the publishing community at large will continue to face a certain, substantial, and continuing threat of loss of revenue, which will in turn threaten Plaintiff's incentive to continue supporting and publishing the cutting-edge scholarship upon which the academic enterprise depends."

The complaint pleads direct copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 106, contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious copyright infringement.

It seeks injunctive relief, and the award of costs and attorneys fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505.

The complaint does not request damages.

The complaint does not name GSU as a defendant.

This case is Oxford University Press, et al. v. Carl Patton, Ron Henry, Charlene Hurt, and J.L. Albert, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division.

Reaction. Patricia Schroeder, head of the American Association of Publishers (AAP), stated in a release that "Respect for copyright law is integral to the higher education process ... It provides the basis for publishing operations of university presses and scholarly societies, and makes possible the contributions of innumerable other authors and publishers to the educational process. Georgia State University's disregard for basic copyright protections undermines this very premise."

Schroeder, who was previously a Member of Congress, and a member of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC), and its Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, added that "AAP members and the publishing industry recognize the advantages of making course content available electronically for students, and offer licensing and permissions processes designed to allow such uses on a cost-effective basis ... We are simply asking Georgia State University to take the necessary measures to respect the law."

Patrick Ross, head of the Copyright Alliance, stated in a release that "Whether a work is on paper or a download service, creativity, labor and money went into its production, and the US Constitution ensured that the creator behind it would have rights over its use. If Cambridge, Oxford and other publishers are to continue to produce works worthy of being taught at institutions of higher learning such as GSU, they must have the ability to use their rights as copyright owners to create a market for their works."

Substantive Law. Oxford and Cambridge have stated claims under the Copyright Act. Given the online, and previously open to the public, nature of GSU's theft, Oxford and Cambridge have access to the evidence necessary to prove their claims. Finally, the language of the Copyright Act, and federal case law, support their position.

In particular, the U.S. District Court (SNDY) issued an opinion in 1991 in favor of the book publisher based on substantially similar facts. See, Basic Books v. Kinko's Graphics Corp., 758 F. Supp. 1522 (SDNY, 1991). That case involved unauthorized course packs, for students, comprised of excerpts from copyrighted works. Although, that case involved photocopying, while the present case involves the internet.

Oxford and Cambridge's larger problem may be with the doctrine of state sovereign immunity.

Sovereign Immunity. Oxford and Cambridge face a huge obstacle in state sovereign immunity, and particularly as recently implemented by the Supreme Court in Seminole Tribe and its intellectual property progeny.

The 11th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that "The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." This is an ancient provision, the underlying purposes of which have long since faded. Nevertheless, it remains in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has long limited the application of 11th Amendment immunity by the doctrine announced in Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908). That case held that the 11th Amendment bars a suit for money damages, but not a claim for prospective injunctive relief.

The Supreme Court breathed new life into the 11th Amendment in a series of cases in the late 1990s. First, it held in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996), that the Congress lacks authority under Article I of the Constitution to abrogate the States' 11th Amendment immunity from suit in federal courts. It then held in Florida Prepaid v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999), that the holding of Seminole Tribe extends to patent suits. And, in College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board, 527 U.S. 666 (1999), it extended this to the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act.

That is, the Supreme Court has opined that the Congress cannot (even though it is authorized to do so by the Constitution, at Article I, Section 8) enact a copyright or patent statute that allows a patent or copyright action against an infringing state.

Copyright and patent holders cannot get around the 11th Amendment ban on suits in federal court by bringing their infringement actions in state court because the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright and patent actions.

Some states, included California and Georgia, are aware of this immunity, and abuse it.

The complaint states that GSU "has continued unabated in the face of notice and repeated attempts by Plaintiffs to reach an amicable and mutually acceptable solution without the need for litigation. All such efforts have been flatly rebuffed".

A law breaking state, such as Georgia, has little incentive to come into compliance with copyright law, under the Seminole Tribe regime.

The complaint may have been drafted with sovereign immunity in mind. For example, in apparent reliance on Ex Parte Young, the publishers seek prospective injunctive relief, but not actual or statutory damages. Also, the complaint names as defendants only individuals, and not the state, or any political subdivision of the state.

