TLJ News from September 21-25, 2006

House Commerce Committee Issues Subpoenas in HP Investigation

9/25. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) announced in a release that it "issued three subpoenas to witnesses invited to Thursday's hearing on the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal."

It added that "The committee issued subpoenas for two Hewlett-Packard executives, including senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker and global security manager Anthony Gentilucci. Ron DeLia, operator of Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc., in Boston, also received a subpoena from the committee."

The HCC's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on Thursday, September 28, at 10:00 AM. The other witnesses will be Mark Hurd (Ch/CEO of HP), Patricia Dunn (former chairman of HP), Ann Baskins (General Counsel of HP), Fred Adler (HP computer security investigator), Larry Sonsini (Wilson Sonsini), and Joe Depante (owner of Action Research Group).

The HCC's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a second hearing on Friday, September 29, to hear from the Chairmen Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and from heads of wireless carriers. The witnesses will be Kevin Martin (FCC Chairman), Deborah Majoras (FTC Chairman), John Rooney (P/CEO of U.S. Cellular), Robert Dotson (P/CEO of T-Mobile USA), Stanley Sigman (P/CEO of Cingular Wireless), Scott Ford (P/CEO of Alltel Wireless), Gary Forsee (P/CEO of Sprint Nextel), and Dennis Strigl (P/CEO of Verizon Wireless).

Neither these hearings, nor the HCC's investigation, is examining the use of pretexting by government agencies.

British Library Advocates Exemption to Ban on Circumvention and Other Limitations on IPR

9/25. The British Library (BL) released a paper [4 pages in PDF] titled "Intellectual Property: A Balance: A British Library Manifesto". It makes recommendations for changes to the United Kingdom's copyright laws. It also offers these recommendations to the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property.

In December of 2005 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the appointment of Andrew Gowers to conduct an examination of the UK's intellectual property laws. This group received public comments in early 2006, but has not yet issued its report. Its web site states that a "Final Report" is due in "Autumn 2006".

The BL argues that the UK's laws should be revised to limit intellectual property rights in several ways. Although, its paper is short, vaguely worded, and rhetorical.

It argues that "the traditional copyright framework is creaking under the strain". The problems that it cites are new digital technologies and the negotiation of licensing contracts between copyright owners and libraries and other parties.

The BL paper states that "restricting technologies (such as DRMs / TPMs) and contracts issued with digital works should not exceed the statutory exceptions for fair dealing access allowed for in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act." (Parentheses in original.)

The BL appears to argue that fair dealing (or fair use) should provide an exception to the bans on circumvention of technological measures to protect copyrighted works. In the U.S., 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)(A), which was added in 1998 by the DMCA, provides that "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

The BL paper elaborates on digital rights management (DRM) and licensing. It states that "DRMs can pose a real, technical threat to our ability to conserve and give access to the nation's creative output now and in the future. Contracts can also prevent users' legitimate access to databases." Moreover, "Licences, rather than contracts of sale, are emerging as the key transaction method in the digital environment. The majority of these licences deliver lower-level access and copying rights than are available under existing copyright law."

It concludes that "We recommend that contract and DRMs /TPMs are not allowed to undermine the longstanding limitations and exceptions such as fair dealing in UK law."

The BL paper is not precise, but it suggests that the Parliament might void contract clauses in contracts that the BL has already negotiated and signed.

The U.S. Constitution prohibits states from enacting any "Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts". The next clause prohibits the "grant of any Title of Nobility". The BL does not appear to share colonial attitudes regarding either of these topics.

The paper also states that "The US model of dealing with orphan works should be considered for the UK." However, there is no US model. Neither the Copyright Act nor the Copyright Office's (CO) regulations address "orphan works". The CO has issued a report [207 pages in PDF] that contains a legislative proposal. House and Senate Committees have held hearings. Moreover, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced bills that contain language that is based upon the CO report. Nevertheless, nothing has been enacted into law. Nothing has been reported out of Committee.

