News Briefs from June 6-10, 2001

ICANN Conducts Survey
6/10. The ICANN published in its web site an online survey being conducted by its Domain Names Supporting Organization (DNSO) regarding the WHOIS system.
PRC Trade
6/9. The USTR announced that the U.S. and the PRC "have reached consensus on remaining bilateral concerns related to China's WTO accession, indicating that both countries plan to work together in Geneva to complete China's WTO accession. In addition, both countries will work closely with other WTO members to build on the consensus reached by the United States and China this past week in Shanghai." See, USTR release.
Computer Export Controls
6/8. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington DC think tank, held a press conference to release a report titled "Computer Exports and National Security in a Global Era: New Tools for a New Century." (See, Executive Summary [PDF].) The report recommends ending export controls on computers and microprocessors. The speakers were John Hamre, who is the President and CEO of the CSIS and a former Defense Department official in the Clinton administration, Brent Scowcroft, who is a trustee of the CSIS and a former National Security Adviser for the elder President Bush, and James Lewis, who is the author of the report. See also, CSIS release.
The report and the speakers state that current export controls on computer hardware that are based on MTOP levels are no longer relevant or useful. James Lewis stated that the capacity of a computer is not important. First, people can cluster computers together with readily available software to obtain supercomputing capacity. Second, the Internet can be used to create virtual supercomputers. Third, the amount of capacity needed for most defense design work is less than that of some current off the shelf laptops. John Hamre stated that not only has the technology changed, but the threats faced by the U.S. have changed. He said that there ought to be export controls, but not on computer hardware. He stated that there should be controls on precursor chemicals for chemical weapons, missile technology, biological weapons, genetic sequencing equipment, and proprietary software used for certain defense related functions. Brent Scowcroft said the the current export control regime "has largely seen its day." It was based on the old cold war conflict. Today, the export policy is trying "to play King Canute" and hold back the tide, said Scowcroft.
There are two bills pending in the Congress that would reform the export control regime, S 149, the Export Administration Act of 2001, and HR 1553, and untitled bill. S 149, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), is a major overhaul of export control laws. It passed the Senate Banking Committee on March 22, 2001 by a vote of 19-1. However, it faces opposition in the Senate from Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), Sen. John Warner (R-VA), and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). HR 1553 is a short bill sponsored by Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) that would simply end export controls on high performance computers.
Intel v. Intergraph
6/8. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Intel v. Intergraph, upholding the District Court's judgment for Intel on the issue of violation of antitrust laws. The Appeals Court previously held in Intergraph v. Intel, 195 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 1999), aka Intel I, that Intel did not violate the antitrust laws by withholding certain proprietary information and product samples from Intergraph, following upon Intergraph's assertion of its Clipper patents against Intel products. On remand, the District Court then held that Intel I precluded relitigation of the antitrust issues. Intergraph appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed in a short opinion. Intergraph's patent infringement and other claims are still pending.
PPI Advocates National E-Commerce Strategy
6/8. The Progressive Policy Institute, a Democratic think tank, released a report [PDF] titled "The Failure of Cyber-Libertarianism: The Case for a National E-Commerce Strategy." The report states that "While cyber- conservatives resist government action, cyber- liberals focus principally on regulation and redistribution, rather than on fostering the growth of e-commerce. They advocate immediate taxation of e-commerce sales, strict regulations on privacy and consumer protection, and limited intellectual property protection on digital content. Moreover, for the left, government's most important role is addressing the digital divide."
The report continues that "limiting an Internet and digital agenda to simply a no-tax and deregulatory regime, as the right would advocate, or to a digital divide agenda, as the left proposes, will not take us far enough or fast enough toward the goal of a society and an economy where digital technologies are widely and extensively used." It concludes that "government needs to intervene in areas where market failures and other limitations lead to less than optimal outcomes" and that there should be "a national e-commerce strategy". The report specifically advocates that the government fund research and development, resist middlemen who seek to block disintermediation, promote e-government, promote free trade, and promote international rules affecting e-commerce.
