TLJ News from March 26-31, 2008

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Case Regarding FBI Search of Congressional Office

3/31. The Supreme Court denied certiorari in U.S. v. Rayburn House Office Building. This lets stand the August 3, 2007, opinion [37 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (DC). See, Orders List [9 pages in PDF] at page 3.

This case arises out of an 18 hour Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search of the Room 2113 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), without the consent of, prior notice to, or affording an opportunity to be present to, either Rep. Jefferson, or the House of Representatives. The FBI raid began on Saturday night, May 20, 2006.

The search, which was pursuant to a District Court warrant, trampled on the doctrine of separation of powers, and the speech or debate clause of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the District Court issued a warrant, and then upheld the lawfulness of the search.

The District Court wrote in its Memorandum Opinion [28 pages in PDF] that "the search executed on Congressman Jefferson's congressional office was constitutional, as it did not trigger the Speech or Debate Clause privilege, did not offend the principle of the separation of powers, and was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment." See, story titled "District Court Denies Rep. Jefferson's Motion for Return of Property" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,408, July 11, 2006. Rep. Jefferson appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals (DC).

The Department of Justice obtained an indictment of Jefferson from a grand jury of the U.S. District Court (DC). See, story titled "Rep. Jefferson Indicted" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,590, June 4, 2007.

The Court of Appeals viewed the raid differently. It held that "the compelled disclosure of privileged material to the Executive during execution of the search warrant for Rayburn House Office Building Room 2113 violated the Speech or Debate Clause and that the Congressman is entitled to the return of documents that the court determines to be privileged under the Clause."

It continued. "We do not, however, hold, in the absence of a claim by the Congressman that the operations of his office have been disrupted as a result of not having the original versions of the non-privileged documents, that remedying the violation also requires the return of the non-privileged documents. The Congressman has suggested no other reason why return of such documents is required pursuant to Rule 41(g) and, in any event, it is doubtful that the court has jurisdiction to entertain such arguments following the return of the indictment against him while this appeal was pending."

The Court of Appeals further held that "the FBI agents who executed the search warrant shall continue to be barred from disclosing the contents of any privileged or “politically sensitive and non-responsive items,” ... and they shall not be involved in the pending prosecution or other charges arising from the investigation described in the warrant affidavit other than as regards responsiveness".

The Department of Justice filed a petition for writ of certiorari. It argued that "The court's novel and expansive non-disclosure privilege incorrectly extends the Speech or Debate Clause's limited protections to search warrants, and, in so doing, casts doubt on searches of other places and a wide range of other investigatory techniques deemed essential to ferreting out corruption and criminal conduct by both Members of Congress and persons who deal with them. The court's decision warrants review by this Court be cause it fundamentally misinterprets a crucial structural guarantee in the Constitution. Its effect is to critically undermine the Executive Branch's ability to investigate and prosecute corrupt activity in and affecting the Legislative Branch."

See also, DOJ reply brief.

This case is U.S. v. Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2113, Supreme Court of the U.S., Sup. Ct. No. 07-816, a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, App. Ct. No. 06-3105. See also, Supreme Court docket.

Rep. McDermott Owes One Million Dollars in Attorneys Fees to Rep. Boehner in Wiretap Case

3/31. The U.S. District Court (DC) issued a Memorandum Opinion [PDF] in Boehner v. McDermott, on the issue of attorneys fees. In short, it held that Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) owes Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) in attorneys fees incurred in an action arising out of Rep. McDermott's violation of the Wiretap Act.

Previously, the District Court held, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, that Rep. McDermott violated the wiretap statute,18 U.S.C. § 2511, and can be held civilly liable to Rep. Boehner for damages.

Back in 1996, Rep. Boehner participated in a telephone conference call, by cell phone, with several House Republican leaders. John and Alice Martin used a radio scanner to intercept the conversation. They also made an audio recording of the conversation. They delivered the recording to Rep. McDermott, along with a cover letter that stated that the recording contained "a conference call heard over a scanner".