The BL paper also argues that "Libraries should be allowed to make copies of sound and film recordings to ensure they can be preserved for posterity in the future." This is a subject addressed in the U.S. by 17 U.S.C. § 108. Also, the CO's Section 108 Study Group has been tasked with making findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in this area.

However, the BL paper makes no recommendations regarding whether digitizing and making available libraries' copies of books should be a exception to the exclusive rights of copyright. It does not address Google's copying of copyrighted books in libraries.

The paper is also critical of copyright terms, but does not state what the terms should be. However, the paper argues that the term "for unpublished works should be retrospectively brought in line with other terms -- life plus 70 years."

The BL stated in a release that "Existing legislation urgently needs to be updated".

Lynne Brindley, the BL's Chief Executive, stated in this release that "if unchecked, this trend will drastically reduce public access, thus significantly undermining the strength and vitality of our creative and educational sectors -- with predictable consequences for UK plc"

The BL is an arm of the UK government. Its web site states that it receives most of its funding from, and is overseen by, the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

SEC Awards Contracts to Implement Its Transition to Interactive Data

9/25. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced in a release that it has awarded contracts totaling $54 Million to facilitate the transition to interactive data. The SEC stated that the contracts will "transform the agency's 1980s-vintage public company disclosure system from a form-based electronic filing cabinet to a dynamic real-time search tool with interactive capabilities".

The SEC added that this "presages widespread adoption of interactive data filing by companies that report their financial information to the SEC".

The largest contract, for $48 Million, is with Keane Federal Systems, Inc., to modernize and maintain the SEC's EDGAR database.

The SEC elaborated that "The new system will be completely interactive. Using interactive data technologies such as XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) and XML (Extensible Markup Language), it will allow investors and analysts to search not only forms, but the information within them. It will permit information to be immediately downloaded into applications software. And it will enable anyone to get real-time, streaming data using RSS feeds, ATOM, and other automated Web tools, which could automatically search for newly filed SEC disclosures and deliver the desired data directly to one’s desktop."

The SEC also announced a $5.5 Million contract with XBRL US, Inc., to complete the writing of XBRL taxonomies, or computer labels.

Finally, the SEC will pay $500 Thousand to Rivet Software and Wall Street on Demand to provide a new generation of interactive investor tools on the SEC’s website.

Cox Names Silicon Valley Lawyer to SEC Post

9/25. Michael Halloran was named Deputy Chief of Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Counselor to the Chairman.

He is currently a partner in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices of the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. He works in the firm's Corporate and Securities practice group. His firm web page states that he has worked with "venture capitalists and/or management in several high technology start up ventures and has served on the board of advisors of venture capital and buy-out funds and the boards of the resulting public companies".

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, who is also from California, has been appointing more Californians to top positions at the SEC than prior Chairmen.

While Halloran has worked at Pillsbury for about 30 years, from 1990 through 1996 he was Group Executive Vice President and General Counsel for BankAmerica Corporation.

The SEC issued a release that states that Halloran will "advise the Chairman on the entirety of the Commission's program to promote investor protection, healthy markets, and capital formation. Mr. Halloran will work closely with the Chief of Staff to assist the Chairman in overall management of the Commission."

Halloran will begin work at the SEC on October 16, 2006.

SEC Initiative Would Update Books and Records Requirement for New IT

9/25. Andrew Donohue, Director Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Division of Investment Management, gave a speech in New York, New York, in which he addressed updating the SEC's books and records requirements to take into account new information technologies.

He said that a "major initiative the Division of Investment Management hopes to tackle involves a less exciting, but no less critical issue -- books and records modernization. The investment adviser books and records rule was adopted in the early 1960s". He added that "the rule has not kept up with changes in the industry and thus is in great need of reform".

He continued that "What I envision for this project is a comprehensive review of our books and records requirements, including consideration of the purpose behind each requirement and whether we can obtain the same information in a more meaningful manner. As part of this review, we should consider technologies available today that may assist firms in maintaining and producing records in a cost-effective manner. Many of these technologies were certainly not available four decades ago when the books and records rule was adopted."