It should also be noted that some federal Judges have been creative with Ex Parte Young's injunction versus damages dichotomy. See for example, opinion [11 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) in Ameritech v. McCann, ordering the issuance of a declaratory judgment compelling a state District Attorney to pay money to a phone company, rather than awarding damages.

Comparison to Peer to Peer Infringement. Record companies, music publishers, and recording artists have long faced a problem on university campuses with peer to peer infringement by students using university networks.

One attribute of the problem is that there is no deep pocket defendant who is organizing the infringing activity to sue to stop the infringement. Peer to peer networks are wholly decentralized. Record companies, after years of pursuing other courses of action, starting tracking down and suing individual peer to peer infringers.

Academic book publishers face an increasing problem with infringement of their works through online activities such as those described in the present complaint. Publishers may find that, given state sovereign immunity, litigation against state universities is an ineffective deterrent to continued infringement.

If this turns out to be the case, academic publishers may face the decision of whether to protect their rights by  bringing actions against individual infringers, who lack sovereign immunity.

Orphan Works Bills Introduced

4/24. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and others introduced HR 5889 [20 pages in PDF], the "Orphan Works Act of 2008". Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and others introduced the companion bill in the Senate.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Friday, April 25

The House will meet at 10:00 AM. Rep. Hoyer's schedule for the week of April 21 states that "no votes are expected in the House".

The Senate will not meet.

Day two of a three day conference of the National Conference of State Legislature titled "Spring Forum". At 11:00 AM there will be a panel titled "Communications Tax Issues". Location: Capital Hill Hyatt Regency, 400 New Jersey Ave., NW.

8:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Engineering Advisory Committee. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 2, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 64, at Page 18007. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1235, Arlington, VA.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding a broadcast television substitution in Riverside, California. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 11, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 48, at Pages 12928-12929.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding competitive bidding procedures for its Auction 78, the AWS-1 and Broadband PCS auction, which is scheduled to commence on July 29, 2008. See, DA 08-767 and notice in the Federal Register, April 16, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 74, at Pages 20664-20672.

Monday, April 28

The Senate will meet at 2:00 PM. It will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to HR 2881 [LOC | WW], the "FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007".

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Free State Foundation (FSF) will host a program titled "Reforming Universal Service: What Should Be Done And How To Do It". The speakers will be James Assey (National Cable & Telecommunications Association), Shirley Bloomfield (Qwest), Joel Lubin (AT&T), Randolph May (FSF), John Rose (OPASTCO), Mark Rubin (Alltel), Colin Crowell (House Commerce Committee, Democratic staff), and Neil Fried (House Commerce Committee, Republican staff). RSVP to Susan Reichbart at sreichbart at freestatefoundation dot org The event is free. Lunch will be provided. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association will host panel discussion titled "Merger Control in the Americas". The speakers will be John Taladay (Howrey), Eduardo Perez Motta (Chairman, Federal Commission on Competition, Mexico), Elizabeth Farina (President, Brazilian Competition Council), and Maria Tineo (Counsel for International Antitrust, Federal Trade Commission). The price to attend ranges from $15 to $30. For more information, contact 202-626-3488. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H St., NW.

EXTENDED FROM MARCH 14. Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Report on Broadcast Localism and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The FCC adopted this item on December 18, 2007, and released the text on January 24, 2008. It is FCC 07-218 in MB Docket No. 04-233. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 13, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 30, at Pages 8255-8259. See also, FCC's Public Notice [PDF] (DA 08-393). See also, Public Notice [PDF] (DA 08-515) extending deadlines.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding SP 800-64 Rev. 2 [60 pages in PDF], titled "DRAFT Security Considerations in the System Development Life Cycle".