Rep. McDermott disclosed the contents of the recording to the New York Times (NYT), and the Atlanta Constitution Journal. The NYT then published a news story based upon the contents of the recorded telephone conversation.

The Martins were promptly charged with, and pled guilty to, criminal violation of the Wiretap Act, and in particular, 18 U.S.C. § 2511.

Rep. Boehner filed a civil complaint in the District Court against Rep. McDermott alleging violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511. Rep. McDermott engaged in a lengthy defense, including appeals.

For coverage of this case, and hyperlinks to opinions in this and similar cases, see:

Rep. Boehner ultimately prevailed on his Section 2511 claim. The District Court awarded Rep. Boehner $10,000 in statutory damages, $50,000 in punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The just released opinion addresses the amount of attorneys fees.

The District Court awarded Rep. Boehner most of what he requested, about one million dollars.

This case is Boehner v. McDermott, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, D.C. No. 98cv00594, Judge Thomas Hogan presiding.

Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group Releases Report

3/31. The Copyright Office's (CO) Section 108 Study Group released a report [252 pages in PDF] titled "The Section 108 Study Group Report".

This CO group has twenty members. It is stacked with representatives of universities, libraries, archives, and their allies. However, it also has five publishing industry members, two entertainment industry members, and one software industry member.

This CO group held several public roundtables around the U.S., and reviewed two sets of public comments. The movie and record industries were active in this process, along with text publishers, universities, libraries, archives, and museums.

This massive report contains a library sector wish list of exemptions to liability for copyright infringement. However, this list is tempered by the involvement of several well organized copyright sectors -- especially the movie, music, and software industries. Many other copyright interests would be harmed if the proposals in this report were enacted into law.

17 U.S.C. § 108 is titled "Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives". It provides exemptions from liability for infringement for libraries and archives.

The report contains numerous recommendations for amendment to Section 108. Also, it states that the CO "will propose draft legislation for amending section 108". If enacted, these proposals would greatly expand the ability of libraries, archives, and museums to reproduce, distribute, and perform copyrighted works, without license. It would also enable users of libraries, archives, and museums to make and obtain infringing copies of copyrighted works.

The primary losers would be authors and owners of text and web based copyrighted works.

The proposals would not greatly affect the interests of the music, movie, and interactive games industries. For example, it rejects the idea of creating an exception to the ban on circumvention for Section 108 purposes. It also rejects expanding the scope of affected works to include any of the currently excluded categories of "musical work, a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work, or a motion picture or other audiovisual work".

Also, the report's proposals do not contain many things that might have harmed the book publishing industry. For example, it rejects the idea of providing a Section 108 exemption for Google Books type copying. It also contains no legislative proposal to allow abrogation of contract terms in agreements between publishers and libraries for the licensing of digital works. It also rejects an exemption for electronic reserve reading materials at university libraries.

See, full story.

Senate Commerce Committee to Consider Bill to Move Up Reimbursement for LP TV Stations from DTV Transition Fund

3/31. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) is scheduled to consider S 2607 [LOC | WW] at its executive business meeting on 2:30 PM on April 2, 2008. See, SCC notice.

This would amend Section 3009 of S 1932 (109th Congress) titled the "Deficit Reduction Act of 2005". The Congress enacted and President Bush signed this bill in 2007. It is now Public Law No. 109-171.

Section 3009 pertains to funding for eligible low power (LP) television stations from the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund.

Section 3009 provides that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) "shall make payments of not to exceed $65,000,000, in the aggregate, during fiscal year 2009 from the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund ... to implement and administer a program through which each licensee of an eligible low-power television station may receive reimbursement for equipment to upgrade low-power television stations from analog to digital in eligible rural communities ..." (Emphasis added.)

It adds that "Such reimbursements shall be issued to eligible stations no earlier than October 1, 2010. Priority reimbursements shall be given to eligible low-power television stations in which the license is held by a non-profit corporation and eligible low-power television stations that serve rural areas of fewer than 10,000 viewers." (Emphasis added.)