House to Vote on IP Bills

9/25. The Republican Whip Notice for the week of September 25-29 states that on Monday, September 25, the House will consider HR 1036, the "Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act",  and HR 683, the "Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006".

Both bills will be considered under suspension of the rules, which means that no amendments are in order, and that a two-thirds majority is required for approval.

The House approved an earlier version of HR 683 on April 19, 2005, by a vote of 411-8. See, Roll Call No. 109. Then, on March 8, 2006, the Senate amended and approved the bill. See, story titled "Senate Approves Trademark Dilution Revision Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,327, March 10, 2006.

This bill is a reaction to the Supreme Court's March 4, 2003 opinion [21 pages in PDF] in Moseley v. V Secret. See, story titled "Supreme Court Rules in Trademark Dilution Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 618, March 6, 2003.

The House also approved an earlier version of HR 1036 on November 16, 2005. The Senate amended and approved the bill on July 19, 2006.

One intellectual property bill that is not on the suspension calendar is HR 2955, the "Intellectual Property Jurisdiction Clarification Act of 2005". The HJC approved this bill on March 2, 2006, and reported this bill on April 4 (see, Report No. 109-407). See also, story titled "House Judiciary Committee Approves Amendment Regarding Jurisdiction of Federal Circuit" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,325, March 8, 2006. Representatives and staff have stated in the past that this bill would likely be considered by the House on the suspension calendar.

HR 2955 is a response to the Supreme Court's opinion in Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 535 U.S. 826 (2002). See also, stories titled "Supreme Court Rules on Appellate Jurisdiction of Federal Circuit" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 443, June 4, 2002, and "CIIP Subcommittee to Mark Up Intellectual Property Jurisdiction Clarification Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,162, June 27, 2005.

People and Appointments

9/25. The Senate Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Mary Peters to be Secretary of Transportation by a vote of 22-0.

9/25. The Senate confirmed Francisco Besosa to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. See, Congressional Record, September 25, 2006, at Page S10107.

More News

9/25. The House approved HR 1036, the "Copyright Royalty Judges Program Technical Corrections Act", as amended by the Senate. The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.

9/25. The House approved HR 683, the "Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006", as amended by the Senate. The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.

9/25. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) announced that the U.S. and EU have reached an agreement on compensation for modifications to the EU’s World Trade Organization (WTO) services commitments. The OUSTR stated in a release that "The agreed compensation package contains new commitments on telecommunications that provide important clarity concerning the coverage of all basic and value-added telecommunication services. In addition, the compensation package provides new or enhanced commitments in several other sectors, including public utilities, engineering, computer, advertising, and financial services."

Dunn Resigns Over Role in HP Spying Scandal

9/22. Patricia Dunn resigned her position as Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP), following further revelations about HP's spying on journalists covering HP, as well as HP Directors and employees. See, HP release and release.

On September 12, 2006, HP announced that she would no longer serve as Chairman. See, stories titled "HP Says Dunn Will Remain as a Director" and "House Commerce Committee Requests Records From HP Regarding Its Use of Pretexting to Obtain Confidential Records" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,447, September 12, 2006.

HP stated on September 22 that "Mark Hurd, HP chief executive officer and president, has been appointed to the additional role of chairman, succeeding Patricia Dunn, who is leaving the company's board, effective immediately."

Both HP releases include statements by Hurd. He stated that "I wish to apologize both personally and on behalf of HP to each of those who were affected. We believe these unacceptable measures were isolated instances that do not reflect the broader behavior and values of HP, its employees or its board. But they cannot occur here again. Our actions today are intended to ensure that they never do."

Another release contains a resignation statement by Dunn, in which she does not apologize. However, she states that "I look forward to appearing before Congress next week to answer their questions and help the company put this unfortunate event behind it."

The House Commerce Committee (HCC) announced on September 15 that its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled "Hewlett-Packard's Pretexting Scandal" on September 28, 2006.

The HCC initially announced that it invited Patricia Dunn (former Chairman of HP), Ann Baskins (General Counsel of HP), Larry Sonsini (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati), and Ronald DeLia (Security Outsourcing Solutions, Inc.) to testify.