Robert Atkinson, who wrote report, will also speak on the same subject at a PPI sponsored event at 2:30 PM today in Room 121 of the Cannon Building. See, notice.
More News
6/8. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in Small Business in Telecommunications v. FCC, a petition for review of FCC orders pertaining to 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for review with respect to the Upper Channel First Reconsideration Order and denied the petition with respect to the Lower Channel Report and Order and the Lower Channel Reconsideration Order.
6/8. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Acromed v. Sofamor, affirming the District Court's JMOL in this patent infringement action involving spinal surgery technology.
6/8. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Apotex v. Merck, a patent infringement suit. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment to Merck holding that the claims of two patents are invalid. The patents in suit, U.S. Patents 5,573,780 and 5,690,962, relate to a process for producing a formula for use in treating high blood pressure.
6/8. WTO Director General Mike Moore gave a speech in Geneva, Switzerland, titled "Promoting Openness, Fairness and Predictability in International Trade for the Benefit of Humanity." He again advocated the launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations.
6/8. Napster appointed Jonathan Schwartz to the new post of General Counsel. He was previously Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General U.S. Justice Department. See, Napster release.
Senate Passes TEACH Act
6/7. The Senate passed S 487, the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act by unanimous consent. The bill would amend 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act to extend the distance learning exemptions enacted in 1976 to digital delivery media. The TEACH Act incorporates many of the recommendations made by the U.S. Copyright Office in 1999 in a study mandated by the the DMCA. Under current law, there are exemptions for "face-to-face" and "transmission" teaching activities; but Internet based education is not referenced.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), a sponsor of the bill, stated on the Senate floor that "This legislation will help clarify the law and allow educators to use the same rich material in distance learning over the Internet that they are able to use in face-to-face classroom instruction. The Senate has been focused on education reform for the past two months. The legislation we report today reflects our understanding that we must be able to use new technologies to advance our education goals in a manner that recognizes and protects copyrighted works."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), another sponsor of the bill, stated that "Distance education, and the use of high technology tools such as the Internet in education, hold great promise for students in States like Utah, where distances can be great between students and learning opportunities. ... Any education reforms moved in the Congress this year should include provisions that help deploy high technology tools, including the Internet, ..."
P3P Resolution Introduced in House
6/7. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Rep. Cal Dooley (D-CA), Rep. James Moran (D-VA), Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and Rep. Richard Larsen (D-WA) introduced H Res 159, a resolution expressing the sense of the House that machine readable privacy policies and the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project specification, commonly known as the P3P specification, are important tools in protecting the privacy of Internet users. The resolution further states that commercial, nonprofit, Congressional, and federal web sites should deploy P3P compliant privacy policies. The resolution was referred to the House Commerce Committee, House Administration Committee, and the House Government Reform Committee.
"One of the key elements of the privacy debate and something that often gets lost in the shuffle is the need for consumers to be able to effectively manage their personal information online," said Rep. Smith in a release. "The P3P specification fills this need because it allows consumers to make decisions about how much information they want to share with web site operators. As Congress considers privacy legislation, P3P is an immediate way to address consumer concerns without onerous regulation."
The P3P is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, which describes it as "an industry standard providing a simple, automated way for users to gain more control over the use of personal information on Web sites they visit." Not all groups are enthusiastic about the P3P. See, for example, report by the EPIC and Junkbusters titled "Pretty Poor Privacy: An Assessment of P3P and Internet Privacy."
Privacy and DOD Web Sites
6/7. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) gave a speech in the House regarding online privacy. He stated that "We just received the other day the audit report of the Department of Defense Web sites. We found disturbing information. Of 400 sites that were reviewed, over a quarter of them had privacy violations where Americans' privacy rights were being abused by Federal agencies. There were 128 sites that had unauthorized use of cookies which is essentially a system used to collect personal information on your system placed there by a government Web site. There were 100 sites that had no privacy notice. Perhaps most disturbing, there were seven sites where the government agencies had used Web bugs which essentially are capable of tracking an individual's uses of the Internet." See, Congressional Record, June 7, at page H2961.