It also defines the term "eligible low-power television station" to mean " means a low-power television broadcast station, Class A television station, television translator station, or television booster station (1) that is itself broadcasting exclusively in analog format; and (2) that has not converted from analog to digital operations prior to the date of enactment of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005".

S 2607, which the SCC is scheduled to consider, would make two changes. First, it would change "fiscal year 2009" to "fiscal years 2009 through 2012". Second, it would change "no earlier than October 1, 2010" to "on or after February 18, 2009".

Sen. Olympia Snowe (D-MA) introduced this bill on February 7, 2008. She stated then that this bill would "better facilitate the DTV transition for rural Americans by making funds for digital upgrades available sooner to low-power television stations and translators. The reason this is imperative is that we don't want to create another ``digital divide´´ where rural and low-income areas are not able to reap the benefits of digital TV as quickly as their urban counterparts."

She said the under current law, the NTIA cannot make reimbursements until "20 months past the DTV transition deadline of February 2009". This "will inevitably hold up the analog to digital upgrades of low-power TV stations and translators", said Sen. Snowe. See, Congressional Record, February 7, 2008, at Page S790.

More News

3/31. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, and sets comment deadlines for, it Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding public safety communications in the 800 MHz band. The FCC proposes to eliminate, as of January 1, 2009, the requirement that Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) licensees in the thirty largest markets and fixed BAS links in all markets be transitioned before the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) operators can begin offering service. The FCC also seeks comment on how to mitigate interference between new MSS entrants and incumbent BAS licensees who have not completed relocation before the MSS entrants begin offering service. The FCC also seeks comment on allowing MSS operators to begin providing service in those markets where BAS incumbents have been transitioned. 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, Federal Register, March 31, 2008, Vol. 73, No. 62, at Pages 16822-16826. Initial comments are due by April 30, 2008. Reply comments are due by May 30, 2008.

Kroes Asserts that EC Antitrust Enforcement is Not Socialist

3/28. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition Policy, gave a speech in Washington DC on March 28, 2008, in which she defended EC actions against U.S. tech companies. She also gave a related speech in Brussels, Belgium, titled "Competition Policy Objectives" on March 26.

The EC has recently initiated or taken actions against several U.S. technology companies with respect to single firm conduct, in which the EC has failed to articulate sound economic rationales for its actions, and when U.S. antitrust regulators have not initiated or taken any action.

See, story titled "EC Demands More Money From Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,723, February 26, 2008.

Nellie KroesKroes (at left) stated in her Washington speech that "Europe and its competition policies have a reputation on this side of the Atlantic for being anti-business, socialist even -- if you believe some commentators in the Wall Street Journal. But if you believe what you read on the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal -- there's a canal in Amsterdam that I would like to sell you!"

She asserted that the US and EC "are heading in the same direction", that "We have similar starting points in attitude and at the end of the day we are working towards the same goal: competitive markets as a basis for prosperity."

She also said that "We have the luxury of learning from your experiences in this area -- and it's no great secret they aren't all positive. But the fundamental issue is that at present Europe has no effective means for private actions -- depriving us of many eyes and ears in the fight against competition problems. We rely almost solely on public enforcement -- such as fines -- and this must change. We are working to ensure our proposals exclude incentives for litigation without merit, but we hope to develop a new way delivering justice to the victims of competition problems. And we will partially close the gap between our two systems as we do it."

She stated in her Brussels speech that the EC is "working on more sophisticated tools in our Antitrust Damages White Paper. This will be launched in the coming weeks".

She added that "It will deliver a sensible means for justice when consumers have suffered -- and I wish to make clear that I believe this is possible without the litigation excesses that have developed in the United States."

Comcast and BitTorrent Reach Accord on Network Management Practices

3/27. Comcast and BitTorrent announced that "they will undertake a collaborative effort with one another and with the broader Internet and ISP community to more effectively address issues associated with  rich media content and network capacity management." See, Comcast release and substantially identical BitTorrent release.

