TLJ News from March 1-5, 2012

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3/2. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces the filing of notices of intent to audit the 2009, 2010, and 2011 statements of account submitted by Digitally Imported, Inc., and Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., concerning the royalty payments made by each pursuant to two statutory licenses. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 42, Friday, March 2, 2012, at Page 12884.

3/2. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces that the IMS Global Learning Consortium filed a notification of a change in its membership, pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, which pertains to limiting antitrust liability of standard setting consortia. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 42, Friday, March 2, at Page 12881.

De Gucht Says Europe Needs ACTA

3/1. Karel De Gucht, the European Trade Commissioner, gave a speech in Brussels regarding the recently negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). He argued that "Europe needs ACTA" and that the European Parliament should "consider the agreement favourably".

He also responded to hackers who have defaced government web sites in the name of ACTA opposition, and critics who have misrepresented its contents. See, AP story published in USA Today on February 17, 2012, titled "FTC sites hacked by Anonymous".

The ACTA [52 pages in PDF] is an agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the US.

For background on the ACTA, see story titled "ACTA Signing Set for October 1 in Tokyo" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,305, September 28, 2011, and stories titled "ACTA Draft Released", "Summary of ACTA", and "Reaction to ACTA" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,140, October 11, 2010.

See also, De Gucht's February 22 statement regarding the ACTA.

Carol De GuchtDe Gucht (at left) said in his March 1 speech that "in Europe we have a comprehensive system to protect intellectual property. We have outlined the rights that can be protected and the means to enforce them. We have implemented that programme in the Member States together with their authorities." And, "What the European Union is trying to do with this agreement is to extend the reach of the enforcement parts of our system beyond our borders."

"ACTA is an enforcement treaty. That means it does not cover the details of what is legal and what is illegal. But it does address procedures for ensuring that what is illegal can be redressed."

He continued that the ACTA is a "relatively modest agreement between a relatively small number of countries. But it is a significant first step. It establishes a nucleus of countries that are committed to the highest standards of intellectual property rights enforcement. A nucleus that will grow."

He condemned the use of "cyber-attacks on democratic institutions" by some of the opponents of the ACTA.

He also said that many of the allegations of opponents of the ACTA are false. He stated that "I have read that ACTA restricts free speech, that it will ``break´´ the internet, and that sick people in developing countries should be particularly on their guard. And yet as someone responsible for negotiating the agreement, I know that ACTA does not do any of those things."

He elaborated that the "ACTA is not an attack on your liberties; it is a defence of your livelihoods. ACTA will not censor the internet. It will not mandate monitoring or controls on people's e-mails, their blogs or their file-sharing activities. ACTA will not require the inspection of laptops or MP3 players by customs officials. And ACTA will not impose any restrictions on trade in generic medicines."

In sum, he said, "there will be no change whatsoever to the current balance of rights and safeguards for European citizens. Except, of course, that their inventions will be better protected around the world."

He also stated that the "ACTA does not have an international dispute settlement or arbitration procedure. This means that the final word regarding the interpretation of its provisions will belong to each jurisdiction. In Europe that means that our courts, including the European Court of Justice, will be responsible for its interpretation."

People and Appointments

3/1. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting at which it approved the nomination of Andrew Hurwitz to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, by a vote of 13 to 5. He has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Arizona since 2003.

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3/1. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its divided opinion [42 pages in PDF] in T-Mobile v. Fairfax County, a case regardingdenial of permission to build a wireless communication tower. T-Mobile filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (EDVa) alleging violation of 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B). The District Court granted judgment to Fairfax County. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Each member of the three judge panel wrote an opinion. This case is New Cingular Wireless v. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 11-1060, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, D.C. No. 1:10-cv-00117-GBL-JFA.

Go to News from February 26-29, 2012.