U.S. Has Jurisdiction over French Defendants in Yahoo v. LICRA
6/7. The U.S. District Court (NDCal) issued an Order Denying Motion to Dismiss [PDF] in Yahoo v. LICRA, holding that Yahoo's declaratory judgment action may proceed to the merits. Yahoo filed a complaint in the District Court seeking a declaratory judgment that an order of a French court (that Yahoo render impossible access by people in France to certain content of the Yahoo web site) is unenforceable in the U.S. as contrary to the Constitution.
Yahoo is a Delaware corporation based in San Jose, California. The French defendants, LICRA and UEJF, who had sued Yahoo in a French court, sought to avoid the jurisdiction of the U.S. Courts when Yahoo sued them. The French defendants filed a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The District Court denied the motion to dismiss, holding that it had personal jurisdiction over the defendants under California's long arm jurisdiction statute, which permits a court to exercise jurisdiction to the full extent authorized by the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The Court stated that the purposeful availment requirement was met because defendants had written a demand letter to Yahoo in California, used U.S. Marshals in California to serve papers on Yahoo, and sought an order of the French court directing Yahoo's operations in California.
Free speech and technology industry advocates oppose the order of the French court. See, for example, amicus brief [PDF] of the Center for Democracy and Technology and other groups. They wrote: "The French judgment before this Court places our tradition of free expression in jeopardy. It represents a direct attempt by a foreign nation to apply its law extraterritorially to restrict the freedom of expression of U.S.-based online speakers who are protected by the First Amendment. It does so because the Plaintiff, Yahoo! Inc. ("Yahoo!"), has chosen the Internet as its means of communication."
Largent Announces Resignation
6/7. Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) announced his intent to resign from the House, effective November 29, in order to run for Governor of Oklahoma. See, release. Largent is a member of the House Commerce Committee, and its Telecom Subcommittee, which have jurisdiction over much of the legislation affecting the Internet and communications. He has been one of the Committee's most ardent advocates of free market solutions, limited government, and deregulation. He has also been a proponent of legislation to protect children from inappropriate content on the Internet. He is also one of the leaders of the opposition to HR 1542, the Tauzin Dingell bill.
Esbin Returns to FCC Cable Services Bureau
6/7. Barbara Esbin was named Associate Chief of the FCC's Cable Services Bureau, effective July 15, 2001. She is currently a partner in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Dow Lohnes. Until recently, she worked at the FCC. The FCC stated that she will handle "regulatory issues arising from cable provision of Internet and other advanced information services, cable entry into telecommunications markets, interconnection, local franchising, federal- state relations, and related regulatory issues affecting cable operators." See, FCC release. Esbin is best known for having authored the FCC's September 1998 report [PDF] titled Internet Over Cable: Defining the Future in Terms of the Past. See, TLJ News Analysis regarding this report.
Trade and Fast Track
6/7. Rep. Phil English (R-PA) gave a speech in the House regarding trade negotiating authority of the President. He stated that "the President of the United States, the leader of the free world and representative of the largest single economy on the planet, has lacked the authority to negotiate trade agreements, agreements that could pry open foreign markets, reduce and even eliminate unfair trading practices and create and preserve more jobs here at home. All of this is beyond the reach of the President of the United States." He also stated that "All around us, our trading partners, tired of U.S. excuses and delays, are joining and forming new trade alliances without us. Europe is forming new trade pacts all across Latin America, South America and North Africa. The nations of East Asia are actively working to form a new regional combine. America is not even a party to these discussions." Also, he again promoted HR 1446, the Standard Trade Negotiating Authority Act, which he introduced on April 4, 2001. See, Congressional Record, June 7, at page H2985.
Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Imported Pharmaceuticals
6/7. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on imported pharmaceuticals, including those sold via the Internet and delivered by mail. See, opening statements of Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and Rep. James Greenwood (R-PA). See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Rev. and Mrs. Edwin Rode, Donald Vereen (Office of National Drug Control Policy), Laura Nagel (DEA), Elizabeth Durant (U.S. Customs Service), William Hubbard (FDA), Alan Leshner (National Institute on Drug Abuse), Landon Gibbs (Virginia State Police), Marven Shepherd (University of Texas), John Glover (Bristol- Myers Squibb), James Christian (Novartis), William Trundley (Glaxo Smith Kline), Gene R. Haislip, and Donald deKieffer (deKieffer & Horgan).
Subcommittee Holds Hearing on USPTO
6/7. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property held an oversight hearing titled The Operations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Including Review of Agency Funding. The Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), presided. The ranking Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), also participated. No other members were present. See, opening statements of Coble and Berman. See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Nicholas Godici (USPTO), Ronald Myrick (Intellectual Property Owners), Nils Montan (International Trademark Association), and Ronald Stern (Patent Office Professional Association).
Diversion of USPTO User Fees. Rep. Coble stated that "It pains me that the focus of our hearing, as it has been in the past, will be the continuing diversion of PTO funds from the agency to other government programs. More specifically, by the end of the present fiscal year, the agency will have lost more than $600 million dollars attributable to diversions, rescissions, and other budgetary sleights of hand." Rep. Berman concurred: "This Innovation Tax is leaving the PTO unable and unequipped to perform its very critical mission."
Legal Challenge to Diversion. Rep. Coble asked Myrick whether the IPO planned to file a court challenge to the diversion of USPTO user fees. Myrick responded that the IPO is studying the issue, and will issue a report in two weeks, but has made no determination. He added that if a legal challenge were filed, it would allege a violation of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause and the ban on direct taxation. Rep. Berman stated that "I am with you on policy, but I am not sure I am with you on the Constitutional issue." He asked rhetorically whether the IPO's lawyers were the same ones who argue that minimum wage laws violate freedom of contract.
Coble and Berman Introduce HR 2047
6/7. Rep. Howard Coble and Rep. Howard Berman introduced HR 2047 on June 6. They discussed the bill at the June 7 oversight hearing on the USPTO. The bill contains three provisions. First, it seeks to end the diversion of USPTO fees to subsidize other government programs. It states that "There is authorized to be appropriated to the (USPTO) for salaries and necessary expenses for fiscal year 2002 an amount equal to the fees collected in fiscal year 2002 ..."
On April 3, Rep. Berman and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced HRes 110, a resolution providing "That it shall not be in order in the House of Representatives to consider any bill, joint resolution, amendment, motion or conference report that makes available funds to the (USPTO) for any fiscal year ... in amounts less than the total amount of patent and trademark fees collected by the (USPTO) ... " Rep. Berman stated at the June 7 hearing that "I believe that HR 2047 and HRes 110 are symbiotic, and I will pursue House passage of both."
HR 2047 would also require the USPTO to develop a strategic plan that sets forth goals and methods regarding enhancing patent and trademark quality, reducing patent and trademark pendancy, and developing computer systems. Rep. Berman explained that the USPTO "needs to clearly and specifically outline how it would use all the fee revenue to be diverted." Finally, HR 2047 would authorize $50 Million per year for 2002 and 2003 to develop an electronic system for the filing and processing of patent and trademark applications.
Boucher & Issa Introduce Internet Distance Learning Bill
6/7. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced HR 2100, a bill to amend copyright law to facilitate distance learning. The bill would amend 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act to extend the distance learning exemptions enacted in 1976 to digital delivery media. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, of which both Boucher and Issa are members. This bill is similar, but not identical, to the S 487, which the Senate passed by unanimous consent on June 7. The Senate bill, but not the House bill, contains a requirement that the USPTO prepare a report for the Judiciary Committees "describing technological protection systems that have been implemented, are available for implementation, or are proposed to be developed to protect digitized copyrighted works and prevent infringement".