Also, the two companies stated that there is no need for government intervention. The FCC is currently considering a request for intervention. On November 1, 2007, the Free Press (FP) and Public Knowledge (PK) filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a document [48 pages in PDF] captioned "Formal Complaint of Free Press and Public Knowledge Against Comcast Corporation For Secretly Degrading Peer-to-Peer Applications".

The complaint alleges that Comcast is "degrading peer-to-peer protocols" by inserting forged reset packets into communications between peers in peer to peer (P2P) communications that terminate those communications. This, the complaint alleges, interferes with Comcast's subscribers use of applications like BitTorrent. See, story titled "Free Press Files Complaint with FCC Alleging that Comcast Is Violating 2005 Policy Statement" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,669, November 5, 2007.

See, full story.

Reaction to Comcast BitTorrent Accord

3/27. Various parties commented on Comcast's and BitTorrent's announcement on March 27, 2008, that they have reached an accord on broadband network management practices.

Dan Glickman, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), stated in a release that this "agreement between BitTorrent and Comcast is exactly the kind of industry cooperation that is urgently needed to address the problem of online piracy. Movie and music theft on digital networks creates network congestion and impedes efforts by network operators, technology companies and content providers to deliver new, legal entertainment choices to consumers."

He added that "The MPAA has worked closely with technology companies and Internet service providers for some time on a range of issues in which we have a shared interest, particularly focusing on the fight to eliminate online copyright theft.  By continuing to work together toward solutions we can help ensure the further growth of a legitimate digital consumer content marketplace."

Randolph May, head of the Free State Foundation, and once an Associate General Counsel at the FCC, stated in a release that this announcement "is welcome news".

He continued that "This should be a strong signal to the FCC that it should refrain from embroiling itself in highly technical network management issues that are much better left to the private sector parties to resolve. This agreement shows there are incentives on all sides of the ‘two-sided’ or ‘multi-sided’ market to work cooperatively to achieve solutions that keep the Internet working smoothly."

Similarly, Tom Lenard of iGrowthGlobal, stated in a release that this Comcast/BitTorrent announcement "is yet additional evidence that that the broadband market is working in the interest of consumers. All networks need to be managed in some way, and the government should stay out of these highly technical issues in the absence of compelling evidence that government involvement will yield benefits for consumers. I am unaware that such evidence exists. Indeed, government involvement in these dynamic markets in the name of ``network neutrality´´ is likely to adversely affect the development of broadband networks and harm consumers."

iGrowthGlobal lists its "sponsors" as AT&T, Cisco, Verizon, and Yahoo.

In contrast, Gigi Sohn, head of the Public Knowledge (PK), stated in a release that "Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen announcements by Verizon and now Comcast that the companies are working to make peer-to-peer technologies work more smoothly. We applaud industry discussions and collaborations, but neither of these developments has any bearing on the complaint and petitions pending" before the FCC. "They are irrelevant."

She continued that "The FCC has the responsibility to protect the rights of consumers against discriminatory network management practices", and that  Any arrangements made now would not cover any future developments in blocking, throttling or filtering that any other companies may use." Hence, the FCC "should continue to reinforce its principles of Internet access".

See also, the February 13, 2007, comments [100 pages in PDF] and February 29, 2007, reply comments [62 pages in PDF] submitted to the FCC by the PK, Free Press, Media Access Project, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, New America Foundation and Participatory Culture Foundation.

Also, Markham Erickson, of the Open Internet Coalition, stated in a release that this is "welcome news", but that "the FCC still needs to reinforce these efforts by establishing the basic rules of the road for BitTorrent users and all Internet consumers by defining permissible broadband network management practices".