On September 19, 2006, the HCC wrote a letter [PDF] to Kevin Hunsaker, Senior Counsel in HP's Legal Department, inviting him to testify. It adds that "witnesses will be required to provide sworn testimony".

Also on September 19, the HCC wrote a similar letter [PDF] to Fred Adler, "IT Security Investigations" at HP.

The HCC's notice of the hearing also states that invited witnesses include Anthony Gentilucci, HP's Global Security Manager, and Joe Depante, owner of Action Research Group.

Also, on September 21, HP announced in a release that Mark Hurd offered to testify.

The HCC hearing on September 28 will be at 10:00 AM. The HCC has not announced a witness list.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) web site states that an FTC representative "will testify before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the practice of ``Pretexting´´". See, FTC calendar. Neither the House Commerce Committee, nor its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has announced this hearing in its web site. Both FTC and HCC spokesmen told TLJ that the hearing will take place, but did not disclose the witness list. This hearing is scheduled for Friday, September 29 at 9:30 AM in Room 2322 of the Rayburn Building.

This second hearing is likely to include testimony from Joel Winston of the FTC, a representative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and representatives of the largest wireless telecommunications companies.

Also, the HCC held a mark up session on September 20 at which it approved two resolutions. One pertains to subpoenas in connection with the HCC's investigation into data brokering, including its investigation of HP, and related matters. The other pertains to authorizing the issuance of subpoenas in connection with the HCC's investigation into the sexual exploitation of children over the internet, and related matters.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Chairman of the HCC, wrote in his opening statement that "The first resolution will authorize the chair, with the concurrence of the ranking minority member, to authorize and issue subpoenas in connection with our investigation of data brokers and 'pretexting,' including that part of the investigation related to the widely publicized scandal involving Hewlett-Packard's use of such data brokers to obtain access to confidential personal information."

He continued, "The second resolution for subpoenas would authorize the chair, again with the concurrence of the ranking minority member, to authorized and issue subpoenas in connection with the investigation of the sexual exploitation of children over the Internet, including matters related to the 1998 adoption of Masha Allen, a witness at our May 3, 2006, subcommittee hearing."

People and Appointments

9/22. Jeffrey Taylor was named U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He was previously Counselor to Gonzales. Before that, he worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC). And before that, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. He replaces Kenneth Wainstein.

9/22. Brian Marriott was named Publicity Director for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). He previously worked in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Media Relations. His new contact information is BMarriott at aarp dot org and 703-593-1679.

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9/22. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in a release that it has awarded twenty-eight contracts under its "small business track for information technology (IT) services as the second phase of the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) program prime contract procurement".

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Some Judges

9/21. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held a business meeting on September 21, 2006, at which it approved the nomination of Randy Smith to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit by a vote of 10-8.

The SJC held over all of the other Court of Appeals nominees who were on the agenda. These were William Myers (9th Circuit), Terrence Boyle (4th Circuit), William Haynes (4th Circuit), Peter Keisler (District of Columbia Circuit), and Kent Jordan (3rd Circuit).

The SJC also approved four District Court nominees, by unanimous consent. These were Philip Gutierrez (Central District of California), Valerie Baker (Central District of California), Francisco Augusto Besosa (District of Puerto Rico), and Lawrence O'Neill (Eastern District of California).

The SJC held over six District Court nominees who were on the agenda. These were Nora Fischer (Western District of Pennsylvania), Gregory Frizzell (Northern District of Oklahoma), Marcia Howard (Middle District of Florida), John Jarvey (Southern District of Iowa), Sara Lioi (Northern District of Ohio), Lisa Wood (Southern District of Georgia).

The SJC also approved Rodger Heaton to be U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois for the term of four years.

See, Congressional Record, September 21, 2006, at Page S9896, and story titled "Bush Renominates Five for Courts of Appeals" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,442, August 31, 2006.