Tuesday, April 29

9:30 AM. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Impact of Implementation: A Review of the REAL ID Act and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative". See, notice. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of Trade Functions: Customs and Other Trade Agencies". The witnesses will be Warren Maruyama (General Counsel, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), Ralph Basham (Commissioner of Customs, Department of Homeland Security), Julie Myers (Assistant Secretary, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS), and Daniel Pearson (Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission). See, notice. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) will host a lunch titled "700 MHz ``D Block´´: What's Next?" The speakers will be Declan Ganley (Ch/CEO of Rivada Networks), Kenneth Ferree (PFF), Art Contreras (Mobile Future), Michael Calabrese (New America Foundation), Paul Glenchur (Stanford Washington Research Group). This event is free and open to the public. See, PFF notice and registration page. Location: Rotunda Room, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding its proposal to amend the Trademark Rules of Practice to provide that the procedures for filing trademark correspondence by Express Mail or under a certificate of mailing or transmission do not apply to certain specified documents for which an electronic form is available in the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). See, notice in the Federal Register, February 29, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 41, at Pages 11079-11081.

Wednesday, April 30

9:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's (SJC) Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing titled "Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government". It will address legal analysis withheld from the public, including memoranda of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) will preside. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Advisory Committee on the Electronic Records Archives (ACERA). See, notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 71, at Pages 19903-19904. Location: 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a presentation titled "U.S. Copyright Office's New Electronic Filing Procedure for the Registration of Copyrights". The speaker will be Jeffrey Cole of the Copyright Office. The price to attend ranges from $20 to $25. For more information, contact 202-626-3488. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H St., NW.

1:30 - 3:30 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Spectrum Management Advisory Committee will meet. The agenda includes receiving recommendations and reports from working groups of its Technical Sharing Efficiencies Subcommittee and Operational Sharing Efficiencies Subcommittee. See, NTIA notice and notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 71, at Pages 19828-19829. Location: Room 1412, DOC, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding public safety communications in the 800 MHz band. The FCC adopted and released this item on March 5, 2008. This item is FCC 08-73 in WT Docket No. 02-55 and ET Docket Nos. 00-258 and 95-18. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 31, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 62, at Pages 16822-16826.

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding SP 800-39 [67 pages in PDF], titled "DRAFT Managing Risk from Information Systems: An Organizational Perspective".

Thursday, May 1

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Day two of a two day meeting of the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Advisory Committee on the Electronic Records Archives (ACERA). See, notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 71, at Pages 19903-19904. Location: 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

9:00 - 10:30 AM. Robert Atkinson, head of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), will present a report titled "Explaining International Broadband Leadership". See, notice. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW.

9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on a yet to be introduced bill that the HCC titles "Draft Legislation Enhancing Access to Broadband Technology and Services for Persons with Disabilities". The hearing will be webcast by the HCC. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing on the nominations of Steven Agee (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit), William Lawrence (U.S. District Court, SDInd), and Murray Snow (USDC, DAriz). Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The National Economists Club (NEC) will host a lunch. The speaker will be Gary Hufbauer. The topic will be "NAFTA at 14: Why the Uproar?". Location: Chinatown Garden Restaurant, 618 H St., NW.

6:00 PM. Deadline for the winning bidders in Auction 73 to avoid default for failure to submit final payment, including late fees, for their winning bids. See, notice.

Friday, May 2

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Economics and Statistics Administration's (ESA) Bureau of Economic Analysis's (BEA) BEA Advisory Committee will meet. The agenda includes a discussion of how offshoring might bias the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 24, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 57, at Page 15477. Location: BEA, 1441 L St., NW.

9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in James Kay v. FCC, App. Ct. No. 03-1072. Judges Tatel, Garland and Kavanaugh will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

11:00 AM - 6:00 PM. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering will meet. The agenda includes discussion of "strategic priorities in computing". See, notice in the Federal Register, April 16, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 74, at Page 20721. Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1235, Arlington, VA.

Deadline to submit to the Copyright Royalty Judges petitions to participate in the proceeding to determine the Phase I distribution of 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 royalties collected under the cable statutory license. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 2, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 64, at Pages 18004-18005.

SEC Chairman Addresses Marriage of IFRS and Interactive Data

4/18. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Chris Cox gave a speech on April 18, 2008, in which he discussed Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), convergence of IFRS and GAAP, and XBRL.