Erickson argued that "Time and time again, when the telcos and cable companies engage in discriminatory behavior against certain types of speech and content -- as we've seen with AT&T, Verizon, and most recently with Comcast -- a familiar pattern emerges. First, a spotlight gets focused on the bad behavior. Then, when exposed, the companies state such action is within their power as network operators. After that, the FCC and Congress focus on these discriminatory acts, and finally, the companies do a U-turn and apologize. While it’s always a positive step when these companies admit the error of their ways, it's a bad way to run the Internet."

"As long as network operators can define, on their own terms, what applications can and cannot be used on the Internet, developers and investors face uncertainty about whether the next big thing will be allowed to have full functionality over broadband operators. We need the FCC to continue to examine this issue, and clearly and completely define proper network practices to foster an open and non-discriminatory Internet for both consumers and innovators", said Erickson.

There is also a related Petition for Rulemaking [20 pages in PDF] filed by Vuze, Inc. on November 14, 2007, that also goes to broadband network management practices.

Also, there is the FCC's proceeding titled "In the Matter of Broadband Industry Practices", numbered WC Docket No. 07-52.

Comments submitted to the FCC regarding Comcast and BitTorrent, and other requests for FCC regulation of network management practices, can be found at the FCC's Search for Filed Comments web page under proceeding number 07-52.

FCC Releases DBS HD Carry One Carry All Order

3/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text [34 pages in PDF] of its Second Report and Order, Memorandum Opinion, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Carriage of Digital Television Broadcast Signals: Amendment to Part 76 of the Commission’s Rules; Implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999: Local Broadcast Signal Carriage Issues and Retransmission Consent Issues".

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin explained in his statement [PDF] associated with this order that "Last fall, the Commission adopted an order that guarantees that all cable customers will be able to watch all broadcast stations after the digital transition. Specifically, the Commission took action to ensure cable operators continue to make signals of all broadcast stations viewable after the transition, as the statute requires. As a result, we significantly reduced the number of Americans potentially needing a converter box to watch broadcast stations post-transition. Thus, the Commission made sure the 34 million households that subscribe to analog cable will be able to continue to watch broadcast television after the transition as they did the day before. This allowed the Commission to focus its energies on assisting the over 14 million households that rely exclusively on over-the-air signals."

See, story titled "FCC Adopts R&O and Further NPRM Regarding Cable Carriage of Digital Broadcast TV Signals" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,640, September 17, 2007. The FCC adopted that item on September 11, 2007, and released the text [68 pages in PDF] on November 30, 2007. That item is FCC 07-170 in CS Docket No. 98-120.

Martin continued, "Today, the Commission adopts an order that will enable satellite subscribers to receive digital broadcast signals, as well."

This item states that "we amend the rules to require satellite carriers to carry digital-only stations upon request in markets in which they are providing any local-into-local service pursuant to the statutory copyright license, and to require carriage of all high definition (``HD´´) signals in a market in which any station’s signals are carried in HD." (Footnote omitted.)

It continues that "In recognition of the capacity and technological constraints faced by satellite carriers, the latter requirement will be phased-in over a four-year period. These decisions are consistent with Section 338 of the Act’s instructions that the Commission implement comparable, rather than identical, carriage rules between cable and direct broadcast satellite (``DBS´´), and is supported by the record in this proceeding."

The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) portion of this item seeks comment on the application of the statutory requirement for nondiscriminatory treatment in carriage of standard definition (SD) and HD signals.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps supported this order, but lamented. He wrote in his statement [PDF] that "This item acts on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking pending since 2001. In January 2003, Echostar briefed the FCC in detail about the potential technical impact of a local HD carriage requirement; DirecTV made a similar presentation to the FCC in October 2004. Had we taken proactive steps then, we might find ourselves in a very different factual circumstance than we find ourselves today. DirecTV, for instance, is scheduled to launch its D-11 satellite this week and its D-12 satellite in 2009. Some of this new capacity will be used for national HD service and some will provide local HD service via spot beams. The spot beams for these satellites have all been designed and cannot now be changed. Thus, DirecTV asserts -- and Echostar makes a similar case -- that it must design, build and launch at least one additional satellite in order to comply with today’s HD mandate -- hence the four-year timetable."