Hatch and Feinstein Introduce Bill Regarding Specialized Patent Judges

9/21. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S 3923, a bill that would establish a limited ten year pilot program in a least five U.S. District Courts to develop expertise in judges and court staff in patent and plant variety cases. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This is a companion bill to HR 5418, which the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) amended and approved on September 13, 2006. See, items titled "HJC Approves Bill Regarding Specialized Patent Judges" and "HR 5418 As Approved by House Judiciary Committee" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,449, September 14, 2006.

Sen. Hatch stated that his bill "this bill is very similar to" HR 5418. See, Congressional Record, September 21, 2006, at Page S9901.

Sen. Hatch continued that "In conversations with a number of constituents and both small and large companies in my home State of Utah, I have found that one of the frequent complaints by those who had been involved in patent litigation was that many district court judges had relatively little expertise in patent law, and -- partially as a result -- the decisions of trial courts are often overturned on appeal due to technical errors in construing patent claims."

He also summarized his bill. He said that "The core provisions of this bill authorize a pilot project in at least five judicial districts that have a significant patent litigation caseload. Under the pilot program, judges in these districts will be allowed to form a smaller pool of judges who are willing to accept a larger portion of the patent litigation docket in the district. The bill also authorizes additional resources to allow participating courts to hire law clerks with expertise in patent law and to provide for educational programs relating to patent law for the participating judges."

He added that "The project is authorized for at least five judicial districts, to be designated by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and will last for a 10 year period." Also, it "requires Administrative Office of the United States Courts and the Federal Judicial Center to provide a report to Congress on the results of the pilot program".

He also commented that "further refinements to this language will likely be necessary as it moves through the legislative process. In particular, we need to include a provision which would preserve a sufficient element of random assignment among judges. I understand some of my Senate colleagues have reservations about including this provision, but we will deal with that issue as the bill progresses."

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Over Consideration of Perform Act and Patent Reform Act

9/21. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held a business meeting on September 21, 2006, at which it held over all of the bills on its agenda. These included S 2644, the "Perform Act of 2006" and S 3818, the "Patent Reform Act of 2006".

S 2644 is the "Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act of 2006", or "Perform Act". It would particularly affect satellite music services. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced this bill on April 25, 2006. The companion bill in the House is HR 5361, also titled the PERFORM Act. It is similar, but not identical, to S 2644. It is sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA). The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) has not reported that bill either.

There is also pending litigation that is related to the subject matter of these bills. See, story titled "Summary of the RIAA Complaint Against XM Satellite Radio" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,384, June 5, 2006.

S 2644 would amend 17 U.S.C. § 112, regarding ephemeral recordings, and 17 U.S.C. § 114, regarding exclusive rights in sound recordings. It addresses content protection, and the collection of statutory licenses under Section 114.

S 3818 is the "Patent Reform Act of 2006". Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced this bill on August 3, 2006. It is a huge and broad patent law and procedure reform bill.

The SJC also held over consideration of S 2831, the "Free Flow of Information Act of 2006", sponsored by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN). This bill limits prosecutors, government agencies, and others from compelling journalists to disclose certain information.

Also, the SJC held over consideration of S 1845, the "Circuit Court of Appeals Restructuring and Modernization Act of 2005", sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). This bill would split the 9th Circuit. Senators from outside of California, and especially those from Alaska, Idaho, and Montana, have long sought to split the circuit. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are also cosponsors of the bill.

Stevens Addresses Communications Reform Bill

9/21. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) spoke briefly at a luncheon in Washington DC hosted by the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF).

Sen. Ted StevensSen. Stevens (at right) said that the broad communications reform bill that the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) amended and approved on June 28, 2006, will not be approved by the full Senate before it recesses for the November elections.

This bill is HR 5252 RS [287 pages in PDF], as reported in the Senate. It is titled both the "Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunities Reform Act" and the "Communications Act of 2006". See also, stories in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,404, July 5,2006.

He added that he hopes that the Senate will take up the bill when it returns around November 13.

See, full story.

US and PRC Announce Strategic Economic Dialogue

9/21. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson traveled to the People's Republic of China on September 19-22. The U.S. and China released a brief joint statement that announces "the establishment of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue".