First to File Rule in Trademark Litigation
6/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion in Learning Network v. Discovery Communications, a trademark dispute. Learning Network filed a complaint against Discovery in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (DMd). Discovery filed a complaint against Network in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The District Court (DMd) issued an order enjoining Discovery from proceeding with its suit against Network in the District Court (SDNY), pursuant to the first to file rule. The Appeals Court affirmed in an "unpublished" opinion.
9th Circuit Issues Antitrust Ruling
6/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion in Tanaka v. USC, an antitrust suit. Rhiannon Tanaka, a soccer playing college student, sought to transfer from the University of Southern California to UCLA, both of which are members of the PAC 10 intercollegiate athletic conference. USC opposed Tanaka's transfer to UCLA, and sought sanctions (one year loss of eligibility and financial aid) against her pursuant to a PAC 10's intra conference transfer rule. Tanaka filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (CDCal) against USC alleging breach of contract under state law and violation of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 15, predicated on a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. The District Court dismissed the antitrust claim on the basis that USC's action was basically noncommercial, and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claim. The Appeals Court affirmed on other grounds. Tanaka had alleged that the relevant market was Los Angeles. The Appeals Court reasoned that the market was national, and a PAC 10 rule could not have a significant anticompetitive effect nationally.
Napster News
6/7. Napster announced that it entered into an agreement with Loudeye under which Loudeye will provide digital "fingerprints" and associated descriptive data to identify songs. See, Napster release. Loudeye stated that this "will support Napster's compliance efforts to filter noticed copyrighted content from its current service." See, Loudeye release.
More News
6/7. The U.S. District Court (CDCal) entered judgment in SEC v. Reed Slatkin, a civil securities fraud action. The Court enjoined Slatkin from violating the antifraud provisions of federal securities laws, ordered him to disgorge ill gotten gains, and ordered him to pay of civil penalties. Slatkin is also a co-founder, former director and substantial shareholder of Earthlink. See, SEC release.
SBC Withdraws Missouri 271 Application
6/6. SBC Communications withdrew its Section 271 application to provide long distance service in the state of Missouri. See, SBC release. The FCC Chairman Michael Powell released a statement in which he said, "During the FCC Common Carrier Bureau's review of SBC's Section 271 application for authority to offer long distance service in Missouri, concerns surfaced related to cost-based pricing in its region and operations support systems (OSS). Given these concerns, SBC has chosen to withdraw the application. Accordingly, this Section 271 proceeding is now terminated until such time as SBC has addressed these issues and is prepared to resubmit its application."
DOJ Sues to Stop 3D Systems' Acquisition of DTM
6/6. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust action in U.S. District Court (DDC) against 3D Systems Corporation and DTM Corporation seeking to block 3D System's proposed $45 Million acquisition of DTM. The DOJ alleged that the transaction would result in higher prices and less innovation for industrial rapid prototyping systems. Rapid prototyping (RP) is a process by which a machine transforms a computer design into three dimensional objects. See, DOJ release. Brian Service, P/CEO of 3D Systems stated that "We believe the government's case is without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend the legality of the transaction." John Murchison, P/CEO of DTM likewise condemned the suit. See, 3D Systems release.
Prof. Felton Challenges Constitutionality of DMCA Anti Circumvention
6/6. Edward Felton and others filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DNJ) against the RIAA, SDMI Foundation, and others, seeking a declaration that the anti circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is unconstitutional as a violation of free speech.