Chris CoxCox (at right) stated that "It's now possible to envision a day in the not-too-distant future when investors worldwide will be able to compare financial statements of companies around the world using globally accepted accounting standards. It's also possible to imagine even more clearly, in our very near future, that investors the world over will be able to exchange financial information at the speed of light -- tagged with computer codes in a globally accepted format that lets them analyze and understand financial information with an economy of effort that's never been possible before."

He continued that "The adoption of a global computer language for financial information goes hand in glove with the concept of a common accounting language. The international movement to employ eXtensible Business Reporting Language for this purpose will let investors easily find and compare business and financial data with the same ease of doing a Google or Yahoo! search today. And it promises to let companies prepare their financial information more quickly, more accurately, and for less cost."

See, the SEC's XBRL web section.

The SEC does not yet mandate that any filings be tagged with XBRL. Cox said that "In the coming weeks, following years of evaluation and experience through the SEC's voluntary XBRL pilot program, the Commission will consider a rule for the use of interactive data by U.S. reporting companies that will parallel efforts already underway in other countries."

See also, story titled "SEC General Counsel Predicts SEC Will Soon Propose Making XBRL Mandatory" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,746, April 14, 2008.

Cox added that "In Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Israel, and the Netherlands today, filing financial statements using interactive data is already mandatory."

Cox also offered a simple explanation of the benefits of XBRL and the "interactive data" that it creates. "Interactive data means using some fairly simple software to apply hidden computer codes to the numbers and the captions on your financial statements. ... Once the identifying tags have been attached to each item of financial information, computer software can search for any of those items simply by looking up the corresponding tag. And if all SEC filings were tagged, your software could do the same thing with hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of reports, more or less instantly."

He concluded that "There's simply no question that the objectives for IFRS are significantly advanced by the widening acceptance of a global computer language for presenting and comparing financial information. As IFRS sweeps the world, the ultimate question -- whether it becomes the single set of high-quality, global accounting standards -- will depend on investors' confidence in the reliability, transparency and comparability of the financial information those standards produce. And the marriage of IFRS with interactive data has the potential to enhance all three."

People and Appointments

4/24. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of  Mark Davis to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

4/24. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of David Kays to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

4/24. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of Stephen Limbaugh to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Kristen Silverberg4/24. President Bush nominated Kristen Silverberg (at right) to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union. She is currently currently Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs). Previously, she was Deputy Assistant to the President and Advisor to the Chief of Staff. And before that she was a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge David Sentelle. See, White House release and release. President Bush withdrew his nomination of Boyden Gray for this position. Bush first nominated Gray in 2005. The Senate has not acted on his nomination. Although, he did previously hold a recess appointment. See, story titled "Bush Nominates Boyden Gray to be US Representative to EU" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,182, July 26, 2005.

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4/24. A grand jury of the U.S. District Court (DKan) returned an indictment that charges Leonard Douglas LaDuron, former President of Serious ISP Inc., Myco Technologies Inc. and Elephantine Corporation, Mary Jo LaDuron, aka Mary Jo Gault, and others with criminal conspiracy in connection with their defrauding of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) e-rate subsidy program. See, Department of Justice (DOJ) release.

4/24. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved S 2533 [LOC | WW], the "State Secrets Protection Act".

4/22. House Republicans continue to give short speeches in the House regarding the expiration of FISA reform legislation. S 1927 [LOC | WW], the "Protect America Act", the temporary act enacted in August of 2007 to revise and expand federal wiretap, surveillance, and related authorities, expired on Saturday, February 16, 2008. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) stated in the House on April 22, 2008, that "Today marks the 66th day since this House allowed the Protect America Act that affects foreign intelligence surveillance to expire. For over 2 months now, we have needlessly hampered our intelligence agencies' ability to conduct surveillance on foreign terrorists because some in this Chamber would rather allow the trial lawyers to have an opportunity to sue telecommunications companies that assisted the government following the September 11 terrorist attack in some 50 frivolous lawsuits in the San Francisco courts." See, Congressional Record, April 22, 2008, at Page H2494. On April 14, 2008, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) stated in the House that " The leadership seems more bent on protecting lawsuits than they are in protecting America." See, Congressional Record, April 14, 2008, at H2228.

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