It adds that "Existing bilateral dialogues and consultation mechanisms, such as the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Joint Commission on Science and Technology, will remain unchanged and continue to play their positive and important role in promoting U.S.–China economic and trade cooperation."

The U.S. also released a longer news release regarding the new U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. It states that "The intent of this dialogue is to discuss long-term strategic challenges, rather than seeking immediate solutions to the issues of the day." It also states that "Bilateral issues will continue to receive full attention, including pressing China for floating exchange rates, greater intellectual property rights, and increasing market access."

In addition, Paulson also held a news conference at which he stated that this dialogue was formed because "the relationship between the U.S. and China is the most important bilateral economic relationship in the world today". He added that "there's a sense in the U.S. that the Chinese don't play fair when it comes to trade and economics. And so it's going to be my job to get short-term results at the same time we're keeping our eye on the long-term objective." See, transcript.

SEC's Cox Says Interactive Data Will Make U.S. Markets More Competitive Globally

9/21. Chris Cox, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), gave a speech titled "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Seven Years Later". He also spoke at length about interactive data.

Chris CoxCox (at right) said that "There's one other area where global competition is pressing: technology." He continued that "The rest of the world is moving on from the static-data system that has been around in one form or another since Guttenberg. Our financial reporting shouldn't be left behind. All of us at the SEC are doing our best to sharpen our markets' competitive edge in this increasingly global world of finance. As regulators, we know there are really only two fundamental ways for us to improve: reduce the cost of regulation, and improve the quality of the product. Interactive data lets us accomplish both."

Cox frequently speaks about the benefits of, and urges companies to switch to, interactive data. He again gave his pitch in this speech. He also compared the use of interactive data in bank filings to its use in securities filings. He also provided an update on the transition.

He said that "the transition to interactive data has gone so smoothly in the banking industry that many of you may not even realize that you're technology pioneers. That's the result we always hope for with innovation. Interactive data has proven to be a painless, productivity-enhancing improvement that helps people get their work done faster, cheaper, and better than before."

He elaborated that "For about a year now, 8,200 U.S. financial institutions have been using XBRL to submit their quarterly Call Reports to U.S. banking regulators." He said that once consequence is that "The error rate has also dropped way down, to nearly zero."

"We're working now to see to it that every public company uses interactive data in reporting to the SEC", said Cox. "Already, a growing number of companies are filing their reports in this new format. Today's XBRL filers with the Commission represent more than a trillion dollars of market cap, spread across various industries -- companies large and small, foreign and domestic. I'm pleased to note that GE has recently joined this group".

"I think if you talk to these companies, they'll tell you it's been surprisingly painless and inexpensive -- a ``non-event´´ is the phrase that keeps coming up."

People and Appointments

9/21. The Senate confirmed Kenneth Wainstein to be Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) new National Security Division. See, Congressional Record, September 21, 2006, at Page S10009, and statement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

9/21. Randy Beardsworth anounced his resignation as Assistant Secretary for Strategic Plans for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See, DHS release.

More News

9/21. U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Susan Schwab and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns held a news conference in Cairns, Australia, to discuss Doha round trade negotiations. Schwab stated that "We are here because we are committed to a successful outcome with the Doha Round negotiations. Obviously the Doha Round is in trouble". See, transcript. She advocated "the reduction of trade barriers", but used the occasion to reiterate the inflexible commitment of the U.S. to one of its protectionist policies -- the Jones Act's ban on use of foreign made ships in U.S. coastal shipping. This ban particularly harms consumers in locations dependent on maritime transportation. Schwab said, "I don't see that being part of the negotiation". She also commented on services and market access. She said that "services negotiations as a whole stalled out the way the rest of the negotiations stalled out, and we were anticipating a second round of offers end of July, July 31, as part of the Doha Round negotiation. That second round of offers never took place, and so none of us know what is on the table or what could potentially be on the table in terms of market access."

9/21. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) wrote another letter [PDF] to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin regarding the impact of media consolidation on local news programming.

Go to News from September 16-20, 2006.