"Had we acted earlier, could DirecTV and Echostar have designed their satellites differently in order to permit full local HD carriage before 2013? We may never know. One thing we do know is that, by waiting to act, we have rendered the question moot", said Copps.

The FCC adopted this on March 19, 2008. This item is FCC 08-86 in CS Docket No. 00-96.

FCC Order Cites Wikipedia

3/27. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text [34 pages in PDF] of an order, opinion, and notice of proposed rulemaking that, among other things, orders direct broadcast satellite (DBS) operators to carry each station in a local market on the same terms, including carriage of high definition (HD) signals in HD format, if any broadcaster in the same market is carried in HD. See, related story in this issue titled "FCC Releases DBS HD Carry One Carry All Order".

This order, at footnote 30, cites as an authority a web page in the Wikipedia web site titled "Quadrature amplitude modulation", which is also known as QAM.

See, full story.

Inspector General Report Finds Lack of Security on IRS Networks

3/26. The Department of the Treasury's (DOT) Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) wrote a report titled "Inadequate Security Controls Over Routers and Switches Jeopardize Sensitive Taxpayer Information".

It concludes that because the DOT's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "sends sensitive taxpayer and administrative information across its networks, routers on the networks must have sufficient security controls to deter and detect unauthorized use. Access controls for IRS routers were not adequate, and reviews to monitor security configuration changes were not conducted to identify inappropriate use. A disgruntled employee, contractor, or hacker could reconfigure routers and switches to disrupt computer operations and steal taxpayer information in a number of ways, including diverting information to unauthorized systems."

The IRS uses the Terminal Access Controller Access Control System (TACACS+) to administer and configure routers and switches. Users of the TACACS+ must be authorized by managers. The IRS had authorized 374 accounts for employees and contractors that could be used to access routers and switches to perform system administration duties. Of these, 141 (38 percent) did not have proper authorization to access the TACACS+."

The report elaborates that some authorizations had expired, but that for 55 accounts, the TIGTA found that there had ever been an authorization. It adds that 84% of the 5.2 Million accesses to the TACACS+ in FY2007 were made by just 34 user accounts that were not properly authorized.

Moreover, the TIGTA found that some of these unauthorized accounts were used to change security configurations. It wrote that "Any person who knew the passwords to these accounts could change configurations without accountability and with little chance of detection."

The TIGTA report also identifies lax oversight by the IRS's cybersecurity office.

People and Appointments

3/26. President Bush announced his intent to designate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner William Kovacic to be Chairman of the FTC. He will replace Deborah Majoras. See, White House release. Since Kovacic is already a Commissioner, the designation does not require Senate confirmation. However, this leaves open a Republican position on the Commission. Majoras will go to work for Proctor & Gamble.

3/26. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Ellen Terpstra to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR). She is currently Deputy Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the Department of Agriculture. See, White House release.

More News

3/26. The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) a petition for writ of mandamus to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The CBA, which represents low-power TV stations and translators, seeks to block "the marketing of DTV converter boxes that block analog signals". Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), stated in a release that the "CEA is amazed that this group which stood silently while broadcasters, the electronics industry and government successfully implemented the DTV transition is now trying an 11th hour litigation strategy to freeze the entire nation in analog. Now, as cover for its refusal to shift to DTV, CBA wants to impose new costs on millions of Americans who do not rely on or use their service. This is an irresponsible lawsuit, as was CBA’s advertising calling the government program a ``scam´´. CBA should act in the national interest and either shift to digital or promote the several converter box models with analog pass-through that already provide the solution CBA seeks. Instead, CBA would block the DTV transition, threaten $20 billion in analog auction revenue, waste billions of dollars in sunk investment and force consumers to spend much more to buy converter boxes."

3/26. Motorola announced in a release that its Board of Directors "has commenced a process to create two independent, publicly-traded companies." That is, it will form a mobile devices company, and a broadband and mobility solutions company.

Go to News from March 21-25, 2008.