On April 9, Matthew Oppenheim, Secretary of the SDMI Foundation, wrote a letter to Felton, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University, and others, warning them that public release of information concerning the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) "could subject you and your research team to actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ..." At the time, Felton had been scheduled to participate in the 4th International Information Hiding Workshop on April 25-29 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is a music industry group that is attempting to develop a watermark based system to prevent music piracy. Watermarking embeds copyright information in digital music files to enable devices like MP3 players and recorders to refuse to make copies of copyrighted music. Last year the SDMI issued a "Public Challenge" to help choose among four proposed watermarking technologies. It invited researchers to attempt to remove the copyright watermarks. Felton responded, and successfully defeated all four technologies. The SDMI sought to prevent Felton from presenting or publishing his findings.
The RIAA had this reaction: "Professor Felten's decision to sue the RIAA and the SDMI Foundation is inexplicable. We have unequivocally and repeatedly stated that we have no intention of bringing a lawsuit against Professor Felten or his colleagues. It seems that the professor, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation, would have preferred that we sue in order to keep their publicity machine running. Since we've said we have no issue with the publication of the Felten paper, they now resort to suing us to keep this issue alive." See, RIAA release.
What Happened to the New Economy?
6/6. Federal Reserve Board Governor Laurence Meyer gave a long speech in New York City titled "What Happened to the New Economy?" He identified the "new economy" as "the dramatic acceleration in productivity tied, to an important degree, to innovations in information technology." He stated that there is a "sharp slowdown under way ... . I refer here to the correction in equity prices and the retrenchment of investment, both of which are centered on the high-tech area." He addressed the role of monetary policy in recent growth, and the slowdown. He also stated that "we are still in the new economy ... . The shape of the slowdown has the new economy written all over it, just as the shape of the earlier expansion did." He also concluded that "Recent developments have taught or re-taught us a number of such lessons. Equity prices can go down as well as up. Firms need profits to survive. Business cycles happen." He spoke to the New York Association for Business Economics and The Downtown Economists.
Crater v. Lucent
6/6. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Crater v. Lucent. Plaintiff holds U.S. Patent No. 5,286,129 pertaining to an underwater coupling device for fiber optic cable. It filed suit in U.S. District Court (EDMo) against Lucent and AT&T alleging patent infringement and breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets under state law. Federal jurisdiction was based on the patent claim; there was not diversity of citizenship. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, on the grounds that since their use of the invention was pursuant to contracts with the federal government (U.S. Navy), 18 U.S.C. 1498(a) provides that the only action available to the plaintiff is against the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The District Court agreed, and dismissed. In addition, the government asserted the military and state secrets privilege to prevent plaintiff from obtaining information about infringing use. It intervened in the District Court proceeding to prevent most discovery in that action. The Appeals Court affirmed the finding that Section 1498 bars the patent infringement action, but reversed the holding as to lack of jurisdiction. The Appeals Court held that there was jurisdiction over the patent claim, and hence, supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.
PSLRA Pleading Standard
6/6. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Ronconi v. Larkin, a case regarding pleading standards in securities class action suits under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA). The District Court dismissed for failure to state a claim. The Appeals Court applied the PSLRA, as previously interpreted by the Ninth Circuit in Janas v. McCracken (In re Silicon Graphics Sec. Litig.), 183 F.3d 970 (1999), to affirm the dismissal.
Computer and Internet Crime
6/6. The U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion in USA v. James Rhodes, an appeal in a criminal case. Defendant plead guilty to and was convicted of one count of traveling interstate with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2423(b). He had been communicating via the Internet with an undercover police officer. He appealed the District Court's refusal to withdraw his guilty plea, and his sentence. The Appeals Court affirmed.
6/6. Richard Morris was charged by Information [PDF] with one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343 and one count of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341. Morris also plead guilty to both charges in U.S. District Court (NDCal). Morris auctioned non- existent merchandise on Internet auction sites, including e-Bay and Yahoo. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Howden prosecuted the case. See, USAO release.
More News
6/6. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies held a hearing on proposed budget estimates for FY 2002 for the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science Technology Policy.
6/6. The House Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing on the Justice Department.  testified. See, prepared testimony of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Go to News Briefs from June 1-5.